MEASURE OF A MAN
Dan Jenkins has done it again! Thanks for the Memories (Sept. 1) is one of the best tributes to an outstanding athlete I have ever read. Not having had the opportunity of seeing Arnold Palmer in person, I nevertheless have been a fan of his. Dan Jenkins has brought him closer to all of us.
CLEMENT M. BOUIE
Dan Jenkins' tribute to Arnold Palmer is a sensitive, concise, poignant and yet thoroughly complete expression of the real essence of the man. I have often asked myself what it is that makes Arnold Palmer stand a notch above the other champions of golf—both past and present. Dan Jenkins has defined that something for me.
A defeated Arnold Palmer cannot be replaced as the King of Golf because his reign was never based simply on his victories. The championships he won made him king only because they brought attention to his approach to the game—that "unmixed joy of trying," which Jenkins describes so well. Palmer does not attempt to hide his moments of ecstasy or disappointment, but neither does he become preoccupied with them. His total commitment to winning is coupled with a total acceptance of the outcome, and in the final analysis it is this attitude that makes Arnold Palmer "something immeasurable in champions."
H. C. GOODPASTURE, M.D.
Overland Park, Kans.
ON THE LINE (CONT.)
John Underwood's series, The Desperate Coach (Aug. 25 et seq.), is both thought-provoking and timely. A variety of reasons come to mind that might help to explain the increasing difficulties of college football coaches. Football is a game, and one of the primary reasons for the existence of games in society is that they provide a release for the pressures and tensions of everyday life. In the case of college football much of the discontent being voiced by the players is caused by the imposition of society's problems on young males at increasingly younger ages. For many there is little intrinsic delight in living in a situation in which they feel that everything they see as wrong in their world is being duplicated in their games. In such a situation much of the element of enjoyment goes out of games.
September 14, 1969
Combined with this increased awareness are the grandiose claims that have been made over the years by coaches who suggest that football is the greatest thing since organized religion for the betterment of mankind.
Undoubtedly, we are in a period of reaction against the manner in which a specific game is handled. Many ridiculous demands and claims are being made against a group of men (the coaches) who have in the past made some pretty ridiculous demands on their athletes. So far there has been very little direct criticism of the game itself.
One hopes that the seeming impasse between coaches and players will be resolved in a fair and reasonable way. The players will have to come to an understanding that if they want to participate in a team sport they will have to accept a certain amount of discipline. And the coaches will have to become more aware of the personalities of their players and to realize that, in a world where priorities are being challenged, a change in their own position on the scale does not necessarily mean a loss of dignity.
Ironically, it is as a game that football stands its best chance of survival. It is only as an impersonal big business and as a rather cynical moral training ground that it is in danger.
MICHAEL J. WENZL
Baywood Park, Calif.
I think that your articles on the desperate coach touch on some very valid problems that face college athletics today. What John Underwood and the various coaches interviewed fail to see is that there is a revolution going on on college campuses that has nothing to do with the SDS or the BSU—it is a revolution of the mind—and it is not necessarily bad.
KEITH J. JOHNSTONE
Congratulations on your first two articles in the series on coaches. You have demonstrated convincingly that the coaches are absolutely out of touch with what's going on in the world and on the campus. They have become the vestigial appendages of U.S. higher education. But how clever to assign John Underwood, who appears even more out of touch than the coaches, to write the story.
New York City
Your reporting of the Andros-Milton affair was noteworthy for a number of reasons. In my mind the most prominent of these was the presentation of Andros' statement of the principles around which he organizes and conducts his life and work.
Though Coach Andros apparently does not feel that he directs his football team in a very democratic way, I respectfully beg to differ with him. From what I read, it does seem that Oregon State football is oriented toward explicitly stated rules and goals. Within this framework there are apparently open channels for communication and the redress of grievances. By joining such a team/society (take your pick), a person agrees to accept at least the foundation on which this structure rests. Change in The system is promoted by constructive means and majority vote. Those who break the rules must bear the responsibility for their actions. Each member of the team is expected to "do his own thing," be it block, pass, teach or whatever, to the very best of his ability. The individual does this, not for self-aggrandizement, but for the attainment of mutually agreed upon goals. If a person cannot function within this matrix, then he is free to leave. Forgive my simplifying things, but the foregoing sounds very much like a democracy to me.
MARTIN R. ADAMS
Kent State University
John Underwood does a terrible disservice to the trackmen of Providence College, to the college itself and, most importantly, to its progressive and distinguished president, Father William Haas.
