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19TH HOLE: The Readers Take Over


While the editors of SPORTS ILLUSTRATED obviously thought deeply concerning the NCAA's advice against letting the pro football Steelers play in the University of Pittsburgh's amateur stadium (Focus, March 3), it occurs to me after deep meditation that you missed the heart of the matter.

Reflect: Dr. Gardner, President of the NCAA, is also Professor of Christian Thought at Drake University. Were the Steelers to play in Pitt Stadium they would meet the Detroit Lions in the course of the season. It is not inconceivable fit happens every season) that during such a game some of Dr. Gardner's young Christians, overcome with enthusiasm for the home team, might charge onto the field to obstruct a Lion drive. And there you have it: Christians pitted against lions in an arena, just as they were 1,500 years ago. Obviously a Professor of Christian Thought could not permit such atavism, or even the mere possibility of it.

Ain't it silly?
Needham, Mass.

I am in full agreement with your conclusions that the NCAA's unsolicited advice to the University of Pittsburgh respecting rental of Pitt Stadium to the pro football Steelers is way off base.

Dr. Gaylord Harnwell of Penn clearly indicated in a statement that it was none of the NCAA's business how a university leases its physical property and equipment. It is simply amazing how stubborn-minded the NCAA and its high command has become.

Yes, Sparse—there is a dog psychologist (19TH HOLE, March 3)!

Perhaps the Freud of them all is Dr. Konrad Lorenz, also a Viennese, author of King Solomon's Ring and Man Meets Dog, Vice-director of the Institute for Comparative Ethology in Germany and erstwhile lecturer at Cornell University and Harvard Medical School.

In fact, if you own a dog, you are by way of being a dog psychologist yourself. What else are you when you say to Bozo, "Give me back my steak and I'll give you this nice biscuit"?

Never forget that dogs are good psychologists themselves, and what's sauce for the owner is gravy for the dog.

For instance. One morning last summer my neighbor and I left the dishes in the sink because we were so charmed with watching my young Doberman trying to hide a bone in the flower bed. She dug one hole after another, each time deposited the bone, covered it neatly, then looked up and saw us.

Finally, she seemed to be in deep thought. Then she removed a large divot from the middle of the lawn, set it aside, dug a bone-sized hole, deposited same, covered as before and replaced the divot, tamping it down firmly with her front paws so that no marks were visible. Then she looked at us as if to say, "There! Just try to find that one!"

By the way, is a dog psychologist a person that analyzes dogs or a dog that...?

•With all due respect to Konrad Lorenz, M.D., Ph.D., Vice-director of the Institute for Comparative Ethology of the Max Planck Society, Honorary Professor of the University of M√ºnster, recipient of the Gold Medal of the New York Zoological Society, we believe that it is James Thurber who has achieved the deepest insight into the minds and manners of the dog. Not that the man who denned a dog lover as "one dog in love with another dog" would readily hold still for the title of dog psychologist. Nevertheless, students of Thurber's Dogs will recall innumerable instances of the author's analytical skill. Take, for instance, Thurber's drawing of a small man staggering into a doctor's office under the weight of a large, somnolent hound cradled in his arms. "Here's a study for you, Doctor," he announces to the startled physician with bashful pride, "he faints." With one stroke of his wavering pen Thurber has delineated the relationship of master to animal: bemused, baffled affection on the part of one, an everlasting preoccupation with a sort of infantile one-upmanship on the other. Thurber's hound, Sparse Grey Hackle's beagle and Mrs. Linck's Doberman are all highly individual parts of the generic whole that makes up man's best friend and least rewarding friendship.—ED.

I write immediately and in some concern, having just read your appeal for an analysis of the beagle who worked Sparse over on that recent snowy day.

The dog's behavior was obviously consistent, efficient and completely devoted to the ultimate self-interest that guides all of our domesticated friends.

To let you have it straight, Sparse Grey Hackle, the dog simply spotted a patsy—a feat probably duplicated in your last 20 years by half a thousand women and children plus all of the neighborhood four-legged breeds.

The aura that you radiate is evidently strong enough that, 20 years hence, a dog riding in the closed trunk of a speeding car passing within 400 yards of your mausoleum will undoubtedly cock an appreciative eye in your direction.

