LET'S THINK A WHILE
Your report on the Winter Games was excellent, wonderful reading in all three issues. Now is the time to face the questions raised by the results. Why, with a country full of sports-loving people, did we do so badly? Granted, Russian athletes enjoy a measure of official support which ours do not, but such support does not create greatness, it merely encourages it. What Russia apparently does have is an intense devotion to an ideal for its own sake. I may be wrong, but it seemed to this observer that the Russians were striving for perfection for its own sake, although their sports commissars may be motivated by very different ideals. Immediately after the last war I spent much time with Russian troops stationed in the Kassel, Germany, area as a liaison officer. I had many political-sociological discussions with some of their people. We got no place, of course, but again I was struck by their intense dedication to an ideal (the state over the individual) from which they themselves had derived almost no personal benefit at all.
I sometimes think that we Americans have lost that capacity for devotion to a cause for its own sake. We want to be good athletes, businessmen, husbands, craftsmen, etc., but we want to get there using every short cut and easy way that science and our elastic principles can devise. Away with calisthenics, apprenticeships, drudgery, perseverance and courtesy and on to the goal. I have the feeling that in the Winter Games we sent boys to do a man's job. Let's think about this for a while.
R. B. F. HOLDSWORTH
WARM HEARTS AT THE WINTER GAMES
I think that the Olympics do as much good for spectators as for contestants.
When the Finns applauded a Russian for an outstanding performance—that is my idea of furthering the cause for world peace.
I'd say let's warm our hearts more often through events like the Olympics.
READER, SPECTATOR AND PARTICIPANT
All I want to tell you is that SI is certainly a wonderful publication.
I am interested in sports of all kinds, even though I was never a champion. I enjoy sports, like to read about them, like to watch them, and like to participate.
SI is really tops. I hear many favorable comments. The report on the Winter Olympics in Italy was wonderful, as were many other things.
F. PEAVEY HEFFELFINGER
HE WHO WOULD VALIANT BE
Last Sunday I took SI into the pulpit at our family service. The fathers and their boys identified the athletes who are now plugging for Christianity (SI, Feb. 6), and then I read your quotations from Erskine, Towler, Burk, Kell and Roberts. It made a good sermonette, relevant and significant, with just a touch of humor. The Bible passage was I Corinthians 9:15-18, 24-27, and the hymn was He Who Would Valiant Be.
RANDOLPH CRUMP MILLER
Professor of Christian Education
New Haven, Conn.
•St. Paul wrote to the Corinthian congregation: "Do you not know that in a race all the runners compete, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to obtain a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. Well, I do not run aimlessly, I do not box as one beating the air; but I pommel my body and subdue it, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified." (I Corinthians 9:24-27.)—ED.
It is a real experience to be associated with these outstanding athletes who have similar convictions.
I'm heading south Feb. 18, so it won't be long until opening day.
•To Carl Erskine of the Brooklyn Dodgers our best wishes for a successful opening and all subsequent days.—ED.
I am deeply impressed by the Christian experience of Carl Erskine and his contemporaries, summed up by Adrian Burk's phrase: "I don't pray to win." Admitting of a limitation as it is written, I personally would not have looked to their kind for such forthright and sincere declarations of faith and trust in God. The effect of such testimony on the youth in Denver must have been tremendous, and how fortunate that there now exists a medium with the power and will to publicize it so widely.
T. K. ALMROTH
Van Nuys, Calif.
MORE POWER TO HIM
Congratulations on your superb article on the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. It was most inspiring.
All of us are concerned with the fact that more than 60% of our youth receive no formal religious training. And it's wonderfully thrilling that the FCA have committed themselves to give generously of their time and talents in sharing their Christian convictions before young people in general and athletes in particular.
It is deeply gratifying to find so many high-minded athletes concerned with the problem. Probably nobody can do a better job of steering our youth to the church of their choice. More power to Robin Roberts, Dan Towler, Carl Erskine, George Kell, Adrian Burk and all their colleagues. And more power to you for telling the story!
G. HERBERT MCCRACKEN
Member Advisory Board FCA
Member Youth Committee of International YMCA
Director Little League Baseball, Inc.
