In the first place: it wasn't the small band of college football players, or any other minute group of special-privilege specialists who won the war (or shall we say fought the war), it was all of us normally developed, and normally underdeveloped, normal citizens. The football players were mostly in the states playing football—on the Great Lakes team or on numerous cadre posts about the U.S. In fact SI had an article a short time ago on the sad state of American muscles under our national "sports for the superman only" policy (The Report that Shocked the President, SI, Aug. 15).
What stung me though was his Rover-boyish reference to the fight a Babe Zaharias makes when she runs up against cancer. You see my father had run up against this same ungentle opponent. He wasn't a publicized athlete, having gone to work at the age of 14 years, but he put up a fight, without benefit of news cameras, that would have shamed a squadron of Babe Zahariases. The fact that, one week before, upon his being declared loser of that very vicious struggle, the local newspaper got his name wrong in their brief summary of the game has nothing to do with this letter. We have that kind of newspaper.
I guess what I have in mind is that Frank is probably a nice boy; and he probably taught his football players to be nice boys; but what this world needs, an awful lot, is adults.
St. Paul, Minn.
TO PLAY THE GAME
In the Frank Leahy story, the author, Gerald Holland, mentioned that framed above Mr. Leahy's desk was "A Game Guy's Prayer."
I was wondering if it would be possible for you to let us have the prayer in full.
BERNARD F. SULLIVAN
Fall River, Mass.
?The prayer, by an unknown author, reads as follows:
"Dear God, help me to be a sport in this little game of life. I don't ask for an easy place in the lineup—play me anywhere You need me. I only ask for the stuff to give You 100% of what I've got and if all the tough breaks seem to come my way, I thank You for the compliment. Help me to remember that You won't ever let anything come my way that You and I together can't handle and help me to take bad breaks as a part of the game. Help me to understand that the game is full of knocks and trouble and make me thankful for them and help me to get so that the harder they come the better I like it. And, O God, help me to always play on the square no matter what the other players do. Help me to study and think a lot about the Greatest Player that lived and other great players that are told about in the Book. And if they found out that the best part of the game is helping other guys who are out of luck, help me to find it out too. Help me to be a regular fellow with the other players. Finally, O God, if fate seems to uppercut me with both hands and I am laid on the shelf in sickness or old age or something, help me to take that as part of the game too. And help me not to whimper or squeal that the game was a frame-up or that I had a raw deal. And when, in the falling dusk, I get the final bell, I ask for no lying, complimentary stones. I'd only like to know that You feel that I have been a good game guy."—ED.
A LITTLE SCHEME
John Gillooly's searching look into Boston boxing (COLUMN OF THE WEEK, Nov. 7) landed right smack in my wheelhouse as I have seen service under the banner of the Boston promoters. The behind-the-scenes ones as well as the front men. As far as the Gillooly column goes it's just a little verbal shadowboxing. Like a Bikini suit, it covers some interesting points, but it's up to you fellows to continue your digging if boxing is to be saved.
I've been thinking of a little scheme whereby I might throw my small weight behind your efforts in behalf of boxing. Knowing the setup pretty thoroughly and realizing your task, I'm amazed at the stuff you have dug up and printed. Not that they are state secrets, but you're not supposed to print that stuff. At any rate I have been working out an idea whereby I could teach my television viewers how to understand the scoring system. I think that if you can score a fight fairly right you can get more enjoyment out of it. Now how would you like to take the ball from here and get this idea across. If you can teach the people to score, they will get behind your efforts and thank you for a job well done.
That's all from this corner.