HOCKEY: UGLY AMERICANS?
Sports fans everywhere were certainly annoyed and disgusted to learn that our amateur hockey team members competing in Russia conducted themselves in such a disgraceful manner and gave such a poor account of themselves against our Russian opponents (Poor Show in Moscow, SI, Nov. 30). If we hope to impress the world then we should send nothing but the best, for its eyes are on America and everything we do. I, for one, think we should send the very best team we can muster, one sent there to win. Perhaps this calls for something better than our representatives up to this point.
S.A. LADD JR.
Last Wednesday my husband arrived home from a trip to Moscow. He had been there two weeks as a member of the Brockton amateur hockey team. After listening to him tell of his experiences, I couldn't help but think what a wonderful thing it is to live in a country like the United States. Where else but here could a man like my husband who plays hockey not as a profession but as a sport be given the opportunity to make such a trip?
Then this morning I read your editorial, and apparently I have missed the whole point of the venture. I had not realized that the team was sent to Moscow to win hockey games—period. I consider myself far from being well-educated in the field of hockey and hockey games and teams, and yet I knew even before they left-that the chances of the Brockton team returning home with a victory were pretty slim. Even I knew that the Brockton Club had only played one game using international rules, which I'm sure you will agree are quite unlike the American Hockey Association rules. And though Brockton's team has the title of national Amateur Champions, they are still amateurs and can hardly be expected to beat teams comparable to our best professionals. And yet according to your article that's exactly what they were expected to do.
Isn't it too bad that all the team must be made a target of criticism because of the misconduct of a few? How much better it would have been if Mr. Stevens could have found time to interview a few of the players themselves instead of wasting his time digging for gossip.
MRS. JAMES CISTERNELLI
Your article on the Brockton Hockey Club has cast an unjust shroud over our team and our city. Our team may have an apology to make to both Americans and Soviets alike, but we in Brockton will wait for an explanation before we condemn them. It was our understanding that this was the American way.
Our men were truly outclassed on the ice; we make no alibis for this. There are none required, as the boys did their best. Until I read your article, I thought that that was all that was asked of any American athlete representing his country. Your derisive comments on their "Amateur Champions" title is not only in bad taste but as well-timed as a gopher ball in the last of the ninth with a one-run lead. It is unfortunate that you forgot to publish this information before they were beaten so badly, as you had undoubtedly intended to do.
If apologies are in order from us they will come. How about you?
WILLIAM J. BRENNAN
? Walter A. Brown, vice-president of the Amateur Hockey Association, announced he would apologize to the Russians for the unruly behavior reported by SPORTS ILLUSTRATED. Said Brown: "I will accept the responsibility if gentlemen such as Edmund Stevens said they misbehaved."—ED.
FOOTBALL: IVY LEAGUERS
Since the motto of most Ivy League graduates is, "Up Ivy League; down western, midwestern and southern conferences," your article Here Are the Best of the Ivies (SI, Nov. 30) was a feast for us after a long famine. The picture of Ravenel trying to find his receiver was a beauty.
The football isn't so bad after all. Columbia, winner of only two games in the East, proved itself a better team than any the West could produce. Want me to prove it? Columbia beat Brown 21 to 6. Brown beat Harvard 16 to 6. Harvard beat Penn 12 to 0. Penn tied Navy. Navy beat Army 43 to 12. Army lost to Oklahoma by only 8 points. Consequently Columbia is 60 points better than Oklahoma. But I would hate to bet on it.
ROBERT W. WOOD JR.