The first article of your series by Alabama Football Coach Bear Bryant, I'll Tell You About Football (Aug. 15 et seq.), is simply great. This is no ordinary sports story. It is one of the most candid and gripping pieces of Americana that I have ever read. If forthcoming pieces are comparable they should be published in book form for the benefit of future generations.
T. STUART RIDGELY
Congratulations. I came to know the Bear quite well when he was coaching at Texas A&M. He reminds me of the drill instructors at the Marine Corps boot camp at Parris Island during World War I, who had only a short time to prepare a bunch of green rookies for combat. They appeared to be mean, tough, nasty and ruthless. However, like Bear Bryant, they were just old softies at heart.
LLOYD J. GREGORY
One look at the fine men who once played under Bryant will dispel all criticism of his methods of "motivation."
One of my fondest memories is of leaving the stands and running across the gridiron at Texas U.'s Memorial Stadium on Thanksgiving Day 1956. The Texas Aggies had just beaten the Longhorns 34-21 to clinch the Southwest Conference championship (the only Aggie team ever to win in Memorial Stadium, before or since). As I passed the victorious Bear Bryant, who was walking alone across the field, my delirious cry of "Good game, Coach," was answered with a gracious, satisfied smile.
I want to thank SI and John Underwood for presenting the story of the world's greatest coach, Paul Bryant.
CHARLES W. JENKINS
Bossier City, La.
The Bear says, "I'll tell you about football." I'd like to know when he's going to start. So far he has written an autobiography and taught amateur psychology. I expected to read about football, not about his great way with the ladies or his inferiority complex.
Bear says he called Shug Jordan at Auburn at 7 one morning and Shug wasn't in the office. Could it be Shug was at the training table having breakfast with his boys or, perhaps, out on the field? Certainly, he could have been busy with football coaching instead of talking on the phone.
Believe me, Auburn does take its football seriously and its fine coach, too.
Mrs. G. O. NORDGREN JR.
After reading Dan Jenkins' article, A Poor Show by the New Rich (Aug. 15), I feel compelled to take exception to his comment that the annual College All-Star Game is not really necessary. Although some of the more wealthy All-Stars may feel more comfortable sitting on their fat wallets than they do wearing those jerseys with the stars on the shoulders, the College All-Star Game still kicks off the season in the minds of the nation's football lovers.
Over and above this, however, Jenkins seems to have forgotten the fact that the All-Star Game profits are turned over to The Chicago Tribune Charities organization. If for no other reason than that, the (usually) competitive and spirited summer classic started by the late Arch Ward 32 years ago is still worthwhile.
L. BRIAN BUTLER
May the All-Star Game live on forever—for the benefit of The Chicago Tribune Charities, Inc. and all the fans who like to see the NFL champs and the best seniors in the world play ball.
As for the quality of this year's play and the outcome, it could just as easily have been the Chicago Bears in place of the college stars.
If Dan Jenkins wants to eliminate some football, why not do away with a few of those bowl games?
The All-Star Game has outlived its time. This year's 38-0 score in favor of the men was definitely not an attraction for any football fan.
DAVID J. BESSETTE
In reference to your SCORECARD item, "Merger Schmerger" (Aug. 15), we, too, hope the game between the National Football League and the American Football League survives, and we are doing everything possible to see that it is played as planned in January.
However, as we stated several times since the announcement on June 8, this is a total package of which the game is a part. All elements of the agreement between the two leagues are necessary, we believe, to the successful conduct of professional football in the future. This is why we feel the legislation is vital to all aspects, including the game.
Commissioner, The National Football League
New York City
Thank you for William Leggett's stimulating article suggesting interleague play in major league baseball (The Long, Long Season, Aug. 15). To extend the idea, I suggest that two new leagues be formed each year. One would consist of the top-division teams of each league from the previous year. The other would be comprised of the bottom-division teams. This annual rotation of half of each major league would enable the fans to see five new teams and their players each year. The second-division league would offer a better chance for long-hungry teams to win a pennant, which would, in turn, boost attendance and team morale. And the World Series would be a natural, pitting the "underdog-league" winner against the first-division league champ.
JAMES F. GARVIN
Regular season interleague play would reduce baseball to a series of exhibition games.
My solution to the problem of the too-long major league baseball season is simply to reduce the schedule to 153 games, thus nearly restoring it to its traditional 154-game length.
The 162-game season, like the second All-Star Game, the split doubleheader, the obnoxious exploding scoreboard and other new moneymaking gimmicks, is merely a change, not an improvement.
PAUL S. FEIN
Your recent editorials (SCORECARD, June 27 et seq.) defending the Sierra Club in its efforts to prevent the building of dams in the Grand Canyon were enough to cause me to write strong letters to three Senators and Representatives. Two of the three have promised to oppose the Bureau of Reclamation project. And the way things are going, we'll need those votes.
You could do the John Muir organization a lot more good if you would publish its address and the cost of membership. I don't particularly care whether the Internal Revenue Service says the fee is deductible or not. If the cost is not too high I would be tempted to join the Sierra Club on this issue alone—and there must be others like me. But I don't know where to find it.
Yours is a powerful voice in support of conservation and protection of our natural resources. Don't let up.
WALTER F. SCHAR JR.
•Membership applications should be sent to David Brower, Executive Director, The Sierra Club, Room 1050, Mills Tower Bldg., San Francisco. Entrance fee and dues for the first year are $14, dues $9 thereafter.—ED.
MAN VS. MACHINE
The reasoning of F. Pierce Sherry (19TH HOLE, Aug. 8) regarding the frailties of hand timing as opposed to electronic timing with reference to Jim Ryun's mile record appears quite logical on the surface. In fact, however, he is 100% wrong.
He referred to an electronic timer used to eliminate a car at Indianapolis by a hundredth of a second. Those cars travel at speeds of 150 mph. The fastest man has ever traveled is 26.2 mph, when Bob Hayes was timed at 7.8 during a flying 100 yards in a relay. Obviously the problem is not quite the same.
Further, when Hayes won the Olympic 100-meter title at Tokyo he was timed electronically in 10.0 (actually 9.97) to equal the world record. The three hand timers showed 9.8, 9.9 and 9.9. The electronic time was official. Hand timing always produces a faster time than electronic timing. Hence, electronic timing would have shown Ryun (who was moving at 15.6 mph) to be slower, not faster.
Had Mr. Sherry looked closely at the photograph he would have observed that the timers in Berkeley, like all competent timekeepers, actuated their watches with their first fingers, and not with their "meaty thumbs."
Beverly Hills, Calif.