TO BUILD BETTER CITIZENS
HARNESS HERO WORSHIPERS TERRIFIC PROJECT AND YOUR REPORTING AND HANDLING GIVES IT REAL WALLOP. ORDER OF DEMOLAY (BUILDING BETTER CITIZENS OUT OF BOYS 14 TO 21) CAN SPONSOR APPEARANCES OF FELLOWSHIP OF CHRISTIAN ATHLETES SPEAKERS IN KANSAS CITY AND MANY OTHER URBAN CENTERS. DEMOLAY FOUNDER FRANK LAND CONGRATULATES SI FOR PROVING ITS SIZE IN GOING AFTER AND PLAYING UP THE HARNESSING OF THE HERO WORSHIPERS.
Hero Worship Harnessed was well done, and shows all of us how practical Christianity is in sports, as well as in life. Where can I reach Don McClanen of the FCA?
REV. GEORGE S. HEWITT
Union Methodist Church
•Headquarters of the FCA are in the First National Bank building of Norman, Okla. McClanen's athletes are preparing for engagements in Indianapolis, Lincoln, Neb. and Lawrence, Kans. Plans are under way for a summer conference combining athletic clinics with spiritual fellowship in order "to make more real and vital in the individual life of the athlete the challenge of following Christ."—ED.
Your new cartoon character, Mr. Caper (see page 59), is a happy invention. Comic strips that achieve an adult level are all too rare; usually the reader is drawn down too. Congratulations to SI and to Ajay, and may Caper never go kaput!
I think Ajay's cartoon Mr. Caper is refreshingly subtle and a most welcome addition to the magazine.
FRESH AND FUNNY
Congratulations on your wonderful cartoon strip by Ajay! I've admired the small things he's done for you for so long and think the strip just great. He has such a fresh approach and is so genuinely funny.
Santa Ana, Calif.
•Ajay, Si's EVENTS & DISCOVERIES illustrator, asked for more elbow room, and Mr. Caper was the result.—ED.
ONE OF THE WORLD'S GREATS
I would like to pay tribute to SI for the splendid article on soccer, covering both the fine paintings on the sport and England's Old Man Stanley (SI, Feb. 6).
To me Stanley Matthews is one of the world's outstanding sportsmen, and gentlemen, too. At no time during his long career has he ever been known to take unfair advantage of an opponent. He has played the game in almost every country in the world where soccer is played and only an injury he received in Toronto during the English team's tour of that country kept him out of the team which played the United States team at Randall's Island in 1950. This was a keen disappointment to the thousands of soccer fans in this country who had traveled many miles to see him play.
JAMES A. WALDER
Chairman, Olympic Selection Comm.
Natl. Soccer Coaches Assn.
ALL-AMERICA SOCCER TEAM
About a month ago the 1955 collegiate All-America soccer team was announced, but nowhere in your magazine could I find mention of this fact. You have done a good job on soccer coverage up to now, but I do think you slipped up when you overlooked this important event.
In James Murray's very stimulating article on croquet, he writes that the sport was originated some time around 1925 by a few wealthy estate owners in the East (among them Ogden Phipps, Mrs. Margaret Emerson, Averell Harriman and Herbert Bayard Swope Jr.). This is an interesting observation, but an inaccurate one. I am not and never have been a "wealthy estate owner," and in 1925 I was nine years old. My croquet playing at that age was just beginning, and it could hardly have been called one of the more classic styles of the period.
Mr. Murray must refer to my father who was certainly one of the originators of the game and started playing it on the lawn of our house in Great Neck, L.I. (rented, not owned). In 1929 he moved to Sands Point (owned, not rented) and plays there now, on a very sporting and quite difficult course.
HERBERT BAYARD SWOPE, JR.
Beverly Hills, Calif.
•Of course it was father Swope who pioneered the game on Long Island. SI invites H. B. Swope Jr. to turn to page 62 for a variety of reader opinions (including that of an irate golfer) on croquet and croqueteers.—ED.
THE END OF HOBEY BAKER
I was captivated by your YESTERDAY, Everybody's Hero on Skates (SI, Jan. 16), written around the immortal Hobey Baker.
Thought you might like to know that Hobey's memory lingers on, other than at St. Paul's School and Princeton (19TH HOLE, Jan. 2), where they compete on ice each year for the honor of winning his old hockey stick.
It was my pleasure to have been associated with Captain Hobey Baker as a member of the 141st Aero Squadron (Pursuit), which he commanded in 1918. The 154 enlisted men and 22 officers of this squadron adored him as a man and Army pilot.
