You head your story "The Night 10 Americans Got Clobbered"(Nov. 13)! What a misnomer. This was the night America itself got clobbered and not by the British alone.
It is criminal to send an unconditioned boxer out to compete against another who is in prime condition. If one of the American lads had been killed or seriously injured, the sport of boxing would have been criticized, not the officials.
Secretary, National Intercollegiate
Boxing Coaches Association
Although I do not advocate that only those men and women who appear to be unbeatable should be sent to represent this country in competition abroad, I cannot conceive that any advertisement of American sports could be poorer than to have permitted those 10 American boxers to enter an English ring clothed only in donated equipment and six-month-old national titles. It would have been better for Manager Taylor to have organized this junket on a skipping rope rather than a shoestring.
ALLEN P. ROSENBERG
Congratulations on Football from the Cradle (Nov. 13). Massillon can serve as an example to all communities that community pride begins with the youth.
JOHN E. GRAHAM
I wonder if any of the football-fed kids in Massillon can ever know the thrill of going from door to door, pleading with mothers for release from Saturday chores, talking the neighborhood gas station man into patching the old football one more time and playing on the corner lot.
Wichita Falls, Texas
Football from the Cradle turned my stomach. I gathered that by the time a Massillon, Ohio boy enters high school, he is playing football the way an electronic data-processing machine spills forth data, with no mistakes and without thinking. But do these kids have any fun?
I'm glad that my son will have the opportunity to play and enjoy football. He will make mistakes, learn many lessons, but will have fun while he is a boy. He probably will never forget football, but he will outgrow it and become a man, not a robot.
If the mechanical kids from Massillon lose a ball game, I'm sure many parents will stop speaking to the kids, the town will be in a state of shock and the steel mill will be draped in black.
Hermosa Beach, Calif.
Until I read your article on the town of Massillon's concern with high school football, I agreed in principle with the idea that man was reasonably well along the road of evolution. It appears that this town just swung out of the trees onto the football field.
TIMOTHY B. HOWE
New Haven, Conn.
What of the poor teachers in this enlightened community who must contend with 80 band members, seven cheerleaders and untold numbers of players, all of whom are spending from 15 to 21 hours a week in activities related to football? Can they assign homework and expect it to be completed?
LORICE M. FERGUSON
Pity the poor intellectual.
JAMES FORSYTH JR.
Upper Darby, Pa.
I saw the Massillon Tigers play some years ago, and after seeing hundreds of other high school football games in Kentucky, Ohio and here in Maryland, I just can't seem to find a team that is in the same class with Massillon.
LEWIS R. CANTWELL
Silver Spring, Md.
At least they emphasize winning in a wholesome sport.
D. A. PETERSON
GOAL TO GO
Your story on football at Washington and Lee (A Sport for Gentlemen, Nov. 6) is like a clean, fresh breeze blowing in on an all-night crap game.
At Washington and Lee, football is what it was intended to be: a game, played for fun. They didn't come around to this conception because they couldn't win on the Big Apple. They came around to this because this is the right way to do it.
FANNING M. HEARON
You neglected to point out that Coach McLaughlin had produced winning football teams for a dozen years at Episcopal High (prep) School in Alexandria, Va. EHS is one of the leading boys' preparatory schools in America—a no-nonsense school that puts its emphasis on the academic drill, not on the athletic field. Nevertheless, its present team is probably the strongest in the U.S. today and boasts in Max Chapman one of the very finest schoolboy halfbacks. It was Coach Mac who developed the system of "football for all" at the high school, with teams for boys of every weight and age. Hats off to Washington and Lee, Lee McLaughlin and the high school at which a gentleman was allowed to develop his talents as a coach and his natural instinct for being a gentleman!
ROBERT K. CRAIG
You quote a W&L professor as saying, "The students were embarrassed to have schools like Hampden-Sydney as opponents," but you don't note that little Hampden-Sydney (470 students) is W&L's biggest rival (W&L has 1,540 students). We do not give football scholarships either, and our academic rating is as good as or better than theirs. We started playing them in 1955, and out of seven games we have won five, amassing 116 points to their 52 points Maybe they shouldn't be so ashamed after all.
ROBERT H. BENNETT
You say that in 1955 there was great pressure to return to big-time football. You said campus polls favored it. As author of this poll and sports editor of the college newspaper at the time, I would like to correct this statement.
We were not interested in returning to big-time football. What we suggested was that amateur athletics be retained but that a more active interest be taken by the university and the board of trustees. We emphasized the need for recruiting on an amateur basis among prep schools and high schools to attract good football players who were capable of holding their own academically.
The results of our poll indicated that 88% of the student body and faculty favored this action. With the hiring of Lee McLaughlin in 1956, the university actually embarked on a program similar to that suggested by the results of the poll.
The entire national collegiate athletic picture would be a great deal brighter and could be freed from its recent gambling and recruiting blights if more schools would embark on an athletic program similar to Washington and Lee's.
EDGAR L. GROVE
Congratulations on George Walsh's article on helmets (18 Football Deaths, Nov. 6). There are many things wrong with the helmets of today, and Walsh has brought them all out in the open.
My 9-year-old son plays football with a group of boys, each of whom is already wearing lethal weapons. With the current helmet in your hand, it would be easy to kill a man. The helmets and shoulder pads are as hard as concrete. It is compulsory to wear a so-called face guard, which provides a leverage for neck injuries never equaled by judo.
Thirty years ago I played every game for two years in high school football, at weights of 115 and 125 pounds, without injury from body contact. One quarter was lost when a blow from a then-new thigh pad knocked me unconscious. In sandlot football I had received hundreds of such thigh blows without injury. Two of our boys got their noses broken. Nobody's neck was broken.
Football is undoubtedly a character builder—if the equipment doesn't kill you first.
Kansas City, Mo.
Of the 18 deaths cited in your article you say three-quarters died of head and neck injuries. How many of the remaining died of internal injuries, heat stroke, etc.? In other words, is it going to help by just improving the helmet? It shouldn't stop there. If high schools and colleges do not have proper equipment for protection because of cost, then it's about time cost came down.
WILLIAM E. KING
Why the worry about expense? Funds are always found to improve stadiums, lights and playing fields. Now it's the players' turn for improved equipment.
NANCY M. JANOKAITIS
Eau Gallie, Florida
In January 1961 the National Alliance Football Rules Committee adopted a rule making mandatory the wearing of fitted flexible mouth and teeth protectors by all boys participating in football. The rule becomes effective for the 1962 season. This rule applies to all member high schools and colleges of the National Federation of State High School Athletic Associations, National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics and the Junior College Athletic Association.
The report of the joint committee on mouth protectors of the American Association for Health, Physical Education and Recreation and the American Dental Association is available from the American Dental Association, 22 East Superior Street, Chicago. This 21-page booklet would provide material of interest to your readers and might also save me many trips to the office on game nights to try to save teeth that almost certainly would not have been damaged had the player been wearing the inexpensive, comfortable type of fitted mouth protector recommended.
R. S. WRIGHT, D.D.S.
Your article should be called to the attention of all high school coaches.
GEORGE W. HAMILTON