SI Vault
October 18, 1971
SEEING REDSirs:As an impartial observer from Los Angeles, I am amazed how you can deny Nebraska the No. 1 spot in your football ratings (THE WEEK, Oct. 4), continually putting Notre Dame above the Cornhuskers.
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October 18, 1971

19th Hole: The Readers Take Over

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To those who are always perplexed at the failure of soccer to attain lasting popularity in the U.S. (Are We Finally Starting to Dig the World's Game?, Oct. 4), may I offer the following points as likely reasons:

1. Four major team sports (baseball, football, basketball, hockey) are already established in a year-round schedule; there are no "free seasons" lying around.

2. The quality of soccer in the U.S.—at all levels—is simply not high enough to be attractive to great numbers of fans.

3. There is a terribly small number of domestic players who make it to the pros and with whom spectators can identify.

Fortunately, Commissioner Phil Woosnam has understood that the problem lies not with the game itself, but rather with these hard facts of the American sporting scene. His ideas for a pro draft, a senior bowl and foreign-player quotas could work wonders. Our best players will be attracted by the realistic chance for a job and will improve immensely in top competition. Furthermore, their exposure as star collegians and developing professionals will make them attractions with whom the fans and young players can readily identify.
Willimantic, Conn.

A few people here may love the game, myself included, but Americans on the whole are not sufficiently civilized to appreciate a sport where the athletes don't attempt to crunch each other in order to win.
South Bound Brook, N.J.

I play soccer and see no reason why it won't catch on in America. Granted, the low scoring is a disadvantage, but so is it in ice hockey. But 60 minutes of continuous action can't be boring, and the one big advantage is, as Hugh McIlvanney stated, "You don't have to be a bull or a giraffe to play it."

It's about time we started digging the world's game. What would Pete Rozelle do if 200,000 fans showed up for the Super Bowl as they do at Wembley and other soccer stadiums around the world?
Williston Park, N.Y.

Baseball has died a little. The Washington Senators are no more (SCORECARD, Oct. 4). All of a sudden there is no next year. The loss will probably seem unimportant to most Americans. The Senators were not champions, only the butt of many a joke. But among the multitude of fans who grew up and lived with the Washington Senators as an integral part of life, the loss is deep felt and the bitterness great.

The people of Washington have stood by the Senators through as much adversity as any fans anywhere. We watched them rise from ineptitude to winners, only to have them moved out and replaced by more ineptitude. But we took the new team and loved it and dreamed of future victories. Now we are to make the ultimate sacrifice to bail out Owner Robert Short (may his name live in infamy), who managed to dig himself into a financial hole. He, with the help of the other owners to whom a couple more dollars mean more than anything, is shifting the team to Dallas-Fort Worth, leaving nothing behind but broken dreams. It is no wonder so many baseball fans are being turned off.

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