Time and again I have read in SPORTS ILLUSTRATED instances involving golf, baseball and football wherein sly evasions of the honest way were reported with no criticism, e.g., Snead, while waiting for a decision on a lie in the rough, walking down the rough until the ball was eminently hittable; the sad example of our colleges in the general attitude toward football. It seems we just do not know where deviation sets in; to show how blind we are in such matters, nothing is observed or said or done until the foulness creates a stench. How limited is the consideration of such absolutes as honesty and virtue when violations in plain sight are overlooked or even lauded?
But the true malaise of the quiz shows was inherent even had they not proved such a mock of entertainment values. The real failure was in the conditioning of the populace to the idea that honest work is for idiots, that somehow there is an angle, a method or someone who can short-cut the messy process of work. This sickness is endemic. It is so because we do not know or wish to really explore the ways to let others live with dignity and integrity. Incidentally, it is curious that Marion Hank's quote—"What we really want for our young people is that they be fit to live meaningfully, etc., etc., etc." omits that one word, dignity, which represents in a word the historical striving of man to the present date.
What is true and honest is this: our "best" people have failed us in setting standards of conduct consistent with our ideals.
?Delegate Hanks did not use the word dignity in his plea for total fitness, but he did suggest as much when he said: "While we plan how to develop the physical prowess and the intellectual power of a man or boy, we must also recognize the absolute indispensability of seeking to implant and encourage the character, moral responsibility and spiritual strength which will move him to employ his talents ethically, intelligently and maturely for good and uplifting purposes."—ED.
You quote Tennessee Coach Wyatt as saying he never heard of an animal winning a football game ("Houn' Dawg," EVENTS & DISCOVERIES, Oct. 26). It seems Ole Bowden Wyatt is either too young or simply unknowing of the 1927 game between Latham Tech and Antietam.
The Latham Tech team, known as the Ducks, was fighting a losing streak of 16 when it came into its homecoming against Antietam. An enterprising sophomore, name of Latham Parks—no relation to the college—had trained a mallard drake, called Clarence, to come to hand by feeding him bread, suet and brandy. It got so that old duck would waddle along the sidelines and then take off, make a swing, come back to young Parks on the bench and get his bread, suet and brandy. Naturally, he was the team's mascot.
Now, this string of 16 losses was most depressing to Clarence as he'd come to take a keen interest in the game and, of course, his team. So, fearing another loss, Clarence took off and got himself boiled as an owl. In fact, he got so plastered he didn't get to the game till the last quarter—when, with the score 0-3 against Latham, the Antietam halfback was preparing to punt from behind his goal line. Latham, fearing that the worst had befallen its mascot, had played a whale of a game up to then.
Sizing up the situation in a flash and emboldened by the false courage, at the snap of the ball Clarence took off, met the high punt as it was going over the line of scrimmage and worried it into the end zone, where it was caught by a Latham tackle for a touchdown and victory.
Old Clarence was never up to his usual force again, but he lives forever in the hearts of all old Lathamians.
The following year Latham Tech adopted the motto "Ever Be Kind to Your Web-footed Friends." You might call this a duck-filled platitude.