SPORTSMAN OF THE YEAR (CONT.)
I too agree with Mr. G. W. Fleming's philosophy in regard to the selection of the Sportsman of the Year (19TH HOLE, Nov. 10).
I would like to nominate one of America's most distinguished gentlemen, as well as a sportsman: Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas.
His contribution to America and the free world as a jurist, author and world traveler, plus his undying love of the great American outdoors, should be proof enough to his fellow men that here in every sense of the word is a very fine sportsman.
H. J. VANDERSAL
Any man can look good when success crowns his efforts, but it really takes a man to look good in defeat.
It seems to me that Bennie Oosterbaan of Michigan, in the face of reverses and criticism, has conducted himself in a way which deserves special commendation.
Even with this season's results, his coaching and playing career can only be considered tops.
•By and large the greatest number of the votes received so far have been for Oosterbaan, a fine gesture on the part of his many friends on the eve of the announcement of his replacement as coach of a faltering Michigan team.—ED.
Although the year still has a while to run, I wish to offer my nomination: Rafer Johnson. I feel that this man as a great all-round champion and an outstanding student leader measures up better than any of 1958's many luminaries to the standards of the Bannisters, Musials, etc. of past years. His record, to an extent, speaks for itself. The agility of a 13-foot pole vaulter, speed of a 48.2 400-meter runner, power of a 238-foot javelin thrower combined with the adaptability to come back from a long layoff in basketball and make a major college's first string—all bespeak a great athlete. The endurance and visceral demands of the decathlon are obvious. That Johnson overcame debilitating injuries is admirable, too.
But, of course, there are many with records as outstanding, or nearly so. It is the drama and symbol of Johnson's victory at the meet with Russia's Kuznetsov that make 1958 his year. He saved America's international prestige as a track and field power while many of his teammates were folding under pressure. The fact that he is a Negro, student body president of one of our largest universities and quite probably the greatest athlete in the world for this year, at least, makes the drama seem almost Hollywoodian, considering the international hassle in the background and all.
Long Beach, Calif.
My man is Percy Cerutty, the man who inspired Elliott to inspire himself.
GEORGE P. BROWN
It must be LSU's Chinese Bandits.
If anybody, Johnny Unitas.
His selection by acclamation would be one way we can all show him what his victory has meant for us, to live with a man of his caliber among us—Roy Campanella.
M. G. FOX
Willie, oops! I should say William Hartack.
New York City
HORSE SHOWS: NEWS
I would like to compliment your Alice Higgins on the excellence of her columns on horse shows. After the saccharine nonsense usually written about horse shows she is a breath of fresh air. In spite of the hundreds of people now involved in showing horses, most local newspapers consider show results too unimportant to print. I'm glad you differ with them.
Mrs. SHELLY MANNE
A SEARCH OF THE RECORD BOOKS...
This poem is the result of a certain amount of brooding by a former college football coach who finds his views better expressed by a sportswriter (The Great Numbers Nonsense, SI, Nov. 24).
THAT GREAT SCORER AGAIN
When the One Great Scorer writes,
Wrote Grantland Rice one day,
What counts is not the win or loss
But quality of play.
But folks just failed to get the point
Of Grantland's noble verse.
They urged that winning was the goal;
Naught else was worth a curse.
But still defeat became the lot
Of many a mammoth squad,
And coaches nursed their ulcers deep
And paced the well-worn sod.
But soon a gleam of light appeared
That pierced the darkened gloom:
Statistics raised a saving front
To thwart the threatened doom.
Inspired scribes came on the scene
With clip board and with sheet;
They noted punts and downs and yards
And passes incomplete.
Who won the game? Who cares?
Our quarterback astute
Just passed for 12 completed ones
To national repute.
Our halfbacks ran for yards and yards
Although we lost the game;
The figures show a total rush
That gives us lasting fame.
And so in Granny's words again
Against our college name:
It counts not if we won or lost
But how we scored the game.
R. H. LAVIK
Dept. of Phys. Ed.
Arizona State College
Down here in Arkansas we are just the outcasts of the Southwest Conference, looked upon as pore little pigs, but we do have our day occasionally—like when not just one Razorback, but two went into the history book with kickoff returns of 103 yards each (they only got credit for 100), namely, Jim Mooty and Billy Kyser, which didn't rate even a line in your fine magazine. A search of the record books revealed that this had never before happened in major college football. We sure are proud.
J. N. LOVETT
FOOTBALL: RED SHIRTING DEFINED
In his letter concerning Dick Bass and the College of the Pacific (19TH HOLE, Nov. 10), Mr. James R. Ryan seems to be suffering from a few misapprehensions. In describing the situation as " 'red shirting' at its finest," he has missed the real purpose of "red shirting." This practice is normally aimed at either protecting the athletic eligibility of one who is scholastically ineligible or one whose athletic talents cannot presently be utilized or which will become more valuable at a future date. It is not generally applied to the practice of sustaining the eligibility of one who is physically incapable of playing during a particular season.
Perhaps Mr. Ryan is not cognizant of the strenuous demands upon time and energy which intercollegiate football entails. But it is far from unusual for football players to require something more than four years to graduate. It is likewise not unusual for a sizable proportion of college athletes to "finish" their programs in four years with something substantially less than a degree. I am not suggesting that it is impossible for a football player to graduate in the normal four years. But it is not to his discredit that he often finds it very difficult.
The fact that Dick Bass chooses, or requires, five years to complete his college education is nobody's business but his own. The wish of COP to allow him another year to complete his eligibility is also a prerogative which they should be free to exercise without criticism, since it is well within NCAA rules.
If it is to be admitted that college football has any values at all, then I see no reason why Dick Bass should be denied a portion of those values simply because he has had the misfortune to break his leg.
OLD PROS (CONT.)
The letter from Yeoman 3rd Class William D. Gunnels (19TH HOLE, NOV. 3) was well written. Concerning the idea that this "could be the era of the old men," Gunnels went on to cite the cases of several old pros who are still atop the heap.
However, I must heartily disagree with him when he exclaims over Ray Robinson as the "old man of boxing." How could one pass over the personage of Archie Moore? Indeed, Moore is even older than Robinson, and it should be noted that he is still fighting men above, rather than men from the next lower division.
Robinson found rich cream indeed when a man named Basilio plodded across his glory trail. Here was a man who was not a middleweight but a natural welter (when all is shed and done). They billed it as youth vs. age, but since when is 31 considered infantile?
An unfortunate error in the Jantzen advertisement of November 3 named me as head of the Aspen Ski School, which is operated (and has been since 1946) by Friedl Pfeifer and Fred Iselin. I am in charge of the ski school in the new Highlands area at Aspen.