THE BEAR PIT
Bear Bryant has an inflated sense of values concerning football (I'll Tell You About Football, Aug. 15 et seq.). He thinks his kind of football can teach a boy about life.
Life, I've always felt, is learned in the living. Ordinary football is good because it's fun and it's good exercise and gives a lift to the spirits. Bryant, however, wants to make it into something else—it gets too serious with him and gives a man a warped sense about life.
EDWARD S. HICKCOX
Thanks for your public service in bringing to us the Bear Bryant formula for evaluating a boy's talent. Kick the kid! If he doesn't kick you back—or turn the other cheek—he's a bum.
Whatever happened to sport?
A. SLOAN NIBLEY
North Hollywood, Calif.
September 18, 1966
Methinks there is a little bit of envy showing in Bear Bryant's talk about how Bobby Dodd coaches at Georgia Tech. Bear probably can't understand how a coach can have his boys playing volleyball on Monday and still win football games on Saturday.
Both coaches are highly successful. Bryant's theory is that football is war. Dodd's theory is that football is a game and, therefore, should be fun, not drudgery. Both theories seem to work, but I imagine that playing at Tech must be a helluva lot more fun.
D. LEON TURNER
I disagree with those who have accused Bryant's teams of using dirty tactics on the gridiron. The Bear teaches good, sound football, the rock-'em-sock-'em type. Most fans enjoy watching hard-nosed football, and Bryant's teams have never been guilty of playing touch football.
I can well imagine that after they have completed their "boot camp" training Bryant's footballers are ready to meet any and every challenge life has to offer.
Thank you for a wonderful series of articles about Coach Bear Bryant. It really let us fans get a little closer to coaching.
However, I just can't buy the whole bit of Mr. Bryant crying so often. I also fail to understand how a team that beats Nebraska in a bowl game can become No. 1 in the nation with the schedules the two teams play.
It would sure be interesting to see how Alabama would fare if they played first Michigan State, then Notre Dame, then USC and UCLA. Or even any one of the four.
E. L. THOMAS
Thank you for your fine coverage of the one-wall handball match between Jimmy Jacobs and Steve Sandler (It Was Action Day in Brooklyn, Sept. 5). It was a fine tribute to a man (Jacobs) whose desire for excellence makes him the ideal American sportsman.
I enjoyed Tom Brody's delightful story on the two great handball champions. I also thought that your readers might be interested to know that when the match was arranged, three weeks before it took place, Jacobs was asked to promise that he would not set foot on a one-wall court until he played Steve Sandler. Those who saw Jacobs play, and saw how amateurish he looked, knew he had kept his word.
There is going to be a rematch in six weeks, and, in the meantime, Jacobs has been given license to learn what the one-wall game is all about. I personally think that Sandler will win again, but at least Jacobs will know better what to do with his splendid talent on a one-wall court.
New York City
Well, it's about time we got an article on Harry Walker (The Voice of the Pirates, Sept. 5). After wading through everything from Bill DeWitt to Jacqueline Piatigorsky it was a pleasant change to read about a man who has taken a second-rate team to first place.
Any manager who can turn .250 hitters into .341 hitters deserves a lot more than an article in a magazine. But I guess winning the National League pennant and the World Series will be adequate reward for the Pirate skipper.
Santa Ana, Calif.
I believe that it is too early to proclaim Cincinnati's Dave Bristol a great baseball manager (Hottest Team in Baseball, Aug. 22). Granted he has some of the qualifications for greatness, like being a lousy ballplayer, packing a full cheek and being a bit on the folksy side. However, he has much too much hair, not nearly enough waistline and does not come from a place like Drop Dead, Pa. or Straight Edge, W. Va., all necessary to becoming one of the truly great ones.
Remember, Bristol will be competing with the likes of Walter (Smokey) Alston. Walt has him far outstripped in hairline, paunch and lack of playing ability, and he comes from a place named Darrtown in southern Ohio. Further, I went to college with Smokey Alston and hardly ever heard of him, because there was no reason to. That is the stuff that Hall of Famers are made of. I feel that Bristol falls a little short in the things that count. Just how far can a full cheek be expected to carry a guy?
H. H. TODHUNTER
In the article concerning the John Brodie blackmail case (The Fabulous Brodie Caper, Aug. 29) most of the blame for the pro-football war seems to fall on the NFL. This is a great injustice to the NFL. Football (both pro and college) has the NFL to thank for its rise to the top as a spectator sport. It took 40-plus years to do this. Only now is it beginning to pay off. The benefits accorded to pro-football players are almost too fantastic to believe, and the NFL is responsible for them all. They made it all possible.
Then along comes the AFL, a bunch of spoiled, disgruntled millionaires who have money to burn and who believe that you're not In unless you have as a hobby a professional team of some sort. It is inexcusable for such a group to walk into a ready-made moneymaking proposition and then turn around and blame the NFL for doing precisely what the AFL itself is doing. No one can fault the NFL for refusing to soothe the AFL's ego or place a part of its organization in another's hands just as a hobby.
It takes a man to admit an obligation and a debt of honor.
BENEDICT F. BAYRUNS
I heartily agree with one sentence in your article about Jim Nash (Kansas City Gets a Kid to Build a Dream On, Aug. 29): "It has not been easy to be a Kansas City fan for the last 11 seasons."
But now, thanks to some exciting new talent (Jim Nash and others), Mr. Finley's green stuff and Alvin Dark's managing, we Kansas City fans may be able to stand up and cheer.
MRS. WILLIAM L. CLARK
Shawnee Mission, Kans.
Thank you for William Leggett's article on Jim Nash, the best rookie pitcher in baseball. He is just what the Athletics need—to trade away. The A's can be great if they will just keep some of these good prospects.
Overland Park, Kans.
TOO MUCH TOO SOON
I am a longtime subscriber to your magazine and certainly prefer baseball to all other sports, including the assorted trivia (curling, falconry, etc.) that you sometimes seem to prefer over the National Pastime. But I think it's high time someone said something about those griping softies who feel that having to play over five hours a day—even occasionally—is too much.
Baseball players are paid very handsomely for their eight-month part-time job as compared to any nonsporting vocation, but a few apparently are too spoiled to realize it. On the other hand, I will be the first to agree that the season is too long and should be shortened. You can overdo a good thing, and April to October is a little much.
As for interleague play, I can't see this at all. The NFL is a perfect example of this. It's superfluous to even have two leagues. Certainly the American League is all for it. They need something to make up for their obvious lack of talent.
I enjoyed Pat Ryan's recent chronicle of the misfortunes suffered by the British Curtis Cup team on the trout-infested closing holes of the Cascades golf course in Hot Springs, Va. (Caught on a Barbless Hook, Aug. 8). I was chagrined, however, to find that the British gals-for all their troubles—apparently failed to match or surpass the dubious distinction that befell me on the ponded 18th a few years back.
Needing a par 3 to break 80 and, as it turned out, to win a match, I managed to cuff two straight three-iron tee shots into the middle of the trout pond. My third effort, however, was a thing of beauty. It sailed, majestically, all of 50 or 60 yards into the pond. It wasn't a ball. It was my three-iron.
I was immediately informed that I had set an alltime record for the three-iron throw at Cascades. As far as I know, alas, the record still stands.
J. WILLIAM JONES
King of Prussia, Pa.