The age of the hero is gone. The age of the individual is past. Collective bargaining is the name of the game. It must seem suspicious to any reasonable man that all votes by the various players' associations are unanimous. Can 1,000 men with minds ever agree on anything? Unanimously?
Your reader chose poor examples to sustain his untenable position. Can anyone deny that the glamour has vanished from the theater and from Hollywood? Does anyone believe that a tenth of the romanticism remains in the newspaper business?
Collective bargaining is a democratic right, he says. Not a right in most places, alas, but a requirement. There is no democracy in it. One must belong to the appropriate union or one cannot have the job. The choice is gone. Freedom is gone. It is another victory for the totalitarianism of unions.
There are too few Alex Hawkinses left in this country. Mike Curtis showed rare courage by revolting against his union. Let us hope that someday other athletes will have the strength and morality to do the same. It would be nice to watch individuals compete again, to root for a man in a battle of heroes. Until then, we must ignore sport or watch two guys with lunch pails, representatives of Local 765, ho-hum their way through the day. After all, they don't have to win or even perform well. They have their security. Management can't fire them, because they're in the union and they have seniority.
Your reader's dissent relative to Alex Hawkins' dismissal of the NFL Players' Association compares that association with Actors' Equity and the Newspaper Guild. How many legitimate plays are successful on Broadway today? How many newspapers are left in New York City? One bright spot remains. When Alex' logical prediction comes true, we won't have to listen to Howard Cosell on Monday night. No strong union will put up with those working hours.
As a sometime student at the University of Chicago and a full-time member of the Kazoo Marching Band, Loyalist Fez Faction, I express my thanks for Herman Weiskopf's depiction of varsity football here (Chicago Is a Toddlin' Team, Nov. 27). With today's emphasis on victory at any price (in order to fill massive stadiums for the purpose of fattening, or in most cases balancing, athletic-department coffers), it is refreshing to witness a program that is truly centered on the wants and needs of the student who is incidentally an athlete, and not the other way around. Improvement in the caliber of the football program at Chicago will come, but never at the cost of sacrificing student interests for the interests of mere victory or masked professionalism.
Who knows, given a few brief decades of gradual improvement, we could end up as the westernmost member of that conference of football factories known as the Ivy League!
THOMAS M. BODENBERG
I do hate to correct the representatives of that noted home of academia quoted in Dan Jenkins' article on USC (That's Not Thunder You Hear, It's USC, Nov. 27), but UCLA's football program, along with the rest of its athletic program, is self-sufficient and not supported by taxation.
Perhaps if the individuals so quoted had been attending the "Radcliffe of the West," they would be receiving an education along with their football training and would be less likely to make such a false accusation. Perhaps, too, they would have experienced the satisfaction of winning two straight Rose Bowls (a triumph not recorded by USC since 1945).
No, that's not thunder you hear in Los Angeles—it's arrogance. Instead of gaining the humility which hopefully might come from being evicted from their Pasadena "home" for two years, the football factory is returning to its old ways. With a "neat sense of humor." I suppose, one is permitted a disdain for sportsmanship.
Santa Ana, Calif.