HARD HEADS, SOFT BODIES
We in the Erie County YMCA are currently engaged in a capital-funds campaign for $3,070,500 to build three new branch buildings and to rehabilitate our present buildings. Mr. Kennedy has said much in his article (The Soft American, Dec. 26) that strengthens and supplements our campaign story.
JAMES C. KURZ
Congratulations on the excellent article by President-elect Kennedy. It displays his keen insight and your alert reporting. I am delighted to see the fitness problem recognized at the highest level.
CECIL W. MORGAN
Dean, School of Health and Physical Education, Ithaca College
It is encouraging to read that President Eisenhower's program to improve the fitness of all Americans is to be carried further.
It has been two years since I bought a copy of SPORTS ILLUSTRATED and I am sorry I wasted a quarter on the issue on The Soft American by J. F. Kennedy. History has repeatedly shown that the great ideas which control our lives today came from the minds of some of the worst physical specimens in history.
R. E. McKEE
•Or from borrowed magazines. The special issue containing the Kennedy article cost 35¢.—ED.
Whoever wins out in the cold war will do so because of scientific superiority supported by intelligent policies. The mind and not the biceps is going to be the weapon by which we will win or lose.
During the past several years I have traveled for the U.S. State Department, primarily in Asia, as a roving track coach. Asia is a land of contradictions, political phenomena, 1,000 ethnic groups and languages. It is an area where people suffer from hunger and 15th century diseases, where they can't read or write, have never heard of democracy, have never known of civil liberties, are not Christians, but where they love sports as all people do. In much of the East, national leaders are active in sport. The Prime Minister of Malaya, Tengku Abdul Rahman, is the active head of the Malayan football association. President Sukarno of Indonesia just got $12 million from the Soviet Union to build sports arenas for the 1962 Asian Games. In Laos or Thailand a good student may be a good student, but if he is also a sportsman, strong in body and sound in mind, he's a leader, a potential Prime Minister.
In Asia, youth is a prime target for the Communists, and sport offers a natural approach and a normal situation for organization, for youth clubs. The Chinese Communists have flooded Southeast Asia with pamphlets on sport. They have reprinted American track books with their own propaganda slant, and they sell them for a fraction of the cost of the original American version. What we have tried to do is fight the Communists on the field of sport for the youth of the world, in Asia, in Africa, in the Middle East. We coaches have become aware of the broader implications of sport; we have seen it from an amazing angle; we have seen it in a new dimension—even greater than the Olympics—in the backward areas of the world.
In his article Mr. Kennedy cites the challenge of "a powerful and implacable adversary determined to show the world that only the Communist system possesses the vigor and determination necessary to satisfy awakening aspirations for progress," He once spoke of a "civilian peace corps." As a former marine, let me say that a civilian peace corps, working in engineering, medicine and especially the common ground of sport, would do more good than 10,000 Marine Corps.
THOMAS P. ROSANDICH
•Former Quantico Marines Coach Tom Rosandich is well known in track and field circles, teaches history and international relations in a Wisconsin high school between trips to Asia.—ED.
For more than 70 years the AAU has preached physical exercises.
Your magazine can be most helpful in furthering the cause by encouraging the formation of athletic clubs in every locality having a high school. Such clubs, using high school facilities on evenings, Sundays and holidays, and during vacations, can make it possible for many boys and girls not yet in high school and many young men and women just out of high school or college to engage in wholesome athletic exercise.
DANIEL J. FERRIS
Honorary Secretary, AAU
New York City
It is interesting to note that the vital question of athletic fitness was a matter of concern to another man who became President. Woodrow Wilson, writing on the burdens of the presidency in his book, Constitutional Government in the United States, which was published in 1908, stated: "No other man's day is so full as his, so full of the responsibilities which tax mind and conscience alike and demand an inexhaustible vitality...Men of ordinary physique and discretion cannot be Presidents and live, if the strain be not somehow relieved. We shall be obliged always to be picking our chief magistrates from among wise and prudent athletes,—a small class."
JOHN J. DALEY JR.
FINE AND FREE
You make some fairly blithe assumptions when you write that the objectors to Pay TV are not "involved creatively with recreation and entertainment" (The $6,000,000,000 Question, Dec. 26), and are not "representatives of the public at large."
As a member of both groups, I ask: do you think for one minute that there will be any determining factor in Pay TV other than the possible size of the audience? The only concern of the networks will be quantity of audience rather than quality of show, since they will be selling a program, not a product.
Until some guarantee can be given that the quality of TV will be improved by direct payment for programs, I'd rather skim off the few music, drama, sports and public service programs we get now, and keep the Cyclops of the modern American home quiet the rest of the time.
I saw a fine (free) telecast of the pro football championship game from Philadelphia. Your writers are very idealistic if they think that games of this stature will remain free once Pay TV is firmly established. It just doesn't make sense economically. It would just be a matter of time before every worthwhile sports event would be on Pay TV.
The article admits we would soon have commercials on Pay TV. So where does the average fan gain?
Who are we kidding that Pay TV is going to be much different from current TV in program quality? Are we suddenly going to discover a great unknown wealth of writing and performing talent?
Pay or free, if you don't get an audience, the shows go off the air—except as the FCC requires serving the public interest. And if a lousy show by your standards draws a big audience, you can count on it to appear on Pay TV just as fast and as frequently as it would on commercial TV.
ALDEN R. GRIMES
Who owns the air waves, anyway—the box office boys or the public?
H. B. POWELL
Battle Creek, Mich.
Re: Pay Television.
I think pay television has great possibilities but the big thing I want to know is, how much are they going to pay me to watch?
H. Wm. WAY
I am all for encouraging children to devise their own games and activities with a minimum of adult guidance or interference (And Then There Was Stone Tag, Dec. 26), but with reasonable limitations. By all means let them throw snow in winter, water in summer, and balls in all seasons but not stones and not sticks. Let them have access to tools to make boats, trucks, sleds and tree houses, but not weapons. Let them play cowboys and Indians or cops and robbers with cap guns and fists, if need be, but not with BB guns.
I cannot help thinking that Mrs. Connelly would cherish her souvenir BB less warmly if it had lodged in her eye instead of in her arm.
NANCY B. WATSON
Dolly Connelly's article, while delightfully written, nevertheless reveals the beginnings of The Ugly American and the answer to Who Killed Society.
Beautiful—that's the only way to describe Dolly Connelly's story.
New York City
We at the Cigar Institute have a Man of the Year just like you, and our pick for 1960 happens to be a sportsman as well—Bob Friend of the Pittsburgh Pirates. It was through the pages of SPORTS ILLUSTRATED (Oct. 10), in fact, that we discovered that he is a cigar smoker.
New York City
FOR THE DEFENSE
In a recent copy of your magazine, Tex Maule made some pretty bad remarks about Bill Wade, quarterback of the Los Angeles Rams (A Step Up in the Mud, Dec. 19), who happens to be a good friend of myself and my daddy. Tex Maule says Bill was lumbering through the line. He says Bill is an awkward passer. If so, why was Bill one of the best passers of the Western Conference last year? Bill has one quality most pros don't have. Every Sunday night he is with his family, and not at the pool table or drinking, or keeping out of shape like the other pros. If you ever see Tex Maule, please tell him I said he doesn't know anything more about Bill Wade than I do about flying a rocket.
ROB CRICHTON JR.