KING ARTHUR'S COURT
As one who has followed tennis rather closely, I watched with interest the career of the first Negro to attain topflight ability, Althea Gibson, two-time winner at both Wimbledon and Forest Hills, and I cannot say which impressed me more, her brilliant game or her exemplary demeanor. And now I see those same qualities being displayed by Arthur Ashe, the first Negro to gain high ranking in the men's division. Frank Deford's article, Service, but First a Smile (Aug. 29), reinforces my favorable impression of Ashe. May his career carry forward.
New York City
I'm glad you put Arthur Ashe where he belongs—on the cover!
Fair Haven, N.J.
While I found Edwin Shrake's article, The Fabulous Brodie Caper (Aug. 29), very informative, I cannot help but object to his seeming attempt to glorify the financial escapades of just another pro football player. Who is John Riley Brodie? Surely not another Johnny Unitas or even a Y. A. Tittle! In spite of his statistical accomplishments in 1965 can he be compared to Frank Ryan or Bart Starr? Or Sid Luckman or Sammy Baugh? He is, in short, just a football player who, through legal maneuvering which probably outdoes his field generalship, has managed to gain an inordinate amount of remuneration for his services.
CLEMENT M. BOVIO
North Plainfield, N.J.
If John Brodie can get $921,000 on the basis of his past record, there is not enough money in all the world to pay Sandy Koufax, Willie Mays, Bill Russell or Wilt Chamberlain.
North Bergen, N.J.
September 11, 1966
The Fabulous Brodie Caper is probably the biggest sports story, pro football or otherwise, I've read in six years. But Edwin Shrake's lead was all wrong. It should have gone something like this: "Long, long ago, Columbus set sail to discover a land where any young lad may grow up to be President or a millionaire—with a few breaks."
I am the mayor of what Mr. Dan Jenkins referred to as "moldy Peekskill" (Locks vs. Boom Boom, Aug. 22) and I am convinced that Mr. Jenkins' brain is moldy. Some people regard history as moldy. Some people regard sports as moldy. Others use the words tradition, time-honored and the like. Mr. Jenkins probably never heard of those words, since they involve more than two syllables and a man of his obvious powers of observation and perspicacity would not come up to that level.
Please be kind enough to tell your man that moldy Peekskill has provided the Jets with a great measure of cordiality and warmth of welcome, without going into the fact that Peekskill is one of our older communities in American history and is steeped in American historical traditions. Mr. Jenkins should be so steeped.
WILLIAM J. MURDEN
While Dan Jenkins' story on our million-dollar rookies was quite good, his references to Green Bay were very slanderous. First of all, Green Bay, visited in 1634 by Jean Nicolet, is a world port city lying by the banks of Green Bay, not Holzer's Drug Store—where-ever that is. Second, Green Bay is not the last stop to the Arctic and no one wears a mackinaw. Third, there are no colorful native costumes; Green Bay people dress no differently from the people of the rest of the country.
And so, Dan Jenkins, just because you're not lucky enough to live here, don't knock it.
Green Bay, Wis.
I was very hurt! As a lifetime resident of Green Bay I have been in Holzer's Drug Store only once. I do not own a mackinaw, and I don't know anyone who does.
Green Bay, Wis.
Congratulations to John Underwood and SI for the Bear Bryant series (Aug. 15, et seq.). I hope many young people will have an opportunity to read and profit from it.
In my opinion a coach like Bryant who can instill in a boy the desire to win a football game and have pride in himself, can also help him become a better man in the all important game of life. Not only has he molded winners on the field but many fine men in our society as well.
Football is more than a game of running, blocking and tackling. Discipline can be commanded but respect must be earned. Much depends on the understanding between player and coach, and it takes more than teaching amateur psychology to create what Bear Bryant has. He is truly a master of the art of getting 110% from his players and not killing that quality called desire. We need more men like him.
HAYWARD HARGROVE JR.
Dean of Men
Louisiana Polytechnic Institute
Give me the old-fashioned kind of honesty that made a man's word as good as his bond. This brand of honesty was discounted when Bryant stated that signing his name to a contract didn't mean a thing, except as a "protection" for the college president against alumni who "might not like it when the coach doesn't win the championship that first year." A contract is a man's word and it should mean everything. There are still many men around, and I do not exclude coaches or college presidents, who hold such words to be sacred.
Bryant further condones his action by implying that any man would break a contract in order to advance his career. Not true, Mr. Bear, not by a long shot.
SEYMOUR SOLOMON, D.D.S.
Bear Bryant's homespun philosophy is sound, honest, realistic and uniquely successful. With more Bear Bryants teaching, not only on the gridiron but in classrooms and in today's homes, we should be able to distinguish a boy from a girl by the cut of the hair, and have fewer beatniks cluttering up the nation's college campuses. Congratulations on this great story of a great man in a time of great need for a realignment of values.
In answer to Rudi Brutocao's letter (19TH HOLE, Aug. 29) concerning the lack of football in the first of the Bear Bryant articles, I suggest that Mr. Brutocao is either a non-athlete or Superman.
As an athlete, I am thankful that someone has finally revealed to the average fan that athletics goes much deeper than a set of muscles. Believe it or not, Mr. Brutocao, the Bear is telling you about football.
Last December 20 you published a non-essay on sport by John Steinbeck (Then My Arm Glassed Up). In it, if you will recall, Steinbeck described two new sports of his own invention: the first was vine-racing ("Each contestant plants a seed beside a pole of specified height, and the first vine to reach the top wins"). The second and "even more sedate and healthful contest" was oak-tree racing, a competition that, "depending on the agreed finishing height...may go on for generations." Well, I was motivated by all this to take up oak-tree racing, and now I wish to report.
My opponent, a tall, muscular type who has proved to be a very challenging adversary, politely agreed to call it a completed contest when the first acorn develops into a tree 3 feet, 5.13 inches tall. We chose our ground, held our trowels in readiness and waited for the starting gun. Dirt flew. The crowd (three small boys and a stray cat) was on its feet, and what is proving to be an exhilarating contest was under way.
My plan was to start with a strong defense. Under cover of the first night I executed a slight ditch leading from my opponent's planting, thus directing the life-giving water away from the center of his action. This play prompted an outburst of unintelligible language. Nevertheless, I set about to ready my offense. A few nights later, as the bright light of the full moon was obscured by a cloud cover, I crept out again and scientifically began to apply the contents of a small canvas bag to the area surrounding my acorn, a ploy instigated by a friend of mine, a nurseryman. The strategy was to outfertilize my foe and thereby gain that all important first inch.
As you might suspect, I felt rather complacent after this maneuver and was content to hold the ball, so to speak. Some would call it overconfidence. At any rate, about a fortnight later the tide turned when I observed my adversary applying a colorless liquid to my field of play. Weed killer. So now, rather than bark up the wrong tree, I am attempting to locate a rule book. After all, I want my stand to be on a solid plank. Besides, my opponent's son (a sophomore in college) has changed his major from business to horticulture.
Needless to say, the outcome of this contest cannot be projected with any degree of accuracy at this time. But we plan to stay with it and do our best.
In the meantime I wish to offer a word or two of caution to the novice who may be contemplating this courageous and burning sport. Watch for slivers. And remember: it's the sportsman, not the sport, that determines the aspect of the game.