HOCKEY: UGLY AMERICANS?
Sports fans everywhere were certainly annoyed and disgusted to learn that our amateur hockey team members competing in Russia conducted themselves in such a disgraceful manner and gave such a poor account of themselves against our Russian opponents (Poor Show in Moscow, SI, Nov. 30). If we hope to impress the world then we should send nothing but the best, for its eyes are on America and everything we do. I, for one, think we should send the very best team we can muster, one sent there to win. Perhaps this calls for something better than our representatives up to this point.
S.A. LADD JR.
Last Wednesday my husband arrived home from a trip to Moscow. He had been there two weeks as a member of the Brockton amateur hockey team. After listening to him tell of his experiences, I couldn't help but think what a wonderful thing it is to live in a country like the United States. Where else but here could a man like my husband who plays hockey not as a profession but as a sport be given the opportunity to make such a trip?
Then this morning I read your editorial, and apparently I have missed the whole point of the venture. I had not realized that the team was sent to Moscow to win hockey games—period. I consider myself far from being well-educated in the field of hockey and hockey games and teams, and yet I knew even before they left-that the chances of the Brockton team returning home with a victory were pretty slim. Even I knew that the Brockton Club had only played one game using international rules, which I'm sure you will agree are quite unlike the American Hockey Association rules. And though Brockton's team has the title of national Amateur Champions, they are still amateurs and can hardly be expected to beat teams comparable to our best professionals. And yet according to your article that's exactly what they were expected to do.
Isn't it too bad that all the team must be made a target of criticism because of the misconduct of a few? How much better it would have been if Mr. Stevens could have found time to interview a few of the players themselves instead of wasting his time digging for gossip.
MRS. JAMES CISTERNELLI
December 14, 1959
Your article on the Brockton Hockey Club has cast an unjust shroud over our team and our city. Our team may have an apology to make to both Americans and Soviets alike, but we in Brockton will wait for an explanation before we condemn them. It was our understanding that this was the American way.
Our men were truly outclassed on the ice; we make no alibis for this. There are none required, as the boys did their best. Until I read your article, I thought that that was all that was asked of any American athlete representing his country. Your derisive comments on their "Amateur Champions" title is not only in bad taste but as well-timed as a gopher ball in the last of the ninth with a one-run lead. It is unfortunate that you forgot to publish this information before they were beaten so badly, as you had undoubtedly intended to do.
If apologies are in order from us they will come. How about you?
WILLIAM J. BRENNAN
•Walter A. Brown, vice-president of the Amateur Hockey Association, announced he would apologize to the Russians for the unruly behavior reported by SPORTS ILLUSTRATED. Said Brown: "I will accept the responsibility if gentlemen such as Edmund Stevens said they misbehaved."—ED.
FOOTBALL: IVY LEAGUERS
Since the motto of most Ivy League graduates is, "Up Ivy League; down western, midwestern and southern conferences," your article Here Are the Best of the Ivies (SI, Nov. 30) was a feast for us after a long famine. The picture of Ravenel trying to find his receiver was a beauty.
The football isn't so bad after all. Columbia, winner of only two games in the East, proved itself a better team than any the West could produce. Want me to prove it? Columbia beat Brown 21 to 6. Brown beat Harvard 16 to 6. Harvard beat Penn 12 to 0. Penn tied Navy. Navy beat Army 43 to 12. Army lost to Oklahoma by only 8 points. Consequently Columbia is 60 points better than Oklahoma. But I would hate to bet on it.
ROBERT W. WOOD JR.
As sports editor of an Ivy League college newspaper, I should like to take issue with a statement made in your recent article.
You say that "As a football conference, the Ivy League suffers by comparison chiefly from two causes: de-emphasis on victory and the resultant decision to abolish spring training, and an insistence upon a relatively high degree of academic excellence...."
We of the Ivy League think that it is the other football conferences who "suffer," because they apply themselves so wholeheartedly to the winning of football games that the real purpose of education is often obscured. It is true that the academic standards of the Ivy League are higher than most, but within this framework we try as hard as the next school to win, and to say that we de-emphasize victory is totally false. If this lowers the number of outstanding football players who can gain admission, then let them go elsewhere.
ROBERT B. KLEIN
Brown Daily Herald
I have always hoped you would insert a comic section in your magazine, but an Ivy League all-star team exceeded even my wildest dreams.
St. Catharine, Mo.
HORSE SHOW: THE PONIES
In regard to Miss Higgins' article on the National Horse Show (A Castle in the Sky, SI, Nov. 23), contrary to opinion I thought the new international pony competition was a welcome addition to the National. This class was not the cause of the show running till 2:15 a.m., and although our pony team was badly trounced, it brought to light the fact that our ponies are not properly schooled. Work, patience and some elementary dressage would soon correct this problem. We have fields of fine ponies in this country waiting to be trained.
Our young riders are beginning to profit by their knowledge gained from the Pony Club (originating in Great Britain). Let's follow the British example again in training our ponies so that future competitions will be well-matched.
ANN D. CONOLLY
Glen Cove, N.Y.
SPORTSMAN OF THE YEAR
I should like to nominate Ben Schwartzwalder of Syracuse for keeping his first team in play for 24 minutes and 24 seconds in the game against noble old foe Colgate University, when the score reached 30-0 at the end of 15 minutes.
A fitting inscription for the trophy might be his own quote from SPORTS ILLUSTRATED (THEY SAID IT, NOV. 23), "If I ever get so greedy that I'm not satisfied to win by one point, then I'll know there's something wrong with me."
ROBERT J. KERRIGAN
This time around, let's not pass over that individual who, for the second year running completely personifies real sportsmanship: Pete Dawkins of West Point and Oxford.
DAVID G. RADUE