I found your article Spiking the Side-kick Issue (April 10) quite interesting. However, I don't think that your use of Bobby Charlton in this experiment was too fair a test. The soccer player spends his life trying to perfect a hard shot between the uprights a foot or two off the ground. In your test he was required to put the ball through the uprights 20 or more feet in the air—something that he has tried to avoid doing all his life. Of course, you did make mention of this in your article.
The "soccer-style" kick, as we use it here, is soccer-style only in the manner in which the foot meets the ball. No soccer player is called upon to make such a kick in his game.
I think you should have gone about 12,000 miles in the other direction. The game of Australian Rules football is much like Rugby except that there are 18 players on a side and a larger field is used. It is strictly a kicking game, with great emphasis on the field goal from placement and by dropkick. The records for this type of kick are a good 20 yards better than anything in our books. Kicks of better than 70 yards are quite common. Perhaps this is where the pros and, maybe, even the colleges should turn for talent.
CHARLES F. OSBORN
As a medical student and former aspirant to a place-kicking career in college football, I believe that I can make a few points about human anatomy that will add some light to the soccer-style vs. American-style controversy in place-kicking.
Primarily two sets of muscles are involved in the American kick, those that extend the knee and those that flex the hip joint during the follow-through. The soccer kick uses all of these muscles and adds, with its out-side-in sweep, an entirely new set of muscles, the adductors on the medial side of the leg. In addition, the soccer style allows a less-restricted movement in cocking the knee before the kick. This movement in the American style is hampered by a direct stretching of the extensor muscles on the front of the leg. On the basis of greater muscle involvement, I would have to conclude that the soccer-style is potentially a more powerful kick.
An experimental test of this kind of qualitative conclusion is always welcomed. But, unfortunately, the SPORTS ILLUSTRATED experiment is not valid. Aside from the weight advantage enjoyed by the Americans, the fact that the soccer kicker was asked to do something he had never trained to do—i.e., kick an unfamiliar ball over, instead of under, the bar—tends to throw serious doubt on the adequacy of the contest. A better control of experimental variables would be to let Baker and Mercer challenge the Gogolaks. Even then you might conclude that some kickers are better than others, but the contest would be more interesting.
JOHN W. BRANTIGAN
Concerning your SCORECARD note (April 17) about a giant Monopoly game scheduled to be played at Juniata College on April 29, we thought your readers might be interested in seeing a photograph (left) of the giant version of the game recently played between Mount Holyoke and Yale students here on the Mount Holyoke campus. One of the unusual features of the game was that students took the place of tokens on the big board. We think it was probably the biggest Monopoly game ever played—at least, to date.
Incidentally, the Yale team won.
JON R. NYBERG
South Hadley, Mass.
They say there is a jinx associated with appearing in your magazine, so Jack Nicklaus' performance in the 1967 Masters golf tournament is easily explained by his appearance on your April 10 cover.
But I thought nonsports people would be immune to the whammy. That's just not so. After reading in the same issue your article on the televising of the tournament (An Eye on the Masters), I sat down to watch Sunday's finale, and CBS botched it up. I've never heard a more confused group of people. Don't blame their incompetence on the AFTRA strike, either, since ABC managed to give beautiful telecasts of the Celtics- 76ers basketball playoffs during that week. In fact, the executives doing those broadcasts were much more enjoyable to listen to than the regular sportscasters.
DAVID B. FREIMAN