Mrs. Richard Ross's Open Letter to Bud Wilkinson (Nov. 12) was the best sports advice I've ever read in your very good magazine by anyone to anyone. It should be required reading for everyone in the entire U.S. school system who is connected in any way with sports.
FRANK C. MORRISON
Surely, she isn't serious! What she really means about the "crux of the whole matter" is that while Buster is starting, fumbling and falling—the gang's supposed to stand around and wait. And what really makes it rough is that he probably didn't like the idea in the first place!
Why doesn't Mrs. Ross quit kidding herself? Or has she forgotten there used to be something called "rugged individualism" kicking around on the vacant lots?
That thing in this world which seems to me to be the most diverting, making the most mirth, being the best pastime is not sport, but something called success. To establish low standards so that everyone could claim success would be ridiculous.
One cannot savor the thrill of succeeding where he once failed unless there is that failure in the first place. Failure, in itself, is not so bad; it's the resignation to failure that dooms men, nations and little boys. Therein lies the lesson of the Soft American.
H. C. HAYNSWORTH III
I am with Mrs. Ross 100%. One of my sons warmed the midget football team bench and in discouragement dropped out. My other son tried out for junior high football, was outweighed, so he dropped out. What can we do with a community so football-minded that the objective is only to win the game—not teach the sport or sportsmanship? I don't want either of my sons to be a football hero, just a well-rounded boy.
MRS. HOWARD MITCHELL
Thank you very much for the issue of SPORTS ILLUSTRATED with Allan Seager's hilarious and brilliant reminiscences of sports at Oxford (Oct. 29). As a fellow victim of Oxford rowing I consider it a masterpiece of accurate reporting as well as being as witty a bit of writing as I've read in many a day.
Beverly Hills, Calif.
Seager calls his piece The Joys of Sport and he ends up by saying it was fun. Somehow we in America have lost the fun and joy—on the playing field and in the stands. It's fun to sit in a green meadow and watch cricket even if you don't understand it. Torpids and Eights are fun. In America it's exciting (maybe), dramatic (maybe), perhaps rather grim...but certainly not fun. So this is why I don't go to football and never have a clue who's doing what in the World Series. But I did read Seager and it was fun.
I was particularly interested since, being an old swimming Blue, I had seen the race Seager described at the Bath Club.
I was rather disappointed that, after pointing the finger at Oxford's amateur attitude towards training in the various sports, Seager did not stress the important point that participation by the many is regarded as being better than excellence by the few—that every college has two teams in practically all the sports, and almost everyone who is not actually lame plays something or other at least four or five times a week.
K. R. ALLEN
Old Greenwich, Conn.