Says Dr. Griswold
This is an article from the March 9, 1959 issue
The President of yale made headlines last week with a 4,500-word speech at Johns Hopkins which was immediately hailed and howled at as "antifootball." In point of fact, it was no such thing. Dr. A. Whitney Griswold was talking about the need of U.S. education to look to its purposes.
Griswold ranged from Russia ("We cannot be satisfied with anything less than an educational system every bit as strong") to his real liberal arts point ("We should look elsewhere than to Russia for the sense of purpose ...into our own history, our own character, our own hearts and consciences"). What drew the widest play in the press were his remarks on athletic scholarships.
Indeed, his words set off a flurry of letters and telegrams to New Haven (mostly approving), among them one from the University of Chicago requesting, in the popular shorthand of the week, "a copy of the antifootball speech."
Griswold's point was that neither football nor any other sports are harmful so long as they do not distort a university's mission. But Griswold shook his head over a couple of Brooklyn-high school graduates who recently resigned their basketball scholarships at "an out-of-state university" (actually, Mark Reiner and Stan Niewierowski of the North Carolina State squad) for a variety of reasons including educational disillusionment and loneliness for Brooklyn. This bent Griswold's brows to the subject of athletic scholarships.
"For the most part," he said, the traffic in athletic scholarships "constitutes one of the greatest educational swindles ever perpetrated on American youth. Its aim is not the education of that youth but the entertainment of its elders, not the welfare of the athlete but the pleasure of the spectator...[This traffic in scholarships] works in wondrous ways to undermine the structure of American education.... It is part of the general collapse of amateurism in American athletics."
As president of a 257-year-old university, one enjoying endowments of $250 million and charter membership in the Ivy League, which forbids athletic scholarships, Griswold speaks from a special position. As Griswold himself admitted, every community must decide for itself what its educational purposes are. But though large parts of the U.S. community may not be ready for the Ivy League's well-heeled simplicities, the wagging finger of Dr. Griswold, who inherits something of the moral asperity of his Puritan predecessors at New Haven, has written a few lines on the wall worth reading in all parts of the country.
The Mighty Atom
Huddled in his blue blanket on the Yale bench, the soft-spoken little sophomore looked scarcely powerful enough to make an adequate water boy. A full six inches short of six feet, weighing in at a puny 144 pounds, Albert James Booth was unknown beyond the bounds of his native New Haven. And at that Saturday afternoon moment in 1929 New Haven and Yale University were too concerned with their own despair to give young Albie much thought. On the green turf of the Yale Bowl an Army football team, paced by galloping Chris Cagle, was making mincemeat of Yale.
It was 13-0 Army, and near the end of the first half, when Yale Coach Mai Stevens gave the sophomore his opportunity with a nod down the bench and the curt summons: "Booth." By next day, Albie Booth was known from coast to coast.
With his mother in the stands watching the first football game of her life, the fabulous little Yale quarterback spun and turned and twisted and dashed and danced his way through Army time and again, pausing only to hurl an occasional deadly accurate pass or to place a perfectly aimed drop kick between the goal posts. Reporting the game next day, at least one paper blossomed with the banner headline: BOOTH 21, ARMY 13.
Under such affectionate aliases as The Mighty Atom and Little Boy Blue, Albie Booth was a staple on the sports pages in the next three years. As Eli football captain in his senior year, in the last quarter of the game against Harvard, he kicked the field goal that brought defeat to Yale's ancient rivals and their brilliant captain, Barry Wood. Albie met Barry on the baseball diamond as well for three seasons and was captain of the Yale basketball team into the bargain.
A quiet, almost demure young man in his private moments, he turned into a tyrannical, uninhibited package of pure energy when he got on the playing field. Not only was his own play often inspired, he could inspire his teammates with an almost equal fervor. One result of this monstrous expenditure of energy was that Albie Booth found himself flat on his back in the infirmary midway through his senior year—an event which led many a well-meaning friend to urge a limitation on the number of varsity sports a college athlete be permitted to play.
Once free of the hospital, Albie Booth married his childhood sweetheart Marion Noble and settled to a relatively quieter way of life, but his name was never off the sports pages for long. After graduation, he spent a number of seasons as a pro basketball player, then quit to take a permanent job in an ice cream company hard by New Haven. He continued to serve both sports in general and his college. For the last decade he has been known to sports fans as one of the busiest of college football referees.
Even as a referee, Albie's darting movements were a joy to watch, but like the strenuous activity of his college years, they were taking their toll on his slight frame.
One day last week, almost completely without warning, the heart that had carried Albie Booth so sturdily through 51 years of life stopped beating. Albie Booth the man was dead. Albie Booth the legend continued its journey into immortality.
