I was deeply moved by The President Who Loved Sport (Dec. 2). Not by what you said of the physical condition of President Kennedy or his attitude toward sport. I already knew that. But by the way in which the author described his concern with the "spectating" American. Your editorial will become a permanent part of my coaching portfolio, and the memories of this great American a permanent part of my life.
MACK C. WIEBE
Chula Vista, Calif.
The article giving the views of your 1963 Silver Anniversary award winners on football today was interesting (A Very Hard Look at Football, Dec. 2), but the remarks of one of the former greats, Dr. Martin Hilfinger, should not go unchallenged. "I'm not aware of any college seeking out prospective top scholars," he says. Where has this man been since the beginning of the "sputnik age"?
I suggest Dr. Hilfinger consult the nearest metropolitan daily on or about Sept. 25, 1963 and look over the list of National Merit Scholarship semifinalists, select a couple and contact them or their parents. He will, I am sure, get the surprise of his life. Most, if not necessarily all, colleges solicit top scholars, and in a most dignified manner. As the father of one of these semifinalists, I am in a position to know.
WALTER M. FENTON
Your silver goal-post winner, Brigadier General John W. Dobson, disapproving of the "hypocrisy" and professionalism in college football, says that "Except for the Ivy League and the military academies, the football team does not belong to the student body," implying that only in these institutions does it remain strictly "amateur." Yet, on another page of this same issue (A Setting for Greatness at Philadelphia) we learn that Midshipman Roger Staubach went to New Mexico Military Institute, and 23 other Navy players attended preparatory schools, all with the help of something called the Naval Academy Foundation; that Guard Fred Marlin played for Western Maryland as far back as 1958 (and will still be playing for Navy in 1964).
It is widely known that the military academy follows the same practice and, in addition, pursues the quaint custom of taking athletes out of high school before they graduate to prepare them for the rigors of military life at a "cram" school.
All coaches are aware that the three service academies have a well-organized and aggressive system of national recruiting, with a head start on all other recruiters since they have a built-in system of financing athletic talent. The education of all midshipmen and cadets is paid for by the nation's taxpayers.
I read recently in another magazine that "Rog" failed to pass the Naval Academy entrance examination. If indeed he (and the 23 others) were "not there to play football," would the good-hearted old Naval Academy Foundation have financed his high-school education? Brigadier General Dobson, who mentions the Ivy League and the military academies in the same breath regarding football, is apparently ignorant of the activities at Annapolis.
J. MICHAEL KITCH
I have never read a more inane or inaccurate article than the one on Springfield College by Robert H. Boyle (Spirit, Mind, Body, Dec. 2).
I am not a Springfield graduate, but the article pictured a bunch of polite, brainless, sexless, inept athletes going around saying "Hi" to everyone.