SI Vault
Edited by Gay Flood
November 13, 1978
HITS VS. RUNSSir:I could not believe my eyes when I saw the cover of your Oct. 30 issue. The Yankees won the World Series, there were big upsets in pro football and you chose to feature a marathon! How many people do you think are interested in that kind of stuff? I am disappointed in you.PHILIP MCKEON Woodland Hills, Calif.
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November 13, 1978

19th Hole: The Readers Take Over

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I lived in Evanston at about the time Jerry Kirshenbaum was a student at Northwestern. Ara Parsegian was a super coach. He maximized his talent to such a degree that Wildcat fans began to believe NU really belonged in the Big Ten. Subsequent events have proved otherwise. The Northwestern philosophy is out of sync with reality. NU should drop competitive athletics or go into a small-college conference. The status of Big Ten football has never been lower. The Big Eight, Southeastern, Southwest and Pac-10 conferences have all surpassed the Big Ten. Schools like Northwestern have no business playing football powers. Let's save what is left of a beautiful Big Ten memory and gel with it, before the conference falls into football oblivion.
San Jose, Calif.

Bravo, Northwestern! Leave professional football to the NFL and keep college athletics as a college activity for the benefit of students. NU athletes are the real winners in the Big Ten, regardless of what it says on the scoreboard.
Denton, Texas

I say a big "Amen" to Red Blaik's appraisal of your series on football brutality (19TH HOLE. Oct. 23). He summed it up best when he said, "Football is not a dainty game."

As a high school sophomore, I can tell you only what my coaches teach me—be tough, and be alert. We don't punch our opponents or spear them when they're down, but we do hit hard before they do it to us. We pursue and gang tackle and, yes, John Underwood, we hit the quarterback, too. If the quarterback is someone who can't be hit, then he shouldn't be playing. Football is not a game for sissies. Thanks, Red, for hitting the nail on the head.
Clarendon, Texas

On Oct. 15, when I saw Minnesota Quarterback Tommy Kramer's limbs twitching like a clean-killed buck's after that legal hit late in the Los Angeles game, I felt genuine nausea at being witness and perhaps silent party to such an act, however unintentional, of human degradation. Those coaches and players—quarterbacks among them—who insist that the passer can't be further protected without changing the game are only another illustration that the world is run by a C-level mentality. What they can't see is that the game is going to change whether they like it or not. In football as in all other endeavors, when something doesn't work, something new is devised.
Harrisonburg, Va.

The Indiana soccer team has no "secret," as you claimed in your article Hot Foot for the Hoosiers (Oct. 23). Hoosier Coach Jerry Yeagley and others, through their presence on the NCAA rules committee, have allowed the repeated substitution of several players during a game. What they have done, in effect, is to invent a new game that is foreign to the rest of the soccer-playing world.

The idea of soccer is that 11 well-conditioned men—with only a couple of substitutions—play 90 minutes of a game of tactics. By allowing seven substitutions, we Americans have invented a game called "90 miles an hour for 90 minutes" (to quote Coach Eddie Firmani of the Cosmos), which allows less talented and less capable players to compete because they can run at you for a short period and then be replaced by others who continue to do the same. This new game more closely resembles lacrosse and ice hockey than it does soccer.

We aren't doing our young men any favors by teaching them the soccer that we are playing in college, because when they compete with the rest of the world they will find out that they are indeed lacking.

In addition, I beg to differ with St. Louis Coach Harry Keough's statement that no team has ever beaten the Billikens three times in a row in season play. Clemson defeated St. Louis 2-1 in 1975, 3-1 in 1976 and 3-1 in 1977, all in regular-season play.
Head Soccer Coach
Clemson University
Clemson, S.C.

I have seldom, if ever, read such a brutal story as Horror in a High Country (Oct. 23) or one from such a biased viewpoint—that of the human hunter. What was the reason for publishing such a violent and disturbing piece of fiction? Was it to illustrate how pet dogs running in a pack can revert to savagery? This is unfortunately true, but the protagonist is even more savage because he is a killer by choice, not by instinct, and thus his killing is even more reprehensible than that done by the dogs.

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