SI Vault
Edited by Gay Flood
November 05, 1979
BEST TEAMSir:I would like to congratulate the Pittsburgh Pirates on their sensational comeback victory over the Orioles, and I also would like to congratulate you for looking into your crystal ball and coming up with the article Pitt, the City Where They Hit in your April 9 Baseball Issue. The '79 Pirates didn't let that tradition down. Dave Parker said it all when he raised his index finger in the air on the cover of the Baseball Issue.PETER MARINELLOAlbertson, N.Y.
Decrease font Decrease font
Enlarge font Enlarge font
November 05, 1979

19th Hole: The Readers Take Over

View CoverRead All Articles View This Issue
1 2

It's obviously time to brush up on Tom Ferguson, a big name in sports these days.
Redvale, Colo.

The title of your SCORECARD item was "Sons of Ferg." It would have been more appropriate if it had been "Sons of Fergus." In The Origin and Signification of Scottish Surnames it says: "Ferguson. The son of Fergus, which signifies a brave chieftain...." As for the athletes you have mentioned, would you have expected anything less from the Ferguson clan?
South Windsor, Conn.

As a fellow soccer coach and coordinator for youth soccer, I empathize with Dan Woog having to cut from his soccer team earnest and deserving young children not talented enough to make it (VIEWPOINT, Oct. 15). I don't think there is anything that can be done to make the coach's life any easier in this respect. It may be the most painful part of the job. But maybe something can be done for those youngsters who tried and didn't make it. Instead of calling just those who made the team on the final cut night, why not also call those who didn't and thank them for trying?

Woog mentioned that he wishes he could "come up with the right combination of words to let [the player who has been cut] know that I still respect and admire the way he gave his best." Maybe Woog could try harder.
Youth Soccer Coordinator
Mamaroneck, N.Y.

As a high school soccer and basketball coach, I couldn't help identifying with Dan Woog as he shared his feelings about "cut time." One thing, however, really surprised me, and that was Woog's method for notifying the chosen players by phone. If a youngster has the courage to put himself on the line and try out for the team, risking failure in front of his peers, I certainly owe it to him to tell him face to face what my decision is. I definitely could not let an unmade phone call give him that message.
Varsity Soccer Coach
Centennial High School
Ellicott City, Md.

In a sanctimonious way, Dan Woog gave a capsule summary of what is wrong with youth sports today. If he would spend less time worrying about international junkets for his selected, sub-teen superstars and more time trying to organize a couple of more teams for the remaining 30 kids, he would never have to go through the "agonizing" experience of telling a 12-year-old that he cannot compete in organized sports.

Dan Woog's dilemma is summed up in his sixth paragraph, "...great trips to sunny Florida. We toured Virginia, Canada and Europe... Giants Stadium in 1977...trimming the 40 or 50 boys who show up at tryouts to a manageable squad of 18."

That's too much, too soon, for too few 12-year-old boys, and such an approach exploits the talents of the few at the expense of conducting a far less sophisticated grass-roots program that serves the needs of the many. As long as there are those who espouse this doctrine, Woog's agony (and that of a tremendous number of kids) will continue.
Parks & Recreation
Narragansett, R.I.

Dan Woog's story about having to cut a total of 40 or 50 applicants to a manageable squad of 18 soccer players is touching, but let him take heart. The American Youth Soccer Organization will take every one of his rejects, even the "eight or 10 least talented," and put them on balanced teams where everyone plays ( AYSO's motto) at least half of each game, which is probably a lot more action than the last few players on Dan's squad will see during the season.

Not only that, but the players will have just as good a chance of being in a soccer movie (which has happened more than once to an AYSO team), or of performing before a large crowd or taking a cultural trip abroad or within the U.S.; and all of this without the least risk of heartbreak, however temporary. AYSO's program applies equally to boys and girls between the ages of five and 18.
American Youth Soccer Organization
Inglewood, Calif.

1 2