PEAKS AND PITFALLS
I wish to commend you for printing the article A Debt was Paid Off in Tears (Nov. 11) by Dr. Roger Bannister. Like Dr. Bannister and countless others, I was quite irate that the Olympics were being held in Mexico City, and I grew even more so while watching the effects of the altitude on the athletes.
It is about time the International Olympic Committee recognized the fact that the Olympic Games are held for, and, in fact, are made up of, the competing athletes. It seems to me that Mr. Brundage and the IOC have come to regard the athlete as just another aspect of the "Olympic Games Spectacle." This became painfully evident with the decision to allow only seven athletes from each nation to march in the closing ceremony.
New York City
BEARDS AND BEARS
As a booster of California athletics, as a student and as an alumnus, I was happy to see your recognition of a fine Golden Bear football team (Beards Are Cooled but the Bears Are Hot, Nov. 4). While entertaining, however, Alfred Wright's article failed to accomplish its apparent goal of dispelling the fallacy that Cal is all beatnik, hippie or yippie. Having been active in student-government affairs during the Free Speech Movement, which gave the school its ill-deserved label, I can assure you that most Cal students are normal.
Regardless of the team's record, the Berkeley faithful have trudged up the hill to the stadium to witness the color when the football fortunes were low. May I remind you and the readers that Cal still has the best halftime show of all. Berkeley claims to be the first to originate card stunts and has the largest and finest display anywhere; and The Pride of California, the band, is also superlative. Both are sponsored by the Associated Students, not the university.
Supergov may be heartened by the football success, but never to the extent that loyal students and alumni are.
CARL D. JACOBS
Perhaps if Alfred Wright (Max Rafferty's nom de plume?) spent less time in the barbershop getting his crew cut trimmed and more time investigating the truth, he would be more of a journalist and less of a propagandist. Here at Berkeley some of us "beards" are proud of our fine football team. However, we are prouder that our values are such that education and social consciousness come first.
I don't mind Mr. Wright's faulty and misguided views of the campus political scene. After all, everyone takes his pokes at Berkeley. But why such inept coverage of the learn? It would seem, following SI's enlightening series on racism in sports, that Cal's problems and solutions would have been of definite interest. Mr. Wright passes over them lightly. It took a walkout by the black squad members the week before the annual spring intersquad scrimmage to bring the problems into the open. Black protests against lack of communication and understanding and the stacking of blacks against each other at certain positions were among the grievances presented to Coach Willsey. From this boycott came the hiring of Mr. Erby as an assistant coach and the shifting of Paul Williams to flanker and Gary Fowler to tailback. This not only eliminated the stacking of Williams and Bob Darby at one position, but provided in Flanker Williams the first game-breaking threat Cal has seen in many a year. The tailback combination of Fowler and Darby scored nine touchdowns in seven games.
And why did Mr. Wright choose to emphasize the futility of the Syracuse team rather than Cal's success? No mention was made of the fact that Cal was leading the nation in defense, giving up only 5.6 points per game, while later in this same issue defense in college football is pronounced dead. Cal wins with defense. We may not have the greatest athletes, but every one of them hits hard. Ask Syracuse. Ask UCLA.
Jan Stenerud is certainly an excellent field-goal kicker, as Pat Putnam pointed out (Big Kick out of a Strange Game, Nov. 4). However, let us not forget Ted Gerela of the British Columbia Lions. In a Canadian Football League contest on Nov. 2 against Saskatchewan, he booted his 29th and 30th field goals of the season to break the professional record that was held by Pete Gogolak and Bruce Gossett.
Throughout the season Gerela hit with amazing distance and accuracy, frequently from more than 50 yards out. So there is a strong-legged one up here, as well.
Pat Putnam is the first reporter to give Jan Stenerud the glory he deserves. Jan Stenerud is by far the greatest field-goal kicker there ever was. I'm now waiting for him to kick a 60- or 65-yard field goal. With a threat like him, the Chiefs are a sure bet to win the AFL and, possibly, to take the Super Bowl. Just think how great he would be if he knew what he was doing!
Telling it like it is usually has a serious connotation, but in his article Life in a Jock House (Oct. 28) Joe Jares told it like it was and said it funnier than anything I have read this year.
Hilarious things happen to all of us every waking day of our lives, but we're always so preoccupied with our trivial anxieties that we don't even stop to smile, much less laugh. Some guys just seem to have total recall of the funny things that happen in their lives. Joe Jares is obviously one of this talented group.
