Prejudice and bias are the only reasons for your article A Rough Day for the Bear (Nov. 26). Last year's Holt-Graning incident, unfortunate though it was, is no reason to claim that Coach Bryant advocates violence during his games. Furthermore, to point out that a total of only 10 penalty yards means a clean game is ridiculous. Last week Notre Dame was charged with 90 yards, Minnesota 130. Does this mean they played a dirty game? Of course not. It means the referees spotted more infractions of the rules.
"Piling on" is probably the most frequent infraction—and that should be stopped. But to claim that all football needs is clean coaching is, like the rest of your story, absurd.
ALFRED N. PATTERSON JR.
It so happens that the film of last year's Alabama-Georgia Tech game showed both squads guilty of throwing elbows. It was unfortunate that Tech's Graning happened to receive the worst end of it.
As for Coach Bryant, I really don't think he has to explain his way of teaching football. If he did, every team in the conference would have the good teams that he is so capable of fielding. We at Bama know and believe in his methods of training ballplayers.
MRS. ED SALEM
Your article is not only an insult to Alabama and Bryant but to college football as such. It is pertinent, I think, that you realize this game is not ring-around-the-rosy. Football is a man's game; it was before Paul Bryant began coaching, and it will still be after he has gone. The only difference between Bryant and other coaches is that he wins more games.
A. C. BUCKNER
After anxiously waiting for it, I was indeed disappointed in your coverage of the Tech-Alabama game. I did expect a slightly prejudiced viewpoint, but I was disgusted that such a story would be only a tribute to Coach Bryant.
From your article one would conclude that Alabama lost because the team played a clean game. (Perhaps such a change did contribute slightly to Alabama's difficulties.) One would further conclude that the Tide's loss was due to "bad breaks" and "gambles." These two assumptions merely underlie the real reason: Georgia Tech rightfully won the game through inspiration, effort and spirit unprecedented in Tech's recent football history.
To Tech fans the game was a battle of principles. And Georgia Tech deserved the victory—regardless of the national standing of the teams involved.
We Australians wonder why your football players need such an excess of gear (long pants, helmets, etc.), as all it seems to do is cause a greater number of injuries and deaths. Our Rugby League players wear only low boots, socks, shorts and a jersey, yet I have heard of only one player dying as a result of injuries received in Rugby League in Australia.
West Ryde, Australia
FIT TO FIGHT
I have read Mrs. Richard J. Ross's Open Letter to Bud Wilkinson (Nov. 15) and the letters that have been published in reply to it (19TH HOLE, Nov. 26 & Dec. 3). I believe that much of the fault lies with the adults, but I do not put the full blame on the shoulders of the physical education instructors. The blame lies with the parents of children who are cuddled and pampered from the cradle to the bridal march.
How often do you see a distraught mother rush out of the house to step in and protect her "baby" when her precious has stood up to assert his rights with a playmate? Give me a child who has had to fight—and I mean fight—to stand up for his own ideals.
EUGENE M. LOVELACE
A gold medal for Mrs. Richard J. Ross. This woman has taken the bull by the horns and expressed the feelings of many throughout the country. Why must our children be subjected to the tormenting problems of making the team? The chosen few play, the others watch. You cannot build good bodies by watching someone else playing. Does a child get to relax at the ball field? Well, he's met by a Ralph Houk and his assistants.
Whatever happened to the neighborhood pickup team? I guess you remember the time the 6th Streets played the 7th Streets for half a day through endless innings with about 35 player changes (depending on who had to eat at what time). The only signals we had to memorize were the whistle from Dad or the thumb of an older brother or sister showing you were out of the game and on your way home. Winning or losing that day meant as much to us as Einstein's theory. We went home slightly battle-worn but happy that we had played and had fun for several hours.
As Mrs. Ross points out, let's get rid of the system that prevails and let all children have an equal opportunity to play.
West Islip, N.Y.
THE CUP AND THE LIP
SPORTS ILLUSTRATED and Gwilym Brown are to be congratulated on their excellent coverage of the Canada Cup series (The U.S. Is Best, Nov. 19), a series which somehow or other was but sparsely mentioned in the national press.
However, the glittering triumph of U.S. arms in this competition has temporarily blinded Brown, Gwilym, to at least one past British victory in the Walker cup—which he says we haven't won since the Ark ran aground. That triumph in 1938 was one of the most vivid memories of my youth in St. Andrews, Scotland. The American team was strong that year and prospects for the home team rather grim as, a few days earlier, Charlie Yates of Atlanta became the umpteenth American to win the British Amateur. And so, after many years of "stiff upper lip, chaps," the British victory was particularly sweet. We had finally beaten "those bloody Yanks."
