I salute Texas A&M. The article by Myron Cope (The Proudest Squares, Nov. 18) points out that the school is the butt of many jokes for its continued adherence to some old virtues—loyalty, obedience and reverence. This is not surprising. These days the squares are out of vogue. The dissenters are everywhere, always tearing down, never building up; always knocking, always downgrading, looking for the easy way.
Well, Mr. Cope says they aren't taking it easy at Texas A&M. They still are under the impression that self-discipline, physical fitness, religious faith and hard work are important equipment in life. They believe in sweating it out instead of sitting it out.
Let us be thankful for an environment that recognizes a square deal for honest men who look other men squarely in the eye. To be awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor, a man must commit uncommon acts of valor above and beyond the call of duty. Where do we get such men? Mr. Cope states that during World War II, six were squares from Texas A&M.
Mr. Cope really told it like it is on the Texas A&M campus today. He said, "The civilians are a new breed of Aggie, and the cold truth is that one encounters no difficulty finding a great many students who say of Aggie jokes, 'I love 'em.' " Mr. Cope is right. These are students, not Aggies. Mr. Cope asks, "What would Texas be without true Aggies?" I do not offer an answer to this question.
You can't imagine how much this means to me as a senior in the corps of cadets. Everyday I become more aware of the traditions being destroyed and the changes taking place on the Texas A&M campus.
DANNY G. SEALE
College Station, Texas
We would like to thank William Johnson and SI for the article A Golden Age Comes to Athens (Nov. 25). We fondly call our university Harvard-on-the-Hocking, but we are in no way trying to emulate that Cambridge, Mass. school or any other. Ohio University has a tradition and an atmosphere all its own—definitely 1968, not 1804, as was implied in the article.
Thank you for your fine article on Ohio University's educational setup and football team. However, besides dating events from OU's 1965 0-and-10 season (my freshman year) we also date events from our annual spring floods and April or May releases of pent-up student emotions in the form of mass meetings and large gatherings on street corners, termed "riots" by the press. We have also dubbed ourselves the Berkeley-of-the-Backwoods. These are points of information, not criticism.
In Kentucky, we have always considered Transylvania College in Lexington as the oldest institution of higher education west of the Alleghenies. Transylvania was founded in 1780 and was attended by Jefferson Davis, among other well-known men.
WILLIAM D. PRATT, M.D.
WESTERN ILLINOIS STYLE
While reading Alfred Wright's otherwise excellent article on the California Bears (Beards Are Cooled but the Bears Are Hot, Nov. 4), I was dismayed by his final reference to Western Illinois State Normal, along with Eureka, as a place where Governor Ronald Reagan might have been "molded in the great intellectual traditions of statehouse politics." Please be informed that our name is now Western Illinois University (we dropped the normal school label in 1921) and also that Governor Reagan was never enrolled in our institution. Eureka College was a better guess!
Finally, in terms of intellectual tradition, we at Western have absolutely no objection at all to emulating the University of California at Berkeley.
JOHN T. BERNHARD
Western Illinois University
The hope around Franklin Field in Philadelphia is that the Eagles will lose their remaining games so they will have first pick for O.J. At least twice a game the action is stopped because the "Joe's gotta go" shouts are too loud. One section will start, then all the fans will be shouting in unison. It is quite amusing.
Everyone is praying for O.J., but Old Joe Kuharich might let us down. He has a knack for doing foolish things. If the Eagles do have the first draft choice there is a good chance that Joe will pick Joe Flubb over O.J. Joe just does things like that.
There is a Ban Joe Club in Philadelphia. If you send $2 to the club you get a Joe Must Go button, an aerial pennant or bumper sticker, JMG megaphone, JMG poster, JMG matches and the official Don't Cry, Joe, Just Go, Just Go song. If Jerry Wolman owned that club, his financial difficulties would be solved.
Here is a very simple way to determine which NBA team will get to draft Lew Alcindor. While the top four teams in each division are doing battle for the NBA championship, the rest of the league could compete in the CELLAR (Crummy Elimination for Legal Lew Alcindor Rights). The tournament would work like this:
The fifth-and sixth-place teams in each division would play a three-out-of-five game series, with the losers earning the right to meet the seventh-place teams in another three-of-five game series. Each of these losers would then meet in a best-of-seven (or worst-of-seven) series. The loser of this would gain the rights to Lew Alcindor.