I don't know what SI's circulation is, but I'll bet a couple of hundred thousand ex-ballplayers and military men saw their old buddies personified in some of Jares' vivid descriptions. I know that I did, and it was fun.
Pompton Plains, N.J.
HAWK IN HAND
I would like to commend Gary Ronberg for his excellent article on Jim Pappin (Pap-pin Pops 'Em in for the Black Hawks, Nov. 4). Hawk General Manager Tommy Ivan made a great move when he secured Pappin from Imlach's Maple Leafs. The Hawks badly needed a hustling, fast-skating, fast-shooting center and, after seeing him play in person and on all the games the Black Hawks televise, I am positive they have filled their need. As of this writing, the Hawks have six players in the top 10 in the NHL scoring race.
VOICE FOR THE WILDERNESS
I would like to congratulate SPORTS ILLUSTRATED and Bil Gilbert for the outstanding story entitled The Old Swimmin'-Hole (Oct. 21). Thank you for pointing out to the public the complacent, buck-passing attitude that pervades a portion of our populace on matters of air- and water-pollution control. May your article open the eyes and minds of the multitudes, arouse them to meaningful action and shame the offenders into indemnifying the nation for their flagrant destruction of our precious and vital resources.
Menlo Park, Calif.
I read with great interest the beautifully done piece by Bil Gilbert. He documented most effectively the kind of tragic course that we seem to be following in this country.
I do want to call attention to one small technical mistake. In discussing the bacterial count and correctly pointing to it as an index of pollution, Mr. Gilbert repeatedly used the word "colloform," whereas the correct term is "coliform." The standard technique in evaluating pollution is to measure the number of E. coli—the ubiquitous Gram-negative bacterium that inhabits the human gastrointestinal tract.
This is a small matter that I'm sure would provoke a response only on the part of a "sometime" physician.
ROBERT J. GLASER, M.D.
SI has a unique opportunity to enlarge its (and the world's), concept of "sportsman" by presenting the coveted Sportsman of the Year award to David Wingate of cahow fame (There Are Problems when Man Plays God, Nov. 4).
The criterion of the "big year" (and who would want to decide whether McLain's or Gibson's was bigger?) hardly seems sufficient when compared with the far-reaching consequences of the ideas and efforts of such ecologists as Mr. Wingate. Furthermore, the big year has the unfortunate tendency of degenerating into merely a big day or even a lucky moment. On the other hand, the persistent efforts of Mr. Wingate have a way of transcending the present.
The cahow may be a "silly bird," but if SI could help establish it as the human race's equivalent of the miner's canary, the magazine would be joining Mr. Wingate in recognizing the greatest competition it is possible to engage in—the survival of the species. After all, isn't the current Department of the Interior conservation yearbook entitled Man...An Endangered Species?
JOHN T. LAVIA
College Park, Md.
I am writing to second the nomination of Lieut. Arthur Ashe for the Sportsman of the Year award. He certainly fulfills the ideals of your award. His achievement in winning the first U.S. Open Championship as an amateur is unparalleled in tennis but, more important, Arthur Ashe is not only a credit to tennis and his family, he is a credit to America and the human race.
DONALD L. DELL
U.S. Davis Cup team
My nomination for Sportsman of the Year? Who else but George Foreman, boxer supreme and American superb!
DON J. HADLEY
In your deliberations regarding the Sportsman of the Year I hope that you will not overlook Coach Robert (Pappy) Gault and the U.S. Olympic boxing team. In marked contrast with our 200-meter sprinters, these men proved that they knew how gloves should be used. More important, their conduct was exemplary in victory and in defeat, which sometimes resulted from baffling officiating. The magnificent performance of this group would appear to be the embodiment of the Olympic ideal.
I strongly urge the naming of Coach Hank Iba as Sportsman of the Year for his tremendous Olympic effort. Or honor the entire U.S. Olympic basketball team, whose members represent the best of sportmanship and Olympic tradition.
I nominate the former Miss Vera Caslavska as Sportswoman of the Year. Her beauty, grace and charm put her in a class by herself in the gymnastics competition. She performed exercises that few, if any, men could match and totally captivated the audiences. The whole spirit of Czechoslovakia could be summarized by her performance.
Sergeant Clyde Bradford Braughton Jr. should be the Sportsman of the Year. When he died in action in Vietnam on Jan. 31, he left his $10,000 Government insurance policy to the athletic department of Amelia (Ohio) High School. Since he graduated in 1966, he must have been no older than 20 when he died. It is odd that I have not seen this story in a national publication.
West Union, Ohio