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Original Issue


Your Oct. 3 issue brought strongly to mind a stirring Latin motto, Audentes fortuna adiuvat—Fortune favors those who dare. The article on the Oklahoma-Ohio State game (Never Too Late for the Sooners) opened and closed with Oklahoma Coach Barry Switzer laughing in the face of the odds. The piece on Vince Papale of the Philadelphia Eagles (Recovering from a Rocky Start) showed in words and pictures the personality of a true walk-on. And John Domini's sensitive account of his unsuccessful tryout for his hometown soccer club (Lessons from a Lower Level) spoke of his captivation by the subtleties of his sport that sustained him through the agony of the tryout and the frustration of failing to make the team. All three articles serve as testimonials to the riches to be gained through a willingness to dare.

Your fine article on Vince Papale brought back vivid memories of another sandlot player who performed for those same Eagles (I say Iggles) in their heyday, the late 1940s. Jack Ferrante, also a receiver, was a local favorite. The starters were always introduced by college and name, and I'll never forget the way Jack was introduced: "From the sand-lots of South Philadelphia...Jack Ferrante." Shibe Park would erupt. Thanks for the déj√† vu—and the memories.

This letter in no way is meant to detract from Vince Papale. However, the statement that, as a 30-year-old, Papale "was the oldest rookie ever to play in the NFL" is not accurate. In 1946, with the same Philadelphia Eagles, Otis Douglas was a rookie tackle at age 35. Douglas continued to play through the 1949 season. Probably the best way to appreciate this is to reflect on the fact that he graduated from William & Mary in 1931 and played his first pro ball 15 years later.
Research Editor
National Football League Properties, Inc.
Los Angeles

My parents and I marvel at the effort Vince Papale puts into each play. If everyone on every team played the way he does, one would have a tough time picking an MVP.
Wallingford, Pa.

While it is always a pleasure to see my alma mater (currently undefeated) mentioned in your magazine, I did not greatly appreciate the statement in your article on the Oakland-Pittsburgh game (Once More, with No Hard Feelings, Oct. 3) referring to Mark van Eeghen "knocking tacklers down as if he were some kind of Bronko Nagurski instead of a Colgate alumnus."

Although a small school lacking a multimillion-dollar football budget, Colgate has produced 52 professional football players since the American Professional Football Association (progenitor of the NFL) began in 1920.

One of these alumni, Don Irwin of the Washington Redskins, scored as many touchdowns (four) as Nagurski did when they both were playing in the NFL in 1936 and 1937. Another Colgate alumnus, Marv Hubbard, has gained more yards rushing (4,416) than Nagurski (2,778), has a better average per carry (4.8 to 4.4) and more touchdowns by rushing (22 to 18) in his career with the Oakland Raiders and the Detroit Lions. And a third, Mark Murphy, is one of two rookies on the Redskins' roster this year. Then there is van Eeghen.

Although one of the top academic institutions in the country, Colgate is proud of its athletic traditions, and I'm sure that had Nagurski gone there he would have been proud, too. And who knows? Maybe with his help Colgate's undefeated, untied and unscored-upon team of 1932 would have been invited to the Rose Bowl after all.

LSU sophomore Wide Receiver Carlos Carson, only 5'11" but possessing 9.5 speed, caught five passes in the 77-0 win over Rice that you barely mentioned in FOOTBALL'S WEEK (Oct. 3). The five catches were the first of Carson's varsity career and all were for touchdowns.

Carson's scoring receptions came on passes of 22, 29, 63, 20 and 67 yards. An unheralded high school running back from West Palm Beach, Carson set four LSU records, two SEC marks and an NCAA record by virtue of his receptions. Moreover, he caught a sixth pass for a sixth touchdown the following week against Florida, despite being double-teamed.
West Palm Beach

How dare you say that Carl Yastrzemski is too old to run around in Royals Stadium (True Tests of Talent, Oct. 3). His accomplishments this year again prove he can keep up with any "youngster": a near-.300 average all year long, 102 RBIs and 28 home runs. His play in the outfield, not to mention his performance at first base, has been masterful throughout his 17-year career. And Yaz has only just begun!
Camden, N.Y.

In a short and almost poetic way Michael Baughman (He Did Not Co Gentle, Oct. 3) describes the joys of hunting, an endeavor that is unequaled in its value to the body and to the soul.

It is unfortunate that vicious individuals like the ones described at the end of the article cannot be better policed. However, the true sportsman is becoming more aware of their abuses and is making every effort to control and report such behavior.
Whitestone, N.Y.

If all hunters practiced the ethics of the old man, there would be very little anti-hunting sentiment. But as long as the beautiful fall woods remain full of beer cans, crippled birds and fools who take easy shots, as well as dangerously casual ones, my hikes will be curtailed and my anti-hunting stance will continue.

I have just finished viewing another sudden-death football playoff and am convinced that while a winner is produced it is certainly not done in a fair way.

Two teams work hard all week. High-salaried men are injured. Other high-salaried men undergo many hours of mental stress and strategy conferences. Many officials are involved, as are thousands of fans. There is TV and radio coverage. Blimps float overhead. Wives are divorced from their husbands. And what happens when the game ends in a tie? A coin is tossed, the lucky team is given the ball, and three minutes later a man whose only talent is to kick a ball far and straight ends the game from 40 yards out. The lucky team (that's the one that won the coin toss) can now go on to who knows what, maybe even the Super Bowl and untold riches.

Why not give the other team the ball, too, and let it try to score. If it fails, then the game is over.

Or eliminate the field goal in sudden-death overtime. Make a team score six points in order to settle the issue.

Or, instead of a coin toss, drop the ball from the blimp over the 50-yard line and allow the team that recovers the ball to proceed from that point. Crazy? Yes, but certainly fair to both teams.

I still prefer to let the tie score stand and award each team half a point. If neither team can beat the other in the allotted one hour of regulation play, then neither deserves a "flip of a coin" victory.
Pioneer, Calif.

Here is the sequel to the Wesley Paul story (SCORECARD, July 18). Wesley's next crack at the age-8 Marathon record came in the Heart of America Marathon in Columbia, Mo. on Labor Day. This marathon is one of the toughest in America, with six monster hills. Wesley's time was 40 minutes and 30 seconds at six miles, but half a mile later he was struck by a car. This put him out of the race. He was taken to a hospital, got a few stitches in his head and was back at race headquarters in time for the awards ceremony. In the ensuing three weeks, his training was sporadic at best—no long runs, just seven or eight miles a day.

Then, on Sept. 25, in the Mayor Daley Marathon in Chicago, Wesley finally got his record, but barely. His time was 3:15:30, just under the old age-8 record of 3:15:42. Wesley had two problems. First, he was one of some 5,000 runners, 4,999 of whom were bigger than he, so that he found it difficult to make his way through the mob. Then he had to make a pit stop at about the ninth mile, which cost him at least five minutes. This gave him a halfway time of 1:38 plus. Too slow. Wesley held an even pace thereafter through the 24th mile. At that point, like a seasoned veteran, he broke out for home, covering the last 2.2 miles in a little more than 13 minutes. His finish appeared on the following day's Today show, and we hope SI will tell its readers that Wesley did, finally, reach his objective. He still isn't satisfied, however, for he is convinced he can get under three hours with the proper conditions.
Columbia Track Club
Columbia, Mo.

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