The answer to those skeptics who might claim that every game would end in a scoreless tie is also very simple. All that need be done is to have each team shoot at its opponent's basket. But since this might give Alcindor to the best team, I suggest that after each quarter the baskets be switched. This should be done completely arbitrarily, so that none of the players, the coaches, the referees or the fans would know which basket belonged to whom. Before each game Walter Kennedy would choose the quarters in which the west basket would belong to the home team (unless the court ran from north to south). The written selections would then be placed in the left hip pocket of one referee. Barring a successful pickpocket attempt, imagine the excitement of the fans as they await the decision at the end of the game.
But imagine their disappointment when Lew Alcindor signs with the ABA.
I read with great interest the post-Olympic article by Dr. Roger Bannister (A Debt Was Paid Off in Tears, Nov. 11) and feel compelled to express my own views. I agree with Dr. Bannister in that sea-level distance runners were at a tremendous disadvantage. Whatever altitude training these world-class distance runners may have had prior to the Games, they really had very little chance of beating those good-to-very-good runners who have lived their entire lives at altitude. I believe that in all fairness the IOC should have considered the apparent inequities and should have sought to make reasonable adjustments.
One alternative would have been to hold those track and field events that are not adversely affected by altitude at Mexico City and those that are (the distance races) at a sea-level location, such as Acapulco.
On another point, I have to disagree emphatically with Dr. Bannister and agree wholeheartedly with those who profess that "the Olympic Games belong to the whole world." It is the world that is larger than the Games and not the Games that are larger than the world, and it is we who are narrow-minded if we tell one of the great cities of the world that it need not submit a bid to host the Games because it is 7,349 feet above sea level.
I, like Dr. Bannister, am a former miler, and I was also in Mexico City for the Games. I saw, heard and felt the pride of the Mexican people in having had the opportunity to host the Olympic Games, and to me this is as much a part of the Games as competing in them. Some may want to deprive such peoples of this great opportunity. I do not.
My heart weeps for the distance runners and cheers for the Mexicans.
How could anyone but Bill Russell be named Sportsman of the Year? He revolutionized the game, led the Celtics to nine world championships, and this year, after they had been counted out, he led the Celtics back from a three-games-to-one deficit to a tenth world championship. Can one man achieve more in the world of sports?
Joe Kuharich is my nomination for Sportsman of the Year. Although his ability as a coach is questioned by some, he has the perseverance of a true sportsman.
I nominate Stan Mikita for Sportsman of the Year. For the last two years Stan has won the National Hockey League's Lady Byng Trophy for most sportsmanlike conduct. Also for the last two years he has been the most valuable player (Hart Trophy) and the leading scorer (Art Ross Trophy).
I feel that you should very seriously consider the nation's premier male swimmer—Charlie Hickcox—for Sportsman of the Year. He set three American records at the NCAA championships last March at Dartmouth, he beat Mark Spitz in the AAUs in April and he won three golds and one silver medal a few weeks ago in Mexico City. In Long Beach, Calif. last summer, Charlie set world records in the 200-and 400-meter individual medleys. How about giving a little consideration to one of the greatest swimmers of all time?
JAMES E. POOLE II
For the past few weeks you have devoted considerable space in the 19TH HOLE to nominations for Sportsman of the Year. Your contributors have mentioned many noteworthy people; among them were many medal winners from the Summer Olympics. My nomination is still for Winter Olympian Jean-Claude Killy.
After she won two consecutive World Cup championships in skiing and two Olympic medals (including one gold), while at the same time finding time to promote amateur skiing in Canada, it is fairly evident that Nancy Greene deserves the honor.
JOHN A. McDONALD
I nominate George Blanda for Sportsman of the Year. At age 40 he led the American Football League in scoring with 116 points and had a 39.5 completion percentage as Daryle Lamonica's backup man.
I wish to nominate Heidi for Sportswoman of the Year. I do this because NBC seemed to think that Heidi was more important than the final 58 seconds of the Jets-Raiders game. In that period of time Heidi helped all viewers east of the Mississippi River to miss the Raiders' two decisive touchdowns. Heidi should win by a mile, or at least by 58 "second hand" votes.
SCOTT C. ROSS