I was present on that sad day, the 21st of December, 1918, when he was killed at the little airfield outside Toul, France, and was one of the first to reach the crash scene, and I removed his helmet before he was placed in an ambulance.
Since 1932 I have acted as secretary of the 141st Aero Squadron Association and we hold annual reunions.
Over Labor Day, 1941 our reunion was held in Philadelphia, at which time we all journeyed to the cemetery in West Philadelphia where Hobey Baker is buried and conducted a memorial service at the grave. One member of his crew, Clarence D. Mickelson, was present at that time.
Of the 154 enlisted men and 22 officers who were members of the 141st, I still correspond with 137 of them, and in practically every one of their homes you will find a picture of Hobey Baker. It is not infrequent that old eyes will still become dimmed and moist when his name is mentioned in conversation.
There is no question but that he was loved as very few officers are by a group of fellow officers and men.
We have completely lost track of the members of his family. Do you know of any?
ARTHUR D. DODDS
Las Cruces, N. Mex.
•Another SI reader, Thomas H. Noone Sr., who also knew Baker as a flyer, took this picture (see cut) of Baker's plane after the crash that killed him. Hobey's brother died a few years ago leaving four sons and a daughter: A. T. Baker III, an associate editor of TIME; Hobart Amory Hare Baker of Old Lyme, Conn.; Henry Baker, a reporter on the Hartford Courant; Laurance Baker of Doylestown, Pa.; and Mrs. Clement Jacomini of Los Angeles. Hobey was named after the uncle who brought him into the world: Dr. Hobart Amory Hare, a famous physician of his day who was president of the board of Philadelphia's Jefferson Hospital.—ED.
Who cares about croquet?...Since when is it a sport? A couple of weeks ago it was bird watching. I'm almost afraid to buy the next issue.
•Who cares? Why, nobody but people—see below.—ED.
NEW CONVERTS TO AN OLD SPORT
I am very interested in the Wicket Men of Hollywood (SI, Jan. 30). Can you advise me where I can get the necessary information on the layout of this type of croquet course as well as to where I can buy this English equipment?
JOE C. MITCHELL
Your story on croquet was a howling success here in our home. Please publish the rules by which these people play.
ROBERT W. LUEBKE
Green Bay, Wis.
...Can you send me or tell me where to find the rules for this modified game of croquet and a description of the apparently different equipment which is used?
COLONEL R. E. CUSHMAN JR., USMC
...Will you please advise me where the English croquet sets may be purchased?
W. R. WINN
I would very much appreciate your furnishing me the manufacturers' names of the croquet or wicket equipment, whether domestic or foreign.
Sheboygan Falls, Wis.
•The Messrs. Mitchell, Luebke, Winn, Kalk, Colonel Cushman and other new converts to the old sport of croquet who have written SI for information will hear from us by letter.—ED.
Your excellent piece on the Wicket Men of Hollywood needs some historical buttressing. Mr. Darryl Zanuck is wrong in believing that the "scientific," brutally competitive game of croquet as they play it originated on Long Island in the '20s. And the roll call of experts omits one who was in all probability the greatest player of this country—the noted novelist Kathleen Norris.
Mrs. Norris and her late husband Charles G. Norris were playing this modern croquet at their ranch at Saratoga, California (50 miles south of San Francisco) as early as 1919. They taught me the game in 1921, so I know whereof I speak. They had already developed, on a huge lawn, a game that in deadly accuracy, range and intricate strategy seemed to combine elements from billiards, polo and chess. The Norrises changed the entire spirit of croquet, much the way another Californian, Maurice McLoughlin, had changed tennis. They pioneered in countless refinements, including night tournaments under floodlights. Ceegee Norris was a superb player and so later was their son Dr. Frank Norris. But the master of all was Kathleen. She had every technical skill, a depth of strategic resource that champion chess players would envy, and steel nerves in the clutch.
After many years of play Mrs. Norris has finally retired, but during her long reign she could have given the boys from Hollywood some moments of wide-eyed and perspiring amazement.
A SWING AT SWOPE
Herbert Bayard Swope Jr. in talking about croquet certainly must be both ignorant and blind to state "in golf you don't need intellect at all, just a swing." Anyone who is a fair golfer at all will admit that concentration and the ability to think is one of the greatest assets in shooting good golf. Hogan, who is well qualified to talk on golf, a little more than Swope anyhow, says "90% of golf is between the ears."
"I understand just about everybody owns a piece of him."
HOBEY BAKER'S PLANE