BETWEEN THE LINES
Congratulations to a splendid magazine. For a sports-minded family, it's terrific! I read the Knox story out loud to my sons, and I know they read between the lines, I fervently pray!
It was exceedingly provocative, and if Pappy wasn't the son of a minister, and a gentleman first, before coach, one Mr. Knox would be whining now that he never even had a chance to finish his side of the story. We like our football in the Big Ten, too, and Cal hasn't done so badly since Pappy went West.
Either our hero, Mr. Knox, should start his own coaching school or set up a one-man football game to display the talent and prowess of his Ronnie. Forget about the other ten on the team, and boys on the bench tensely waiting for their moment. Coaches would be extra baggage, as they might accidentally teach sportsmanship along with the game!
Sure, I've heard many stories of rotten breaks and blunder plays, but such is this stumbling world. I recall a guy who went to my university, the most highly touted high-school boy in the state of Illinois. That he was, and it hurt because mysteriously that greater college glory was always elusive. Let's hope he carries no grudge. Another guy, vividly in my mind, is Otto Graham. N.U. was taking a terrific shellacking at the hands of Michigan, but after the game his name was uppermost on everyone's lips at Ann Arbor, in spite of losing. He's done right well in pro football, and I suspect will adjust to ordinary living when the football days are over, and not bowed down by any chip on his shoulder.
There are times when all parents are sorely tempted to coach and quarterback and feel their kids are not getting the breaks. However, let's keep it a kid game for the kids!! And any smart coach will accept majority opinion of a team to try and win. My boy is playing the game with a team, with coaches, and when the chips are down, no passing of the buck allowed. I hope that kid becomes a man!
Arlington Heights, Ill.
THE MEN AND THE BOYS
...When they start separating the men from the boys, Ronnie and his Dad are just kids.
THE MODERATE APPROACH
Harvey Knox's article is an attempted rationale for his controversial actions. His defense leaves me unconvinced. At best, one can only partially sympathize with his case against Pappy Waldorf and the University of California. With such a high-school record, Ronnie Knox must surely be loaded with football talent?something the old man did not prove in himself. It is indeed unfortunate if the Cal coaching staff reacted to father Knox's enthusiastic efforts with unfulfilled promises and no opportunity for Ronnie to show his athletic prowess. However some aspects of Harvey Knox's general attitude remain very disturbing.
One must admire Knox for a deep interest in his stepchildren's talents and their development for the future; many parents, devoid of such interest, fail to cultivate and encourage the talents of their children. Here may be a partial explanation for the wave of juvenile delinquency. Nevertheless, Knox's enthusiasm in his children is excessive. In assisting them he has become over-aggressive and irrational. Ronnie and Patricia Knox could legitimately resent their father's undue influence upon their lives.
Knox seems unable to place athletics in their proper perspective. This was exemplified by the continuous household moves during Ronnie's three years in senior high school. The term, "Migratory Knoxes," does not seem entirely unjustified. The sole and admitted basis for such meandering was the football situation at each of the schools. Athletics have assumed an important place in our modern educational system, but they hardly represent adequate reason for shifting from one Los Angeles suburb to another. Settling in a new environment is a great challenge to any person; for Ronnie the problem must have been reinforced by its frequent occurrence. These incredible moves and their astonishing basis are candidly admitted by Knox; thus he indicates that he does not perceive this overemphasis on athletics.
Knox complains bitterly about the "Curbstone Cuties," i.e., alumni proselyters. Yet his attitude toward college athletics is but one step higher. His approach is better only because he is resolute and candid. Whether you take Harvey Knox or the "Curbstone Cuties," you still are left with college athletics professional style. Knox only eliminates the hedging and covering-up in a modern proselytization program.