Are we talking about a father and a son, or a trainer and a 3-year-old at Churchill Downs? What happens if Todd ruins a knee?
MARK J. RILEY
I wish Todd the best of luck at USC. But should he not become the best quarterback ever to throw the ball, or not even make it to the Rose Bowl, I hope Marv won't see him as a failed laboratory experiment. Instead, I hope he's big enough to say, "I'm proud of you anyway, son." And perhaps take him out for just one Big Mac.
THE HEYWARD CASE
Thank you, Rick Telander (POINT AFTER, Feb. 8). For years I have been telling people that college football players should have the right to turn pro whenever they feel they're ready. A zoology major at Ohio State, I was accepted by the university's dental school in my junior year. I have no undergraduate degree, but in June 1989 I will graduate from dental school and embark on my pro career. Why shouldn't an athlete have the same chance?
I don't feel, as Telander does, that Craig Heyward's problem is a lack of freedom. His problem is poor judgment and even poorer values. One day Heyward may regret his decision to discard his free college education to pursue short-term economic gain.
HAMISH K. WILSON
Jack McCallum's piece on superstition in sports (Green Cars, Black Cats and Lady Luck, Feb. 8) reminded me of an article entitled "Baseball Magic" by anthropologist George Gmelch in the August 1978 issue of Human Nature. Gmelch compares superstitions in baseball with magic in primitive societies. Among Trobriand Islanders in the South Pacific, for example, open-sea fishing, a dangerous undertaking, is accompanied by elaborate magical rituals, while lagoon fishing, a safe task, is not. Who in baseball practices the most magic? According to Gmelch, pitching, batting and managing are the equivalent of open-sea fishing, while playing the outfield is similar to lagoon fishing.
Call them superstitions or magic, these rituals serve to reduce anxieties in a risk-filled world. One wonders what investors on Wall Street do.
ROBERT L. BLAKELY
I enjoyed Paul Zimmerman's story about Sid Gillman and the early San Diego Chargers (When Sid Was Caesar, Feb. 1). However, as a Gillman fan, I was slightly disappointed that nothing was mentioned of his days at Ohio State, where he was a player (1930-33) and an assistant coach (1934, '38-40). As an assistant, Gillman served under one of the most innovative and underrated coaches in the history of college football, Francis (Close the Gates of Mercy) Schmidt. Much of Gillman's football philosophy, as well as his offensive innovations and work habits, can be traced to his years with Schmidt. Schmidt was way before his time. Under him, Ohio State beat opponents by 50, 60 and even 80 points by using wide-open attacks featuring more than 300 plays from some 15 formations.
I am a Ph.D. candidate in sports history at Ohio State, and a short time ago I interviewed Gillman for a research paper on Schmidt. Gillman said, "He was a great, great offensive mind. I don't think that I've ever known anybody whose mind was as keen and clever as his was from a football standpoint. I still have his playbook. He was the greatest influence I had. I just loved the guy."
By the way, Schmidt was replaced at Ohio State in 1940 by a little-known high school coach named Paul Brown.