In short, you have been had. Again, I'm afraid. The only trouble is that now you are beginning to think about it.

And about this business of taking the dog to a psychologist, stay away. You and I both know who is going to wind up on the couch, and in psychiatry, Sparse, we have an ugly name for them.
Fort Worth

I just got back from a week in New England and found that the shortswing (SI, Nov. 25, Dec. 16, Dec. 23) was still the No. 1 topic of conversation. At Mt. Snow in Vermont, the ski school instructors found that 80 out of a hundred customers had read the Willy Schaeffler series and were now talking skiing in terms of the shortswing. At Mad River in Vermont, I saw several groups of young skiers teaching each other the shortswing. While at Mad River, I talked to a skiing friend who not long ago had been in Aspen where, as you know, there has been a certain amount of resistance to any change of technique, particularly below the expert level. This friend discovered that a number of intermediate and some advanced skiers were making private arrangements with instructors to give them "bootleg" lessons in the shortswing on the hidden slopes on the other side of Bell Mountain.

To me, however, the most interesting commentary on the shortswing came from the head of what I consider to be the best ski school in the country. His school teaches the shortswing to experts. However, they use only the modern Arlberg for beginners. I asked him why they stuck with the Arlberg, and he said:

"I get a guy for two hours on one weekend. Two hours. And when I'm through with that guy, here's what he's going to do. Whether I like it or not, he's going up onto the mountain. Am I going to put that guy in the comma position and have him traverse and side-slip and then do a kick turn all the way down the mountain? Or am I going to give him a little snow-plow so he can make some kind of turn and think he's done something?

"I've got two obligations to my customers: one is to give them something that will let them have a little bit of fun, and the other is to save their lives when they come down the damn mountain. I don't like teaching them this way because they get that little snowplow and don't learn anything else and ski around for two years, and when they get a little better they come back to me, and I've got to teach them how to ski all over again right. If I could get people to practice the comma position and the side-slip and all that I'd do it, but they won't. They go up the mountain."

I would like to amplify the information on the cleek for Allan M. Clark (19TH HOLE, March 3) with the following:

Robert Forgan, M.A., St. Andrews, author of The Golfer's Handbook in 1881, has this to say concerning the cleek:

"Cleek—There are two varieties of clubs known by this expressive name. 1) The Driving Cleek, or Cleek proper, is ubiquitously useful. In very bad lies throughout the green, in cups and ruts, in open whins and sand, wherever the player desires to extricate his ball and effect distance at the same time, this is the safest and surest weapon to employ. It is, further, of great service in playing half strokes to the hole and in 'putting' out of bad lies or cups on the green. The handle is much shorter than that of the Driver, is very little tapered and ought to have no perceptible spring. The construction of the head, however, is not so easily described; in fact, it requires to be seen to be understood. It usually weighs about 10 oz. and is sloped in the face like a Spoon to enable it to elevate the ball.

"2) The Putting Cleek is a club which few good players use, and is only mentioned here to be condemned. Its head is almost perpendicular in the face, but in all other respects it resembles the Driving Cleek. It is employed on the putting green, but is a very treacherous weapon; since either heel or point catch the turf a moment before the rest of the head—and this is a very common occurrence—the ball is sent 'oil' the line' to the right or left of the hole. The club is, in short, a usurper, and deserves to be dethroned. The Green Putter fulfills the duties of its office far better."

I consider Sir Guy Campbell an authority on the subject of golf. However, I would suggest, for getting down to fundamentals, that Mr. Clark refer to Harry B. Wood's Golfing Curios and "The Like" (1911). The Carrick cleek (an iron) shown in Plate VII should provide the information desired by Mr. Clark. Bob Ferguson used this club in winning the 1880, 1881 and 1882 Open championships.

There are several other books dated in the '80s which would be informative.
South Bend, Ind.

Mrs. Waterman's photograph of her husband submerged over his head, but still playing that fish (WONDERFUL WORLD, SI, March 3) was certainly one of the great testaments to fishing. I am glad that the editor of SPORTS ILLUSTRATED liked it as much as did the editors of The Fisherman, in whose pages this picture originally appeared and who were happy to share it with our friends and colleagues in the world of sports.
The Fisherman
Oxford, Ohio