SOCCER: GLOBAL OUTLOOK
I am disappointed because you fail to recognize soccer as the world's most popular sport. How about some information on the status of college and professional soccer in the U.S. and all over the globe?
•In virtually every nation but the U.S. the word football means not football but soccer, the world's No. 1 spectator sport. In South America, Europe and Asia, crowds of 100,000 and more are common at the big "football" games. In the U.S., however, although booming in preparatory schools and colleges, soccer has not been an important spectator sport since the 1920s.
Last week U.S. soccer fans got reason to hope, at least, for a brighter future, with the announcement by William D. Cox that big-time professional soccer may be on its way back.
Cox, who was president of the Philadelphia Phillies in 1943 and head of the Brooklyn football Dodgers in 1945, has organized an international soccer league which will include top teams from England, Scotland, Ireland, West Germany, Sweden, Austria, Hungary, France, Italy and possibly Spain and one or two South American countries. A split season will be played at the 22,000-seat Downing Stadium on Randalls Island in New York City, with a New York entry participating in each half of the season against five foreign teams. The schedule will begin in May after the visiting teams have completed their regular schedules at home.
If the new league succeeds the time may yet come when the word soccer will truly mean what football means throughout the world.—ED.
FITNESS: SURVIVAL WITH DIGNITY
While the U.S.'s youth grows softer, weaker, fatter, lazier and older the President's Youth Fitness Council discusses "fitness for what?" (SI, Oct. 26).
What American youth needs is physical exercise to counteract the immorality that has been imposed on it by mechanization, and to build a body fit to live in. The only way a good "temple of the spirit" can be built is through required strenuous physical activity based on physiological need.
The council asks about our youth, "Fitness for what?" I say, "Fit to survive—and hurry!"
Mrs. T. S. SCHULTZENHEIMER
Your Fitness for What? article is as superficial as your general view of sports, with the exception of boxing. It seems that only blatant corruption of a game merits your attention.
Surely you must be aware that under our present rules of society, human values rate last, that the drive for security and status overwhelms most of us.
Time and again I have read in SPORTS ILLUSTRATED instances involving golf, baseball and football wherein sly evasions of the honest way were reported with no criticism, e.g., Snead, while waiting for a decision on a lie in the rough, walking down the rough until the ball was eminently hittable; the sad example of our colleges in the general attitude toward football. It seems we just do not know where deviation sets in; to show how blind we are in such matters, nothing is observed or said or done until the foulness creates a stench. How limited is the consideration of such absolutes as honesty and virtue when violations in plain sight are overlooked or even lauded?
But the true malaise of the quiz shows was inherent even had they not proved such a mock of entertainment values. The real failure was in the conditioning of the populace to the idea that honest work is for idiots, that somehow there is an angle, a method or someone who can short-cut the messy process of work. This sickness is endemic. It is so because we do not know or wish to really explore the ways to let others live with dignity and integrity. Incidentally, it is curious that Marion Hank's quote—"What we really want for our young people is that they be fit to live meaningfully, etc., etc., etc." omits that one word, dignity, which represents in a word the historical striving of man to the present date.
What is true and honest is this: our "best" people have failed us in setting standards of conduct consistent with our ideals.
•Delegate Hanks did not use the word dignity in his plea for total fitness, but he did suggest as much when he said: "While we plan how to develop the physical prowess and the intellectual power of a man or boy, we must also recognize the absolute indispensability of seeking to implant and encourage the character, moral responsibility and spiritual strength which will move him to employ his talents ethically, intelligently and maturely for good and uplifting purposes."—ED.
You quote Tennessee Coach Wyatt as saying he never heard of an animal winning a football game ("Houn' Dawg," EVENTS & DISCOVERIES, Oct. 26). It seems Ole Bowden Wyatt is either too young or simply unknowing of the 1927 game between Latham Tech and Antietam.
The Latham Tech team, known as the Ducks, was fighting a losing streak of 16 when it came into its homecoming against Antietam. An enterprising sophomore, name of Latham Parks—no relation to the college—had trained a mallard drake, called Clarence, to come to hand by feeding him bread, suet and brandy. It got so that old duck would waddle along the sidelines and then take off, make a swing, come back to young Parks on the bench and get his bread, suet and brandy. Naturally, he was the team's mascot.
Now, this string of 16 losses was most depressing to Clarence as he'd come to take a keen interest in the game and, of course, his team. So, fearing another loss, Clarence took off and got himself boiled as an owl. In fact, he got so plastered he didn't get to the game till the last quarter—when, with the score 0-3 against Latham, the Antietam halfback was preparing to punt from behind his goal line. Latham, fearing that the worst had befallen its mascot, had played a whale of a game up to then.
