We at Notre Dame have a formula too. It reads: P+L+s+t(5,012)+T. P stands for Pietrosante, L for Lynch, s for spirit, t for the 5,012 "12th" men of the student body and T stands for Terry.
Notre Dame, Ind.
a+$+x+f+b=(ND) 7/(OU) 0.
W. J. ULLRICH
Notre Dame, Ind.
CHARLES B. FISCHER JR.
Notre Dame, Ind.
Notre Dame, Ind.
I guess you learn the hard way.
I almost died laughing.
DONALD B. CARR
All I can say is, "Nice timing."
THOMAS M. FLOOD
Niagara Falls, N.Y.
Tell me—why is Oklahoma unbeatable?
But cheer up! Notre Dame came back, and so can you.
Notre Dame, Ind.
Dem's de breaks!
New York City
Boy, I bet your face was red.
J. R. DEWSON
Prairie View, Ill.
•It was indeed with those of many others, as readers with a taste for acrostics already know (see SI, Nov. 25, page 18).—ED.
OKLAHOMA: THE BALANCE OF LIFE
The following represents my personal reaction, not necessarily that of the University of Oklahoma, to the article by Tex Maule in your November 18 issue on "unbeatable Oklahoma."
The success of the Oklahoma football team is based primarily on a more essential educational value...superlative teaching by the coaches and a positive student attitude on the part of the players due to a burning desire to learn and excel.
However, your gratuitous asides on the character of the university and its cultural setting are of much greater concern than your relatively slight distortion of one aspect of our athletic program....
Your description of the university ("a melange of red brick buildings sprawled untidily across the flat clay country...the most impressive structure...the big horseshoe of a football stadium...") is an undeserved and unfortunate disparagement of a fine institution. There are a good many well-planned and impressive educational buildings on our pleasingly landscaped campus, although as is usual, by its very nature, the stadium is necessarily the largest. Typical of the priorities in our present building program is a $2,750,000 addition to our present library, which already houses a better collection than that of many comparable institutions. Incidentally, this means that the value of our library alone will be more than double the value of our stadium, a better indication of our sense of proportion than the athletic overemphasis implied in your article.
Our academic excellences are many, including one of the finest university presses in the country, which produces, among other outstanding works, the indispensable and unique academic bibliographical periodical Books Abroad, a compendium of scholarly publications the world over in all languages. There are very few university presses which can boast of having produced, within one 12-month period, works of which the following are typical: the first publication and translation of The New Beethoven Letters; a two-volume biography of Paganini; The Brahms-Billroth Correspondence; Ten Talents in the American Theater; Thomas Wolfe's Characters; Mineral Nutrition and the Balance of Life; Modern Art and the New Past. In the process of preparation are definitive works which will be standard references in the fields of archaeology and the classics. Every school youngster studying Greek will use Autenrieth's Homeric Dictionary.
Our scientific and library collections are of note, especially the outstanding DeGolyer library in the history of science. The university has a good representation of outstanding teachers and departments in various areas but I obviously cannot detail them here. Let it be sufficient to say that we are not a university attached to a football team.
CLIFFORD J. CRAVEN
Dean of Students
•The editors raise their voices in a muted Boomer Sooner for OU's library.—ED.
H.S. FOOTBALL: FOR FUN, IF NEED BE
Your many diversified articles have always interested me considerably, but when I read Don Parker's article, Football in the Backyard (Nov. 11), I almost suffered a coronary (at 23).
"At Hempstead," says Parker, "everyone has fun, even the coach, Bob Schussler, who at $800 a season can't afford to get too upset."
Last year was my husband's third year as football coach in a "Double A" high school here. He received $300 per season for coaching football in addition to his teaching salary of approximately $4,000.
As an interested observer, I was always amused to see the throng of well-wishers surrounding him after a victory—after a loss, he generally left the field alone.
The sweet gentleman who said the dollar sign causes the pressure is a dreamer. The $300 my husband received for his long hours on the practice field didn't cause any pressure. The pressure is caused by the adult fans who can't recognize a team that is well coached and has played to the best of its ability. I stress the latter part of this statement. The final score is all they understand, and if it doesn't register a victory, naturally, it's the coach's fault.
Mr. Vorhies of Hempstead, who apparently doesn't care if his school wins or loses just so "everyone has fun," is literally out of this world. If Bob Schussler ever is so foolish as to resign from this earthly paradise (at a measly $800 per season), I wish to submit, most enthusiastically, my husband's application. This only has one drawback that I can determine: My husband wants his team to play to win, and when they don't play to win he's a mighty disappointed fellow.
However, other things have drawbacks, too. At present he's struggling along, trying to convince himself he enjoys being a salesman, and I hesitate mentioning the word "football" because I know he'd love to be coaching again—maybe even for fun.
MRS. GEORGE NEEDLAND
I was very much interested in your article Football in the Backyard. I was particularly attracted to the section on Abilene's Chuck Moser. Apparently Mr. Moser is doing a fine job in bringing the city of Abilene the kind of football it wants—and at a salary of a "flat $10,000." As an ex-teacher I have a question for the good citizens of Abilene—would they pay such a price for a "topnotch, competent and well-trained" science or mathematics teacher? I wonder? No wonder we have no Sputniks. There are lots of Abilenes all over the U.S.
MRS. DENTON ASHWAY
As for the type of football program in high school that I personally believe in, it would be neither the backyard type nor would it be the Abilene type. I would like to see high school football supported by the community and the student body.
BASKETBALL: INCIDENTAL RESEMBLANCE
The more I thought about your basketball article (This Vintage Year, SI, Nov. 4), the more certain I was I had read my arguments some place else. Sure enough, in the preceding issue of SPORTS ILLUSTRATED you had used them to blast the National Hockey League. It seems strange Maurice Podoloff of the NBA should be congratulated for the same thing—doing everything possible to emphasize scoring.
Yes, clever stick handling has gone—and ball handling and defense in basketball have gone the same place. The record of the NBA seems to back up my thinking that people are fed up watching a bunch of guys loping up and down a basketball court and stuffing the ball through a hoop....
The reasons for this? The professionals play only half the game—they aren't allowed by rules to display what ball handling or defensive ability they may have. Aside from Bob Cousy pro basketball could be played by 10-year-olds on stilts, and it would be just as entertaining—and graceful.
Along with the basic fault of constant rule changes, the same things you say have ruined hockey have ruined professional basketball—a season extending from October to April; a season which is played to eliminate only two out of eight teams; and a season so long as to burn out players and lower the quality of play.
JOHN H. ORR
•Mr. Orr's main argument hardly stands up; the NBA says total attendances have gone steadily up, 10% a year for four consecutive years. It is a common misconception that basketball players forget about defense when they turn pro. Any NBA rookie will testify that the toughest thing about playing with the pros is learning how to play defense at the new high level. Few learn it in college. The high scores are a tribute to the amazing accuracy developed by pro players. There is almost as much difference between college and pro basketball as between college and major league baseball.
SPORTS ILLUSTRATED certainly applauds Mr. Orr's general attitude: that of skepticism toward any trend which cheapens a sport by adopting superficial, crowd-pleasing methods. There is currently an increase in brawling on the court, and pro basketball must beware of encouraging those aspects of the game which demean it.—ED.