Roy Campanella, still paralyzed from the chest down, was helped from a plane in Florida last weekend, where he was to begin his new job as a coach for the Los Angeles Dodgers. It might have been a happy occasion: since the automobile accident that ended his Dodger playing career a year ago, Campanella has lived more courageously and cheerfully in a wheelchair than most people do in fully active lives.
Campanella was not cheerful. He did not want to be interviewed, and reporters understandingly let him alone. For Campy was forced to begin spring training with a burden even greater than that of his inert body. Just a few days before, his 15-year-old son David had been questioned as a member of a New York teen-age crowd involved in a rumble. Hours later, moreover, the boy confessed to having broken into a drugstore. "I got mixed up in a jerky crowd," the boy said.
Roy Campanella has given volunteer time for a good while now to fight juvenile delinquency. A diagnosis of his feelings was given by his doctor, Howard A. Rusk of New York's Institute of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. "Campanella was hurt again," said Dr. Rusk, "this time in the heart."
But Dr. Rusk added: "Paradoxical as it seems, the increased strength Roy Campanella has gained from conquering his own physical disability will give him greater depth of understanding and depth of spirit in confronting this new problem."
Economics of PIE
As befits the fact that college football is pretty big business, the economists of the National Collegiate Athletic Association have just worked out a sort of Dow Jones index of their own. It is known as the PIE index and has been invented to explore the vital question: How many spectators are going to football games—as compared with how many should?
The letters of the new index are derived from the nation's population (P), its annual income (I) and its college enrollment (E). For armchair economists interested in the product of these three factors in 1958, we can tell you parenthetically that population times national income times college enrollment will give you, for a starter, the figure of 204,206,400,000,000,000,000,000,000. Happily, the NCAA economists reduce all this sort of thing to PIE index figures, starting with a base of 100 for the year 1948. As PIE goes, so, say the economists, go the nation's football fans. Or rather, so they did go until TV's Cyclops eye began winking in their living rooms. In 1949, for instance, PIE went up 2.3 points over the year before. And sure enough, attendance at college football games in 1949 rose 2.8%. But in 1950, with 50-yard lines blossoming in living room after living room, football attendance dipped 3.2%, even though PIE went up 1.5 points.
Understandably, since 1949 the NCAA has had a committee to study the effects of the one-eyed monster which has been stealing the pie to set rules for its control, e.g., a stern rationing of national and regional TV games. As a result, by 1956 attendance and PIE were once again increasing at about the same rate. Last year more fans (19,280,709) went to football games than in any year since 1949 (19,651,995).
But attendance growth is not nearly as cheerful as the NCAA would like it to be. The evidence is that, back in the days of unrationed TV football, a good many people got out of the habit of going to college games—and have not taken up the habit again since rationing began. Moreover, about one college in every 10 that was fielding a football team 10 years ago has dropped the game since.
Looking back over the decade, NCAA economists find that the PIE index has risen to 131.1. And the college football attendance index in the same period? To just 101.6.
Ice on the River
It is not easy to travel first-class in a canoe, but Harold B. Alderson of Washington, D.C. has figured out how to do it. Mr. Alderson likes to take a friend along with him and drift comfortably down the Shenandoah River, among the mountains of the George Washington National Forest, fishing for bass and pickerel as he goes. His 17-foot canoe has a built-in armchair up front for fishing, and a more businesslike seat in the back for the occasional paddling that is necessary to keep in the current. Alderson and his guest take turns at the paddle.
Between the two seats is stored 600 pounds of food and gadgets to make the wilderness livable; air mattresses, chairs, sleeping bags, thick steaks, Roquefort dressing to go on salads and soda to go in Scotch. For 10 years Alderson has devoted his wintertime leisure to refining his camping equipment—making it lighter, more compact, more luxurious. He has done the job so well that from spring to fall, Senators and Representatives all but stand in line for a chance to go fishing with him. As the president of a big stenotype reporting company, Alderson knows almost everybody in Washington.
Through the years, though, one problem has given a lot of trouble. At the end of the day, when the big tent is pitched on the riverbank, it is pleasant to sit and talk over a Scotch and soda. The problem is to have, on the evening of the third and fourth days, ice to put in the drinks. By then the original supply has melted, and on the river's route through the forest there is no place to get more.
For a long time Alderson's best solution was to take a great deal of dry ice along to keep the regular ice from melting, plus an old-fashioned metal container for both. This arrangement weighed 100 pounds, or one-sixth the total weight of the camping equipment. Since Alderson even saws part of the handle off his toothbrush in order to conserve weight, 100 pounds did seem like a large price to pay for a few three-day-old ice cubes to put in a highball. (They never lasted four days.) Still, Alderson and guests were willing to make the sacrifice.
