THE OLD SAVAGERY
First it was your hilarious probe of the Heidi incident (Television and Spoil, Dec. 22 et seq.), then the true story of Booth Lusteg ("The Coach Wants to See Yon," Sept. 21). Now Alex Hawkins tells all (My Career (So to Speak), Nov. 16 et seq.). These have to be the three funniest stories in the history of football. What will SI ever find for an encore?
The Columbia Record
I would like to compliment Alex Hawkins on an interesting article. However, by portraying an established star like Tom Matte in the manner that he did he has done him an injustice. Tom Matte doesn't lack ability. What is lacking is Alex Hawkins' ability to recognize something that transcends physical ability. If an athlete doesn't have truly outstanding natural skills, he can rise above this deficiency with extra effort and dedication. These are inborn characteristics of all great athletes.
BOB VANDER SCHOOR
Good old Captain Who has outdone himself again. He is just as slick now as he was in his playing days (when he was enjoying the full benefit of his various escape routes to hotels and bars after curfew). Nevertheless, I think Hawkins has something going when he mentions the "secure" football players of today. With the advent of huge contracts and player pension funds, some of the old savagery of pro football has disappeared (forgive me, Dick Butkus). Remember the good old days when guys like Red Grange, Norman Van Brocklin, Alan Ameche and John Henry Johnson really had to work to bring home the bread?
Chip Oliver was saying almost the same thing (Wow, Like Let's Really Try to Win, Oct. 12). He claimed that football was harder in college than in the pros. I believe him. Heck, these college kids don't worry about getting hurt—they just give it the old college try and go out and crack heads.
Alex Hawkins comes through as a man who is his own person. While some will contest his views about the types of players today versus those of the 1950s and about whether giving the players a sense of security is bad for the game, for me they explain why I am quite able now to leave a game (at the park or on TV) before it has been completed. I am bored. We needed the Hawkins type of player to establish the game just as we needed the Frank Lukes to establish aviation. But where is the excitement today in visiting an airport? Sorry, Alex, this is progress.
It appears to me that when Alex Hawkins relates his being in the broadcasting business to being a part of football and putting off growing up he is being extremely modest. A man who can and will write about his "inadequacies" in such a manner is as big a man as there is. Professional sports could use more like him.
I commend you on the article What a Way to Make a Living (Nov. 16), which clearly shows that it takes physical endurance to play the game of football. Instead of glorifying the quarterbacks, who many people say play the hardest position, you have highlighted the men who really play the toughest and the most painful position in all of pro football. The number of injuries proves it. A running back lasts an average of five to six years, but there are a couple of quarterbacks who were playing before most of the current running backs were born.
New York City
I thought a running back just ran, blocked and caught passes, instead of being clobbered. The story Mac Arthur Lane told to Robert Jones was great.
CALVIN AND GOLIATH
Congratulations on a fine article (Calvin and the Kiddie Corps, Nov. 16). After four outstanding years at Niagara, Calvin Murphy has certainly proved that the little man is back to stay in professional basketball. San Diego has a gold mine in Calvin. He and other members of the kiddie corps have shown that it wasn't only David who slew the giant.
BLAIR J. CIKLIN
New Concord, Ohio
I enjoyed your article, but I was surprised that you limited your discussion to guards and failed to note the increasing trend toward smaller, quicker players at all positions, especially in the NBA.