FUN AND GAMES: BRAVE NEW MIDWEST
Your story on centrifugal bumble-puppy (E & D, Nov. 11) brought back fond memories of the game as we used to play it at Toledo University. Unfortunately the game has been sissified in traveling from the Midwest to the Effete East.
This is apparent in the confessed ignorance of the Stinger's function. The Stinger, the Left Jab and the Right Cross comprise the offensive line, whose job is to prevent the opposing Bumbles and Puppies from catching the ball. In addition, the UConns are using the Beer Bearer to supply their own team. This is completely wrong. The Beer Bearer's duty is to distract the opposing players and persuade them to leave their positions.
The downfall of the game in the Midwest began in the traditional Toledo-Bowling Green match when BG surprised fans and players by using a female Beer Bearer in the starting lineup. Toledo protested vigorously but, since there was no rule against women, they had to play and naturally got clobbered, 138.73 to 6.41. Immediately after that game subsidization started, and fabulous offers were made to such great Beer Bearers as Suds Monroe and Steinie Mansfield. When things got so out of hand that Beer Bearers were being paid more than the varsity football team, pressure was brought to bear, and the game was banned by many Midwestern schools.
I sincerely hope the East profits by the Midwest's experience and will play the game for the pure love of the sport.
FUN AND GAMES: THE SEEDS AND FRUIT OF FRISBEE
As a follow-up to your article, "Flying Frisbees" (E & D, May 13 and Nov. 18), we are calling your attention to the International Frisbee Festival in Cincinnati.
More than anything we want to second E & D's irrefutable fact that Frisbee is no longer a pastime confined solely to Princeton or other eastern campuses. It has taken hold in no uncertain terms in the Midwest, although the seeds here were certainly sown by courageous settlers from the East seeking greener spravits. It now boasts a unique nomenclature which has a half-Chaucerian, half-nonsense ring to it, but which is respected and employed meticulously by loyal Frisbians.
Frisbee is no longer merely a game of individuals throwing the unit about at random as in catch. It can be, and is in some locales, an athletic contest resembling a bullfight in its artistic nature, football in its competitive spirit. Banners line the spravit; band music blares from a hi-fi set; Yale, Princeton, Brown and the All-Stars emerge in eye-catching uniforms; and—well, we honestly feel America has a new sport.
WILLIAM F. DOHRMANN III
W. ERNST MINOR III
? Frisbee's "unique" nomenclature includes such etymological profundities as vetch (the service); herd (a team of players); spravit (the field) and, logically, spra (one end of the field) and vit (the other end); sudic (an alternate player) and the double passing grundy, which appears to be a heroic scoring attempt by the water boy. Since Frisbee first raised its platter-shaped head in SPORTS ILLUSTRATED last May, the editors have been besieged with conflicting claims from Frisbee pioneers who are sure they were the first to tread a spravit. Much research was done. Much remains to be done. However, at this crucial stage in America's new sport, it would appear the most substantive claim is held by Mr. Ezra Bowen, now SPORTS ILLUSTRAT-ED'S Outdoors Editor. In a letter to the Amherst Alumni Quarterly Mr. Bowen ('48) states boldly: "Gentlemen: I feel I have a chance to put the record straight: I introduced Frisbee!" Mr. Bowen explains that he brought back to the Amherst campus in April, 1949 two "flying saucers," having watched the lifeguards of Daytona Beach disport themselves in a primitive version of the now highly developed sport.—ED.
FUN AND GAMES: THE WILD WOOD REVISITED
Having been an admirer of The Wind in the Willows since I first read it many years ago, it gave me a most pleasant start to come across the reference to it in Mort Lund's story about Mr. Garden and his boat Oceanus (A Boat for a Bride, SI, Nov. 4). Kenneth Grahame's grand old book successfully withstood the treacly outrages of a Walt Disney film a few years back and will, I'm sure, withstand Mr. Garden's well-intentioned recollection of it. Mole End is not quite as he remembers it.
Mole was a bumbling but good-natured sort who went to live with Rat one spring day. Rat, a practical chap, lived under a riverbank, was an accomplished single-sculler and wrote verse in idle moments. One snowy night Mole took Rat back to his old home, Mole End. Though a cozy place, there was nothing in the cupboard but a box of captain's biscuits, a tin of sardines and a German sausage wrapped in silver paper. The bachelor quarters Mr. Garden recalled are Mr. Badger's. Badger, "who cared little for Society [but] was rather fond of children...lived his own life by himself, in his hole in the middle of the Wild Wood." It was in Badger's cheery kitchen that hung the hams, onions, dried herbs and baskets of eggs. The ale hidden in the corner seems to be a happy addition of Mr. Garden's. It isn't too remote a conjecture, however, to imagine Badger having a bottle or so before he fell asleep in his study with a red cotton handkerchief over his face, which was the way the old gentleman passed most of the winter.
DR. MARY MOTHERSILL