MORE THAN A NUMBER
Congratulations to William Leggett for a splendid article on Frank Ervin (The Classicist from Pekin, Feb. 27). Too often followers (and bettors) of racing look upon the record of a horse as merely the result of its natural ability, not the result of the long hours of work put in by men like Ervin. For the past 15 years I've followed harness racing closely, especially the exploits of Mr. Ervin, and in that length of time, and more, very little accolade has gone the way of men like him. Most of it has been showered on the heroes of the so-called sophisticated night-racing tracks, the men who "bring home" four or five winners every night.
This is a shame! Although places like Roosevelt and Yonkers in New York, Liberty Bell in Philadelphia and Sportsman's Park in Chicago have brought harness racing to the fore of America's spectator sports, they've done it by clouding with numbers the true beauty of racing. Gimmicks like the daily double, twin double, perfecta, exacta and quinella have replaced the real meaning of harness racing: racing for racing's sake.
For the true fan of racing nothing can top viewing a master of driving like Ervin guiding a horse to a win in a pressure-filled race such as The Hambletonian or Little Brown Jug. Events like these are built on tradition and performance, not spotlights and a $2 bill. No matter how good a horse may be, it takes men like Frank Ervin to bring that talent out. So when Mr. Ervin points his horse at the crowd and doffs his cap, he has every right to do so.
Lisbon Falls, Me.
I have been fortunate enough to play college hockey for several years and pro hockey for one year, and I am wholeheartedly opposed to modeling any game after professional hockey (SCORECARD, Feb. 20). I dread the thought of total ice checking in a college game when one club is outweighed.
Pro hockey exists primarily for the benefit of the owners' pocketbooks; the more blood shed, the more tickets sold. Amateur sports, and I include college hockey in this category, are theoretically pursued for the development of body and mind. I seriously doubt whether the future earning power of the participants should have any bearing on the rules of the college sport. Not every college athlete wants to spend his life as a piece of property, being drafted, bought, sold, traded and generally underpaid.
Professional sports have already damaged college football and basketball by introducing the power of the almighty dollar to young and unseasoned minds. If indeed there is anything wrong with college hockey right now, it is that finances are already too important.
W. GODFREY WOOD
I think your SCORECARD item entitled "Compromise on Ice" is highly commendable and the best thing to hit hockey since Gordie Howe. After watching many Michigan State and Detroit Red Wing hockey games, I can see how your suggestions could help enliven each kind of hockey. Body checking all over the ice would provide the finishing touch the college sport needs in order to become an even greater attraction. And the adoption by the NHL of the two line pass could create more exciting games out of tight-checking, defensive stalemates. I hope the proper authorities saw your article and that they take appropriate action.
East Lansing, Mich.
I am greatly dismayed at the stand you have taken. I refer to your advocating the abolition of the one-line pass rule in the pro game. True, this would loosen the game and make it more spectacular for some fans, but this somehow seems tantamount to such idiocies as cutting football teams to eight men, or moving in all baseball-park fences 100 feet. There would be more scoring, but the game would be ruined. The goalie has a tough job as it is. Open passing would make the most difficult job in sport impossible.
Professional hockey as it is now is a game of defense as well as offense. Let's keep it that way.
LITTLE ENGINE THAT COULD
To say the least, I am a bit irritated by your recent articles concerning Ford's wins over Ferrari in 1966 and Ferrari's successful comeback in the 1967 Daytona race (Sudden Revenge for Ferrari, Feb. 13). I feel that a little more than half a sentence should have been given to the Porsches, which last year beat the Ferraris at Sebring, and, this time, at Daytona, ended up ahead of the Fords.