PEAKS AND PITFALLS
I wish to commend you for printing the article A Debt was Paid Off in Tears (Nov. 11) by Dr. Roger Bannister. Like Dr. Bannister and countless others, I was quite irate that the Olympics were being held in Mexico City, and I grew even more so while watching the effects of the altitude on the athletes.
It is about time the International Olympic Committee recognized the fact that the Olympic Games are held for, and, in fact, are made up of, the competing athletes. It seems to me that Mr. Brundage and the IOC have come to regard the athlete as just another aspect of the "Olympic Games Spectacle." This became painfully evident with the decision to allow only seven athletes from each nation to march in the closing ceremony.
New York City
BEARDS AND BEARS
As a booster of California athletics, as a student and as an alumnus, I was happy to see your recognition of a fine Golden Bear football team (Beards Are Cooled but the Bears Are Hot, Nov. 4). While entertaining, however, Alfred Wright's article failed to accomplish its apparent goal of dispelling the fallacy that Cal is all beatnik, hippie or yippie. Having been active in student-government affairs during the Free Speech Movement, which gave the school its ill-deserved label, I can assure you that most Cal students are normal.
Regardless of the team's record, the Berkeley faithful have trudged up the hill to the stadium to witness the color when the football fortunes were low. May I remind you and the readers that Cal still has the best halftime show of all. Berkeley claims to be the first to originate card stunts and has the largest and finest display anywhere; and The Pride of California, the band, is also superlative. Both are sponsored by the Associated Students, not the university.
Supergov may be heartened by the football success, but never to the extent that loyal students and alumni are.
CARL D. JACOBS
Perhaps if Alfred Wright (Max Rafferty's nom de plume?) spent less time in the barbershop getting his crew cut trimmed and more time investigating the truth, he would be more of a journalist and less of a propagandist. Here at Berkeley some of us "beards" are proud of our fine football team. However, we are prouder that our values are such that education and social consciousness come first.
I don't mind Mr. Wright's faulty and misguided views of the campus political scene. After all, everyone takes his pokes at Berkeley. But why such inept coverage of the learn? It would seem, following SI's enlightening series on racism in sports, that Cal's problems and solutions would have been of definite interest. Mr. Wright passes over them lightly. It took a walkout by the black squad members the week before the annual spring intersquad scrimmage to bring the problems into the open. Black protests against lack of communication and understanding and the stacking of blacks against each other at certain positions were among the grievances presented to Coach Willsey. From this boycott came the hiring of Mr. Erby as an assistant coach and the shifting of Paul Williams to flanker and Gary Fowler to tailback. This not only eliminated the stacking of Williams and Bob Darby at one position, but provided in Flanker Williams the first game-breaking threat Cal has seen in many a year. The tailback combination of Fowler and Darby scored nine touchdowns in seven games.
And why did Mr. Wright choose to emphasize the futility of the Syracuse team rather than Cal's success? No mention was made of the fact that Cal was leading the nation in defense, giving up only 5.6 points per game, while later in this same issue defense in college football is pronounced dead. Cal wins with defense. We may not have the greatest athletes, but every one of them hits hard. Ask Syracuse. Ask UCLA.
Jan Stenerud is certainly an excellent field-goal kicker, as Pat Putnam pointed out (Big Kick out of a Strange Game, Nov. 4). However, let us not forget Ted Gerela of the British Columbia Lions. In a Canadian Football League contest on Nov. 2 against Saskatchewan, he booted his 29th and 30th field goals of the season to break the professional record that was held by Pete Gogolak and Bruce Gossett.
Throughout the season Gerela hit with amazing distance and accuracy, frequently from more than 50 yards out. So there is a strong-legged one up here, as well.