Coach Hanlon's cross-country teams have been strong, it is true. However, no small part of that success is due to the outstanding financial and moral support that the coach has received from Father Haas. Providence has always been able to attract outstanding runners, most of whom did not develop under Coach Hanlon. The one restriction Father Haas has placed on his coach is that the recruited trackmen be bona fide college students—and, unfortunately, there has been the rub. The coach has been unable to adjust to the outstanding athlete who is also an outstanding student with a real interest in his education.
To say that the hassle over the TV set was inspired by the coach's concern for the studies of the athletes involved is to misstate the case. The four athletes involved, had, at the time of the incident, a combined academic average above B. The coach's pique was really based on the athletes' refusal to confine their thinking and interests exclusively to track when not engaged in study.
Providence College track under Coach Hanlon was not, as implied by Mr. Underwood's article, an example of modern athletes quitting under pressure, unwilling to pay the price. Rather, it was a procession of runners, usually seniors, being fired from the team shortly after the cross-country season ended. Whatever their sins, they were not grievous enough to warrant expulsion until after they had provided Coach Hanlon with his personally coveted cross-country championships. The indoor and outdoor seasons offered only individual prizes and personal satisfactions to trackmen. These were the only rewards sought by the runners for years of practice and self-denial, but they did not appeal very strongly to the coach. This was but one of the ingredients in a long-simmering problem with Providence College track.
H. A. CROOKE
East Northport, N.Y.
I cannot begin to describe my feelings toward Ray Hanlon as I ran his famous "guts" practices through the Providence snows. However, I can describe the feeling of anchoring a winning relay in the Boston Athletic Association meet. Grudgingly, I must admit that Coach Hanlon's practices were probably better preparation for the marathon of medical internship.
Now, as then, I question the man's methods. Now, as then, I respect his standards and achievements.
HARRY W. SMITH, M.D.
A FEW KIND WORDS
We at Las Colinas Country Club who became acquainted with many great golfers during the Women's Amateur Championship were disappointed in your rather slanted story concerning Catherine Lacoste and her outstanding championship effort (A Super Keen-o Show by La Grande Catherine, Aug. 25). Miss Lacoste came to this country alone, without a traveling companion, and displayed not only the greatest accomplishment ever seen in the Women's Amateur (one over par in eight rounds on a very difficult course) but a truly charming and ladylike personality throughout the tournament.
Miss Shelley Hamlin, who is certainly an all-American girl, was naturally the crowd favorite since it was the U.S. against France, but it was not because of any action or words by Miss Lacoste.
We who were fortunate enough to be involved in the tournament have nothing but admiration for a great champion and lady, Miss Lacoste, an admiration, I might add, that is shared by Miss Hamlin.
TRENT C. ROOT JR.
Las Colinas Country Club
Your story on O. J. Simpson was priceless (The First Taste of O.J. Is OK, Aug. 25). It was only fitting that O.J. was given the cover article. After all, he gained 19 big yards in a crucial game, which certainly made him worthy of such praise. This was indeed an important game, one which pitted two top contenders against one another.
I suppose that O.J. had to make headlines, especially since the other games which were played that weekend had such little importance. Among these were the Cleveland-Los Angeles game (I'm sure that neither of these two will be contenders for the NFL title) and the San Francisco-Dallas game, in which Cowboy rookie Calvin Hill gained a mere 106 yards and Steve Spurrier made another feeble effort to have the 49ers find a permanent place on their bench for million-dollar quarterback John Brodie.
On behalf of your readers I would like to thank Edwin Shrake for covering a truly thrilling game. I only wish I could have seen it instead of sitting in Yale Bowl with 71,000 others and watching Joe Namath hit on 14 of 16 passes in a game which marked the first meeting of the New York Giants and "that other" team from New York.
We marveled at how SI can judge O.J. on four carries and, oh yes, one pass reception. SI seems to ignore the fact that Detroit won the game or that the Lions' dark horse rookie, Altie Taylor, gained more than 100 yards.
After the articles in SI on O.J., an uninformed reader would believe he is already the best runner in pro football. If he's this fantastic in one exhibition game, just think how great he'll be once the season starts.
Bloomfield Hills, Mich.
Most people, including Edwin Shrake, seem to feel O.J. is different. Mr. Shrake points out that after a few days of professional football, O.J. was sore and ached all over. What's so special about that? O.J. is like everybody else and he'll take his lumps with everybody else.
Spring Valley, N.Y.
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