I would think an apology to Springfield College is in order.
JAMES A. DOERING, M.D.
I want to thank you for Robert Boyle's splendid article on our college. It is done with enough delightful humor, interlaced with a grasp of what we take to be essential, to give it what every Springfield graduate will recognize as "authenticity." Boyle's fine sense of the spirit of the place that seeks to blend physical, mental, moral fitness in the service of others is most remarkable, and all of us appreciate the sensitivity with which your story is done.
My only concerns with the story, all of which could be corrected by a word, pale by comparison with my appreciation for the article as a whole. They have to do with our three prime publics—the academic community, the supporting public and our board. The first concerns the phrase "potted ivy" to describe our liberal arts neighbors for whom I have the highest regard and the finest relationship. I do hope they do not feel this is our value judgment! The second concern is the suggestion that I sought the development of arts and sciences to increase our chance of support. This may follow as a consequence, but is farthest from my mind as the reason, though I am quoted here. I sought this development, because no man can be a leader of youth in our time who does not have a broader and deeper grasp of the nature of man, human history, other cultures and the arts and sciences that underscore the nature and significance not only of mind and spirit, but body and sport as well. Finally, the suggestion that the Chief Massasoit exercise was abandoned because of the board's fear of paganism is, so far as I know, pure fabrication, whoever may have told you, and I feel sure our board would deny this to the man. Indeed, as you say, they have fought this narrow sectarianism from the beginning.
In a day of cynicism about youth, you have helped the world know there is still a place turning out wholesome, healthy and dedicated young people committed to a life of leadership and service. It will encourage them to know there are many who desire to be part of the solution and not the problem.
The tragic events of the past few days, involving our President, who was a member of our board and who had deep convictions about our purposes, only underscore the importance of what we are trying to do in our modest way. You have helped us in a difficult day and task, and we are grateful. George Wood is right; it does seem easier to get money for putting a missile on the moon than to educate leaders who know how to get a man out of a boy.
President, Springfield College
I think teaching young men and women to play ring-around-a-rosy is just as important as teaching young men how to travel to the moon. If I had not believed this I would not have spent the best years of my life in teaching kids to play. Robert Boyle has said exactly what I would have liked to say. Thank you very much.
RALPH S. CUMMINGS
ONLY MAN O' WAR
I am afraid I disagree with the title of Whitney Tower's interesting article, Move Over, Man o' War (Nov. 11). It might better have been: Move Over, Exterminator. I am the son of the late Commander J.K.L. Ross, owner of Sir Barton, who was the first winner of the Triple Crown. I was in my late teens at that time and therefore knew Man o' War and Exterminator well. As you must be aware, it is almost impossible to compare the greatness of today's Thoroughbreds with those of the near or distant past. The yardsticks of money earned and time records are useless. Sir Barton's Triple Crown earnings totaled a mere $57,000, while Man o' War's lifetime total was just under $250,000! Furthermore, time records in any sport are made to be broken. This is particularly true of racing. The improvement in track conditions alone since the early 1920s has been phenomenal. Man o' War retired with five American time records to his credit, at distances from one mile to 1? miles. All these have long since been eclipsed.
In my humble opinion, however, there are two almost infallible yardsticks for the assessment of true greatness: the racing record of the horse himself and the class of his contemporaries whom he met in competition. Man o' War went to the post on 21 occasions. He was narrowly and unluckily beaten only once. He could run in any kind of going, and on several occasions he carried very high weight.
To date, Kelso has faced the starter 45 times. He has been beaten in no fewer than 14 of these starts! Apparently, he does not run as well on grass as on the dirt.
Man o' War opponents were of the highest caliber. He defeated such outstanding horses as Sir Barton, John P. Grier, Upset, Wildair, Blazes and On Watch. In the Potomac Handicap at Havre de Grace in September, 1920, he carried 138 pounds and defeated Wildair, to whom he was conceding 30 pounds, Blazes and Paul Jones. This contest was one of the most amazing performances I have ever witnessed.