SPORTSMAN OF THE YEAR (CONT.)
As a charter subscriber to SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, I have intended to write this letter every year at this time concerning your annual Sportsman of the Year award.
Webster has a lot to say about sport and sportsmanship, but it seems to boil down to participation in sports and games, primarily outdoors, for pleasure. If this definition is followed, it would automatically eliminate many of our national heroes, and this is precisely what I wish would happen. With the commercialization and professionalization of most of the sports and games in this country, we have developed a fine group of professional athletes. Believe me, I have no argument with them, and am mighty glad to have them. Neverthless, I feel that they are masters of a trade, highly skilled and highly paid. I believe such compensation is enough, and if we are truly seeking sportsmen, we should look to the ranks of those to whom material gain is of secondary, or little, importance.
If necessary, let's establish a separate category for the Athlete of the Year to give deserved credit to our excellent professional athletes, but for Sportsman, let's stick to true sportsmen—Sir Edmund Hillary of Everest, Roger Bannister of The Mile, Briggs Cunningham of LeMans and Columbia—men to whom the sport was the thing, who accepted the challenge not for personal glory or monetary success but "because it was there."
G. W. FLEMING
Many thanks for the finest sports publication extant, to which I hope to subscribe ad infinitum.
The above Latin phrase would almost seem to describe the football-playing career of College of the Pacific's Dick Bass, as logged in Roy Terrell's excellent Dallas Comeuppance (SI, Oct. 20). I quote, out of context, "...He made 10 of the 11 frosh scores in 1955" and "...He wants to play football next year, graduate in 1960 and then make up his mind which way to go." As I get it, this means that when Mr. Bass finally arrives at the great decision he will have spent five years on campus, which is bogeying the course any way you look at it. Having missed all of last year's games due to a leg broken in preseason practice, he has another year left in which to play. Is it the policy of COP to keep a man around until the last scintilla of athletic eligibility has been exhausted, regardless of the time it takes? If so, this would seem to be "red shirting" at its finest, with French cuffs and pleated bosom. What if the young man sustains injuries this year, and again in '59? Would he then graduate in 1962? One is reminded of Cliff Norton's gag about being athletically ineligible to attend classes.
I appreciate the fact that Mr. Terrell, by design or not, ended his article with the fine paragraphs about Bill Austin, Rutgers' wonderfully versatile halfback, to whom "football at Rutgers has been a lot of fun. Here, football has been a part of college, not college a part of football." This reader, at least, was left with a fresher taste in the mouth.
JAMES R. RYAN
?Although some conferences, such as the Big Ten, have a rule limiting football eligibility to 10 semesters, the College of the Pacific, an independent, is happy with Dick Bass's five-year study program.—ED.
GOLF: SENTIMENTAL JOURNEY
Unquestionably one of sport's most emotional moments was the singing of Will Ye No' Come Back Again? by the people of St. Andrews for Bob Jones. This will always be for me my most sentimental moment, thanks to the brilliant reporting of Herbert Warren Wind (SI, Oct. 27).
DAVID J. NELSON
NATURE: AS T.R. SAID
It was a thrill to see the picture of the redwood tree planted in Campbell, Calif. by Theodore Roosevelt in 1903 (The Savior of Our Wilderness, SI, Oct. 27). My daddy, Harry A. Fore, was there that day. He was 15 years old, and never forgot the words he heard. It was one of my favorite childhood stories; now I tell it to my own children:
Roosevelt planted the tree, then he brushed off his hands and said, "I haven't time to make a long speech. Just remember this, boys and girls. Work while you work, and play while you play, but don't play while you work."
MRS. H. L. EGGLESTON JR.