But those same Yanks were gracious in defeat. Who can forget Charlie Yates and Gordon Peters, a member of the British team, singing A Wee Deoch-an-Doris in front of the venerable Royal and Ancient clubhouse. This was and is our solitary triumph. And though it probably won't happen again until Australian, Canadian and South African players are combined to make it the Commonwealth vs. the U.S., we did have our day.
Also Mr. Brown, Eric, when he says that the American golfing swarm is all-conquering, would, I like to think, have some second sobering thoughts now that he is back in the misty dew and bracing winds of Scotland. While there is no argument whatsoever that the top U.S. professionals and leading amateurs are in a class above their Scottish counterparts (I speak only for Scotland—the English are a race apart) I firmly believe that a team of average Scottish club golfers would soundly trounce a similar group of American club golfers. After all, let's not forget that the 80-to-90 shooter is the backbone of the game, and if the swarm is all-conquering as claimed they must be included.
Finally, I think that the Commonwealth golfers would be flattered to learn that all they can do, according to Gary Player, is hit the ball straight. I wish that were my only problem.
OIL ON THE FIRE
I consider the article on the Houston Oilers-Boston Patriots game an insult to my intelligence (The Sad Case of the Missing Quarterback, Nov. 26). The guy who wrote it is just about as open-minded as the Russian delegate to the United Nations.
I sure get tired reading about how good the Oilers' opponents are. I'll grant you Boston Coach Mike Holovak is the best coach in the AFL, but the Oilers have the best team, man for man, in the league. I have watched them all come up against the Oilers since the opening game of 1961, and when the Oilers are right they outclass everyone else. They also have something few other teams have: team spirit, unusual in pro football. Most of the Oilers actually like to play football. The old strictly-for-business attitude of the NFL and most of the other AFL teams just isn't present at Jeppesen Stadium.
You said the Oiler defense has been carrying the team. That was a good statement. They have—when the other team has had the ball. But the defense didn't put all those points on the Oiler scoreboard.
H. B. VAUGHN JR.
RACE FOR KNOWLEDGE
It appears that at last the makers of the world-famous Detroit Iron have developed enough nerve to take a few steps in the right direction in automotive development (Ford's Big Plunge into Racing, Nov. 19). Ever since that senseless ban was adoptted several years ago, new developments in American cars have been very few and even farther between, and Europe has gone flying past us. It would appear that now, after years of babbling about real leather upholstery and bucket seats with sports-type consoles, advertising agents will have some real engineering features to sink their teeth into.
As for those unfortunate few who still believe that racing is unsafe and a danger to the public, I can only say that it is much safer than allowing untried and unproved monsters to roam our superhighways. As a result of racing, modern automobiles no longer break wheels, no longer lose rear hubs and no longer suffer brake fade. Is it illogical to expect many more similar improvements to come about as a result of building better racing cars? Legislation is not needed on this matter. What is needed is a reverent bow in the direction of the company that is on the road to making up five lost years in automobile development.
We at Harbor Tours, Inc. were quite interested in your story, Bon Voyage to the Ball Game (Nov. 26), particularly since hundreds of San Francisco Giant fans have been going to Candlestick Park for the past two years aboard the Red and White Fleet.
The vessels tie up about a five-minute walk from right field. When Harbor Tours put into service its 400-passenger Harbor King during the 1962 World Series, it was jammed with fans for each San Francisco game and, as at Seattle, offered a wonderful way to beat the traffic.
We just wanted you to know that Seattle doesn't have a monopoly on water transportation to major sports events.
W. C. HELMAN
You waste too much time and effort putting before the youth of our nation article after article, picture after picture (many in color) concerning pro football and boxing. These two sports represent everything that is unclean, unfair and dishonest in the sporting world. A short time ago you put before the youth of our nation a cover picture of Sonny Liston, heavyweight champion of the world. You probably took great pride in setting this man up before the youth of our country, and the world at large, as a real example of American sportsmanship, despite the fact that he made half a million dollars and pounded his opponent to the floor in gorilla-like fashion. When I see the pictures you waste money on showing big pro players with taped-up hands (bruised badly from trying to break someone's jaw or neck) ganging up on the ball carrier with the sole purpose of injuring him bad enough to get him out of the game and using all kinds of dirty tactics (all of these are premeditated) in order to win the game, please the pro crowd and earn the almighty dollar, I can only feel you are helping to encourage our youth to follow sportsmanship on the lowest level.
LEMUEL ROBERTS II