NO SPORT IN PHILLY
Thank you very much for the article concerning the Philadelphia school board's financial dilemma and its subsequent decision to discontinue varsity and intramural sports in all of the public schools (We Expect Them to Storm the Gates, Sept. 6). Outgoing School Board President Richardson Dilworth calls varsity sports "an activity that involves comparatively few students." But he should take another look. In addition to the most publicized sports (football, basketball and baseball), there are also track, swimming, tennis, golf and cross-country, not to mention all the intramural and club sports. It takes a good number of students to participate in these sports, and even a greater number to support the teams and go to the games. In my school, Central High, there was a frenzy of support for our football team before the city championship game against Bishop Egan. Nothing will ever match that excitement.
Mr. Dilworth's statements, "Three out of four black athletes who go to college on athletic scholarships get virtually no education.... Besides, most of the scholarships are to tramp colleges," are the kind of foot-in-the-mouth remarks the former mayor is well known for.
As the current academic year begins, Mr. Dilworth might be interested to learn the whereabouts of some of our West Philadelphia High School products. Among our football players, Norman Townsend is a senior on the Princeton team, Jon Cureton is at Lafayette and Emmelt Deans is at Kalamazoo. Gene Coney is a junior at Trinity College (Conn.) and Stephen Johnson is a junior at Holy Cross. Last June, Bob Bell graduated from the University of Cincinnati after co-captaining the 1970 team and being named the No. 1 draft choice of the Detroit Lions. Talmadge Owens graduated from Wichita State and is now doing social work in the West Philadelphia area. As for our basketball players, Greg Newman is at Drexel University, Billy Jones is at Denver and Brady Small is at Weber State. Also, Ben Dozier is on the track team at Indiana and Carlos Barge is playing soccer at Ohio University. These men are all black scholar-athletes who are making it at top academic schools because sports gave them a chance.
West Philadelphia High School
Concerning School Superintendent Mark Shedd's statement (and your headline), "We expect them to storm the gates," I feel this is exactly what should happen. In view of the problems facing young people like myself, one thing we do not need is more time on our hands.
I am attending college on an athletic scholarship. Without it, college would have been next to impossible. I feel the Philadelphia school board's decision is an injustice to all high school students, not only the varsity athletes.
J. P. MCLINN
What is amazing is that both Dilworth and Shedd recognize the outrage of Philadelphia's citizens, admitting they expect the citizens to "storm the gates." It's incredible that this doesn't tell these two administrative giants a thing or two.
DAVID J. BESSETTE
MEDAL WINNERS AT MATCH PLAY
I for one am pleased that a "superwinless nobody," more appropriately referred to as DeWitt Weaver, was able to survive the field of Palmers, Nicklauses and Players and bank a $35,000 purse for winning the annual (I hope) U.S. match-play championship (Heads Roll at Head to Head, Sept. 6). As SI pointed out in rather uncomplimentary fashion, it was the first victory for Weaver after seven years of toil on the professional golf circuit. It is to Weaver's credit that he has been able to persevere through what must have been some frustrating and lean years as a touring pro.
New Hope, Minn.
I thoroughly enjoyed your article about the match-medal championship. I should also like to call your attention to what occurred the day after the tournament ended. DeWitt Weaver deserves a medal for his actions after he won the crown.
DeWitt had agreed early in July to play an exhibition round at the National Junior Golfers Association championship here on Colgate University's Seven Oaks course. Naturally he did not know he would be $35,000 richer at that point and he could easily have canceled out of the exhibition, since he was doing it gratis. But winning the U.S. match-play championship didn't change his attitude a bit.
Instead he hopped on a plane Monday morning after less than three hours' sleeping time and flew to Hamilton. He spent a full hour with youngsters entered in the 160-plus field, then proceeded to shoot a two-under-par 70 on the 6,854-yard layout: no mean feat considering the course is rated at 74-plus. After the round, during which he continuously joked with the gallery, winning many fans in the process, he went right back to talking golf with the entrants.
Weaver has had a long hard struggle on the tour and has more than earned his reward as far as the people in Hamilton and the contestants in the NJGA tournament are concerned.
If my local paper is accurate, George Knudson shot rounds of 70, 68, 66 and 73 during the match-play championship. This figure of 277 equals Palmer's and includes an impressive 66, which is the course record for the distance played. But being stuck with a name like George Knudson seems to guarantee obscurity.
FRANK L. MATTHEWS
After watching O.J. Simpson pick up 86 yards and a TD on 11 carries and catch a 25-yard pass for another TD against the Eagles a few weeks ago, I would have to agree with Edwin Shrake (The Name of the Game Is O.J., Sept. 6) that he is at least "ready to fly." In fact the whole Buffalo team appears to have regained the spirit of the Bills' AFL championship years.
As an Eagle fan, I'm glad the Eagles beat the Bills 34-28 in that preseason game and equally glad that the two teams will not meet again this year. Both teams will be making hungry noises this season, but it would be tough for the Eagles to beat Buffalo twice.
As soon as the regular season starts I think O.J. is going to look more like P.J. (prune juice). Time and again he has proven that he can't win a football game by himself. If this new coach of the Bills can't think of a more diversified offensive game plan than O.J. right, O.J. left and, occasionally, O.J. up the middle, the Bills will be abiding in the basement for years to come.
Beaver Dam, Wis.
YATES CENTER'S EXAMPLE
I enjoyed your article on Mike Peterson (The Greatest Athlete in Yates Center, Kansas, Aug. 9). However, I was upset by the comments of other readers (19TH HOLE, Aug. 23) whose noses were apparently bent out of shape because a small-town athlete got a little publicity. I read SI for the personal side of the sports scene. I wouldn't care about someone running 95 yards for a touchdown or birdieing six holes straight unless I had some idea of the training or sacrifice that person had gone through in order to accomplish the feat. SI does an excellent job of personalizing the sports scene and this is important. So right on with the Mike Peterson article.
All of the spoiled, prima-donna, big-time athletes who jump teams, pout and in general make nuisances of themselves thereby losing the regard of the sporting public would do well to read and reread the great story by William Johnson on Mike Peterson. They might take to heart this lesson in how not to get the Big Head and be better men because of it.
Yates Center citizens have been clamoring for many more copies of the Mike Peterson article, but some local people were upset by L. Massey Clarkson's crack (19TH HOLE, Aug. 23) about the 76,100 beer cans picked up along our highways: "I know of no other community in the world with a population of 2,178 that would be able to support anything after 76,100 beers...35 beers per person."
The truth is that some 3,250,000 cars, trucks and buses cross the Yates Center intersection of U.S. Highways 54 and 75 each year, which means that one beer can is dropped for about every 40 vehicles. That is one of the penalties we must suffer for being a dry town on interstate highways linking New York and Chicago with El Paso and Los Angeles, and Houston and Dallas with Omaha.
On the other hand, if we can induce even more beer-drinking motorists to pass through our town, we'll soon have enough recycleable beer cans collected to complete the payments on the new weight-lifting machine for our football team.
WALTER A. BOWERS
Yates Center, Kans.
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