UP AND DOWN
I was delighted to read Stephen Birmingham's Up Squash! Down Baseball! (SI, Nov. 9) and be advised that skiing had been downgraded, or was Down, as the author put it. This was the best news any hard-core skier could receive. I sincerely hope all the Bogner-bottomed young things that just have to be seen will now stay home and quit cluttering up the lift lines and slopes and leave skiing to the purists.
O. L. SMITH
Your article, Up Squash! Down Baseball! by Stephen Birmingham shows a completely idiotic point of view. The man obviously shows no understanding of the situation.
Don't you people know that it has been, is and always will be Up to be Down? And don't you people know that it has been, is and always will be Down to be Up?
K. H. BREMER
Up education! Up all sports! How many parents have had their 11-and 13-year-old children return from the local high school football game with the following remarks: "Oh, the game! We didn't watch it. We don't understand the game. Had a wonderful time talking to the girls and boys!"
November 23, 1959
The answer lies in a physical education course that teaches rules and regulations of all sports. With knowledge of the game appreciation will always be Up!
AGNES A. SKLUND
If Nikita sees the November 9 issue of SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, I hope he reads Stephen Birmingham's story. He might well stop all arms production, figuring that with youngsters like these, we will beat ourselves.
MRS. W. J. GEISELMAN
Have just finished reading the article Up Squash! Down Baseball! by Stephen Birmingham.
I am writing to ask for a short biography of the man.
I believe that I have him pretty well catalogued in my mind. Would just like to check on myself to see how right—or wrong—I am.
C. A. CLINGENPEEL
•For biographical notes on Author Birmingham, see MEMO FROM THE PUBLISHER, July 27. Birmingham admits to being "a notorious Down sportsman" while in college (Williams '50) but adds that his three children are beginning to "show definite signs of being Up."—ED.
How gauche can I be? As a Smith alumna (rather a dubious distinction after reading Stephen Birmingham's Up Squash! Down Baseball!), I feel as if I have betrayed my alma mater. Not only did I marry a 230-pound football tackle but a Cornell graduate to boot. The following verse expresses my views on this world-shattering subject:
For years I've borne the title of a Smith alum with pride,
But reading this week's ILLUSTRATED I sat me down and cried.
There was a day when Smith, et al.,
Thought all male schools were on the ball.
MRS. DONALD P. HOOVER
What a few snobbish females think about which sports good athletes are enjoying hasn't affected our morale so far All we can say is, "To hell with Smith and the Social Ethic!" and, "Long live track, cross-country and those men who are gung ho enough to stay with the sports they love!"
Let it be said at the outset that I am perfectly satisfied with my present sports life—except that we go beagling only on Sunday.
On behalf of a small but dedicated group of swimming enthusiasts of a Cambridge institution hardly worthy of mention, I feel constrained to counter the aquatic aversions of the Smithite. For three years—this being the fourth—I have been delighted to station myself, with a stop watch, before a score of dampened but determined individuals who willingly plod 440 yards just to beat another moist individual with the same intention.
Perhaps if the young lady in question would acquaint herself with the chlorinated water of a swimming pool other than that at Hanover (scene of the accompanying etching), where one practically joins the water-borne contingent, she would find the air clearer.
How come Yale is Up and swimming Down when they are almost synonymous?
•Yale's influence is pushing swimming Up, says Stephen Birmingham, but the over-all trend is Down.—ED.
The girls at Smith? The girls' opinion at Smith?
How about the girls at Maryland, or Northwestern, or the girls from Texas, or the millions of other peasant girls all over the country? How about them?
They still turn out in droves for such socially Down sports as basketball, football, baseball and the like.
For those who get their kicks from squash, Rugby or lacrosse, let them watch those games, throw kisses or clap their hands, whichever is socially correct, to indicate approval.
But for those who want to shout, cheer, eat hot dogs and pass the bottle around, please don't come up with this Smith girl jazz as an indicator as to how we should spend our time and money.
As for old common me, I'm going out tonight and see a stinking basketball game. Boorwise, Borewise and Everything wise!
Wesleyan University—and, I would imagine, Haverford and Swarthmore—feels sweet tickles of relief to have escaped unscathed Mr. Birmingham's stubby but Up intellect.
We are proud to be neither Up nor Down. Perhaps the Downest and Outest sport of them all is playing collegiate. We can only be thankful that we are a bit apart from the thousands of young gingerbread men and women at such distinguished Up shops as Yale, Williams, Harvard, Vassar and Smith.
PAUL A. CABLE
Perhaps Stephen Birmingham was justified in avoiding sports "too special, too apt to cloud the general picture," but as a parachutist I'd still like to know. Is sky-diving Up or Down?
WILLARD M. HAYS
•Sky-diving is Down, skywriting is Up, says Author Birmingham.—ED.
If the author meant his article to expose the shallow set, he succeeded very nicely. However, if it was meant to be a true representation of how sports stand today, the article failed in its purpose. I am certain that Mr. Birmingham would have attained a much truer perspective had he come to a school such as Duke or one of her type. Here our tennis players don't play tennis in order to receive invitations; they enjoy it as a sport instead. On top of that, our football players—and we have some excellent ones-are considered human beings; we support them and are proud of them. Somehow we manage to enjoy sport for sport's sake.