Sizing up the situation in a flash and emboldened by the false courage, at the snap of the ball Clarence took off, met the high punt as it was going over the line of scrimmage and worried it into the end zone, where it was caught by a Latham tackle for a touchdown and victory.
Old Clarence was never up to his usual force again, but he lives forever in the hearts of all old Lathamians.
The following year Latham Tech adopted the motto "Ever Be Kind to Your Web-footed Friends." You might call this a duck-filled platitude.
It is my hope that in the future the Tennessee coach will be more sure whereof he speaks before popping off on a national scale.
GEORGE P. HASKELL
•We never heard of Latham Tech or Antietam, but Clarence must be real.—ED.
SPORTSMAN OF THE YEAR
I nominate for Sportsman of the Year the individual who decided that Dizzy Dean and his sidekick Blattner would not describe the World Series. For service to humanity, and to all sportsmen!
Lieut. Colonel, USAF
BASKETBALL: EXACT MEASUREMENT
ALTHOUGH WILT CHAMBERLAIN MAY HAVE SEEMED 10 FEET TALL TO THE NEW YORK KNICKERBOCKERS IN THEIR OPENER (Here. Comes the Big Fellow At Last, SI, OCT. 26), HE WAS OFFICIALLY MEASURED ON SEPT. 26 AT HERSHEY TRAINING CAMP AND STANDS SEVEN FEET 1 1/16 INCHES TALL.
BASEBALL: THE GREAT AND GREATER
As a sentimental White Sox fan for the last five or six years, I had expected it to be a long, cold winter, but I didn't expect the freeze to set in so soon. When you relegated Nellie Pox to second best after Charlie Neal, it was too much (New Sights and Sounds, SI, Oct. 19).
I don't intend to take anything away from Charlie Neal, because he truly played a magnificent game in the World Series most of the time. His power hitting was outstanding, and he played very well on defense, but he did commit two errors which at the time were extremely costly. Let's say that very few people expected Neal to play as outstandingly as he did.
On the other hand, everyone expected great things of Nellie Fox during the Series, and he didn't disappoint a soul. He always seemed to be on base when a hit was needed, but unfortunately his teammates couldn't come through with a hit at the right time. Also, unless my memory fails me, Fox played flawless ball in the field, not making an error.
To make my point, I'll bet that if two baseball experts were allowed to choose up sides, with the Dodgers and White Sox to choose from, the expert having the first choice would pick Nellie Fox and then worry about the rest of the team later. There is no question that Neal was great; but to me Fox was greater.
A PROBLEM FOR THE READERS
A problem has arisen in the distribution of the prizes from a World Series pool, and I wondered if you might help in the decision. Seventeen shareholders contributed $3.50 each and drew either the Dodgers or Chicago in the first eight innings. One man had both teams in the first of the ninth. The holder of the inning having the most runs each game was to receive $5, second high $3, and 50¢ from each game was to go into an aggregate fund together with the undistributed sum of any unplayed games. The first aggregate winner was to receive 5/8 of the money and the second highest aggregate 3/8. Ties for first divided first and second money. Ties for second split the second-highest prize.
Our dispute arose from the fifth game, when only one run was scored. The holder of this inning was entitled to the first prize of $5. How to distribute second money caused the trouble.
In your opinion, should this money also go to the holder of the inning in which the one run was scored? Should this be added to the aggregate fund? Should the three dollars be split between the other 16 shareholders?
My contention was that, inasmuch as the game had been played, it did not belong to the aggregate pool. It did not seem right that the first-money winner should also get this added amount. Actually, we settled amicably, but I wonder what would have happened if this $3.00 had had the decimal moved over behind a few zeros?
Our interest is actually in the justice of the distribution. We thought perhaps your readers could help us.
A. RICHARD DAVIES
East Orange, N.J.
FOOTBALL: MOTHER'S MONSTER
Your story on "Mother's Big Bad Monsters" (WONDERFUL WORLD OF SPORT, Oct. 19) rang a bell in our household. When my son Jim, a senior at Cubberly High School in Palo Alto, told me that his picture would be on the cover of the football annual, I was pleased and excited.
"It's a great picture, Mom," says he.
If there are any mothers floating around your staff office, they can imagine my reaction when I saw the great picture.
Last week I received an unexpected dividend. Jim's teammates had made him laugh when he posed for a program shot, and it was my turn to enjoy his state of shock.
This is Cubberley's third year in the South Peninsula Athletic League. In their first year of league play the Cougars won the title; last year they tied with Sequoia (Redwood City) for the championship; this year, to date, three wins, no losses.
Palo Alto, Calif.