Not long ago, in his home in Washington, Alderson began an experiment. He had four insulated plastic coolers of varying shapes and sizes. Into each of them he put a Pliofilm bag of ice cubes and a quart milk carton of water frozen solid. To each he added a block of dry ice wrapped in nine layers of newspaper. Then he settled down to wait, peeping once or twice a day, to see which bag would preserve its ice the longest. The experiment was made in the living room, over Mrs. Alderson's objections, because it offered the best approximation of summertime temperatures.
Two of the coolers were those which Schweppes and Pepsi-Cola bottling plants distribute for purposes of advertising. They are designed for use on one-day picnics and beach parties, yet both of them, with 6½ pounds of dry ice added, kept their ice cubes and cartons solidly frozen from Friday evening to Monday morning. Bag No. 3, a low-cost item of no pedigree, gave a poor performance. Bag No. 4 was a big job (18 inches high) called a Duffle Cooler. Loaded with 25 pounds of dry ice, it sat on and on—and on—in the Alderson living room; the ice that had been put into it oh Friday evening was just begining to melt on Wednesday morning.
"Here," says Alderson happily, "was the solution of our problem. Two Duffle Coolers, fully loaded, weigh only 60 pounds. The second one need not be opened until the first one is exhausted. Operations can continue for at least four days with a good margin of safety. And for shorter trips, the smaller bags by Schweppes and Pepsi-Cola will be perfect." Not only has Alderson cut 40 pounds from his canoe load while making sure that his fourth-day Scotch and soda will be of the proper temperature, he has proved that you can get away from it all and take it with you, both on one perfectly appointed trip.
Three White Legs
There was no doubt about it; the horse known as Ming was one of the finest in France. A sleek 6-year-old bay with earnings of close to $40,000 on his records, he was the pride and joy of his owner, Count Gaston d'Audiffret-Pasquier. He was a worthy horse, no question about it. The question was: Was he Ming?
Glancing last week for what seems to have been the first time at Ming's papers as he prepared to register for Britain's Cheltenham Championship stakes, the count noted that they called for a white blaze and three white stockings. "This," he announced, recalling Ming's unsullied bay coat, "is not my horse."
The eyebrows of the stern Society of-Encouragement for the Amelioration of the Horse Breeds in France, as well as those of the Society of French Steeplechasers, shot skyward. Who then, they asked, was this four-footed imposter who called himself Ming?
After a diligent check of the records the two societies found what they thought might be the answer. The horse called Ming, it seemed, had once shared a stable with another horse called Gaucho, a real dog who in six years had never won a race. Gaucho's only distinction lay in the fact that his face was marked by a white blaze and his legs by three white stockings, just as it stated on Ming's official papers.
Was Gaucho really Ming and Ming Gaucho? And, if so, who owned whom and what about those purses? Whose name should stand in the record books, or would all the races run by either horse under the other's name be wiped off the slate?
Faced with the awful import of these and other questions, French racing officialdom retired in stony silence to contemplate the answers. Meanwhile, France's railbirds had only a prejudiced old jingle of the English turf to comfort them.
"Four white legs, keep him not a day," it ran; "Three white legs, send him far away."
Against the Grain
This has very likely been the most award-packed winter in the history of athletics. Scarce indeed is the baseball player, football player, manager or coach who has not been weighted down with a plaque, cup, tray or belt, and the man who has not yet been so hailed on the banquet caravan probably need only wait. Therefore, we feel it is opportune to offer a salute of our own to the Association of Dog Biscuit Manufacturers of England, in effect for going against the grain.
After scouring their land in search of Britain's most heroic dog, the DBM have withheld their annual award of a silver trophy and a six months' supply of dog biscuits because "in the year 1958 no British dog has been sufficiently brave."
The goalie, in his cage all game,
Just stands upon his skates.
But when they put the puck away,
He'll cut some figure 8s.
They Said It
Richie Ashburn, Philadelphia Phillies' center fielder and last year's National League batting champion, emerging from a salary conference with General Manager John Quinn: "We're not too far apart. You might say our difference is no more than tip money, but I tip pretty good."
John Thomas, Boston University freshman and highest jumping (7 feet 1¼ inches) human in history, on the future of the sport: "A jumper in perfect condition and with perfect conditions will some day jump eight feet."
Hugh Goodson, British yachtsman and chairman of the ill-starred Sceptre syndicate, on 1962 plans for an all-Britain challenge for the America's Cup: "There is considerable optimism on the part of two or three people."