ALL THE WAY
WE WISH TO CONGRATULATE YOU ON YOUR FINE ARTICLE ABOUT THE LATE NCAA NATIONAL BASKETBALL CHAMPIONS (Ohio State All the Way, March 27). WE ALL FEEL THAT THE ARTICLE WAS WELL WRITTEN, WELL COMPOSED, WELL THOUGHT-OUT AND COMPLETELY INCORRECT.
ED HALL, JIM GOEPPINGER, STU GRAFF, BILL KUEPER, RON MUELLER, JACK KREIMER, BILL NELSON, GEORGE WENDT, DON ORLECK, JERRY FITZGERALD, BILL O'KEEFE, MIKE KEMNER, DON FISCHER, BOB HICKMAN, CHUCK LEVINE
UNIVERSITY OF CINCINNATI
Once upon a time a sportswriter named Ray Cave wrote a fairy tale in which he made the same supposedly safe statement as that old Kentucky colonel, Adolph Rupp. But, alas, the tale had an unhappy ending; Ohio State didn't go "all the way" (A Real Barn-burner in Kansas City, April 3).
TED R. LANDIS
Thackeray subtitled his great masterpiece, Vanity Fair, the "Novel Without a Hero." The Cincinnati Bearcats are apparently the basketball champions without an All-America.
J. C. MAISH
As a hockey fan since pro hockey has been in the Garden, I am very interested in your comments on "The Sinkable Admiral John" Bergen (SCORECARD, April 3).
The real trouble with the Rangers is not on the bench; it is at the top. And what the Garden corporation ought to do is to trade the Admiral for a Jack Adams or a Connie Smythe.
Until you get some real hockey brains at the top, you are never going to have a winning hockey team.
DRAKE H. SPARKMAN
New York City
•As president of a firm of naval architects responsible for thousands of championship yachts (Sparkman & Stephens, Inc.), Hockey Fan Sparkman should know something about both winners and admirals.—ED.
The issue of Titanic Thompson's nickname, raised by Hal Speer (19TH HOLE, March 27), was settled some years back by the late John Lardner. And an issue settled by Lardner deserves to stay settled.
Thompson was profitably playing poker with strangers once when one victim asked another: "What's that guy's name?"
"It ought to be Titanic," the second loser said. "He sinks everybody."
Lardner, of course, realized that the logic was shaky. "If I remember the S.S. Titanic story," he said, " 'Iceberg' would have been the right name." But in the interest of alliteration, he did not argue.
Congratulations to you and Robert H. Boyle for the article Gamecocks and Gentlemen Meet in Dixie (March 27).
It was well written, it was authentic and, best of all, it was sympathetic.
Cockfighting is a subject which usually attracts more readers when written up in a derogatory, sensational manner. Thank you very much for publishing this report in such fair terms.
CHARLES W. BROADFOOT JR.
Would you please explain the difference between your obvious disapproval of Liston's underworld connections and illegal basketball bribes, and your apparent approval of illegal cockfighting?
I have no bone to pick with those who don't happen to care for the sport. After all, there are those who see nothing good in boxing, fishing or basketball. But I can say with complete honesty that during my association with the age-old sport of cocking I have never been connected with a finer, more honorable group of individuals than those devoted to this sport. The gamecock fraternity is devoid of riffraff, professional gamblers and the lower element so closely associated with some other sporting events.
I think it is wonderful to realize that, though the sport is generally suppressed, we in the United States breed the finest game chickens in the world today. I hope and pray that we'll see the day when folks realize the value of the sport and its participants, and there will no longer be the need to hold contests under cover.
Cockfighting was also a favorite sport in the Civil War, particularly in the South. An historian has said that some camps sounded like poultry shows—company was pitted against company, regiment against regiment, and stakes were high. There rose up a young generation of trainers versed in every point of the game. The statement that the Virginia gentlemen Washington and Jefferson fought cocks may well be believed.
Apropos "Pure as the Snow" (SCORECARD, March 13): We of the International Professional Ski Racers Association have no intention of enticing promising young amateurs away from FIS and Olympic competition too soon or before they have given their utmost in this area. In fact, IPSRA has just turned down Roger Staub's application for membership, urging him to remain amateur and race in the 1962 FIS. This sets a precedent. Dr. Hodler need not fear that we will interfere with amateur skiing; instead we intend to support it in every way we can.
As for the Jack Kramer dig, IPSRA is definitely a nonprofit organization. We are building along the lines of the PGA.
"Phil Coleman? Who is he?" This is the retort I received when I mentioned to a couple of sportswriters here in London that Idea of an Amateur (March 6) was being published as a reply to my story on My Take-home Pay as an Amateur Sprinter (Jan. 30).
Perhaps this will explain why Phil was seldom offered money in excess of expenses for running. Phil is a good athlete, and without dedicated runners like him the sport would gradually die, but not every athlete reaches the level where he is the pawn that is sold to the public to induce them to pay to watch him perform.
Now that I am amateur again much of the joy that I lost under the archaic rules of international competition has returned for me, and I continue to train and to run purely for enjoyment. But I consider my former attitude to be realistic, in that I recognized the opportunities, and made avail of them as best I could.
There was a time when only the well-to-do could afford to spend much time in the pursuit of sport. Meetings were conducted more in a garden-party atmosphere than in the well-organized, highly publicized way they are today.
The concept of amateurism has been carried over to the present day, by administrators who are years behind the times, with little or no change.
Amateurism begins to fly out of the window the moment the sport acquires a single paid spectator. The public do not come to watch a group of amateurs, but to be entertained by good performances. To most spectators it makes little difference if a performer is amateur or professional as long as he is good.
Phil Coleman himself admits that he would not be greatly averse to allowing higher official payments to athletes, even if he is not interested in such himself. The only question now is how the payment will be made.