MEASURE OF A MAN
Dan Jenkins has done it again! Thanks for the Memories (Sept. 1) is one of the best tributes to an outstanding athlete I have ever read. Not having had the opportunity of seeing Arnold Palmer in person, I nevertheless have been a fan of his. Dan Jenkins has brought him closer to all of us.
CLEMENT M. BOUIE
Dan Jenkins' tribute to Arnold Palmer is a sensitive, concise, poignant and yet thoroughly complete expression of the real essence of the man. I have often asked myself what it is that makes Arnold Palmer stand a notch above the other champions of golf—both past and present. Dan Jenkins has defined that something for me.
A defeated Arnold Palmer cannot be replaced as the King of Golf because his reign was never based simply on his victories. The championships he won made him king only because they brought attention to his approach to the game—that "unmixed joy of trying," which Jenkins describes so well. Palmer does not attempt to hide his moments of ecstasy or disappointment, but neither does he become preoccupied with them. His total commitment to winning is coupled with a total acceptance of the outcome, and in the final analysis it is this attitude that makes Arnold Palmer "something immeasurable in champions."
H. C. GOODPASTURE, M.D.
Overland Park, Kans.
ON THE LINE (CONT.)
John Underwood's series, The Desperate Coach (Aug. 25 et seq.), is both thought-provoking and timely. A variety of reasons come to mind that might help to explain the increasing difficulties of college football coaches. Football is a game, and one of the primary reasons for the existence of games in society is that they provide a release for the pressures and tensions of everyday life. In the case of college football much of the discontent being voiced by the players is caused by the imposition of society's problems on young males at increasingly younger ages. For many there is little intrinsic delight in living in a situation in which they feel that everything they see as wrong in their world is being duplicated in their games. In such a situation much of the element of enjoyment goes out of games.
Combined with this increased awareness are the grandiose claims that have been made over the years by coaches who suggest that football is the greatest thing since organized religion for the betterment of mankind.
Undoubtedly, we are in a period of reaction against the manner in which a specific game is handled. Many ridiculous demands and claims are being made against a group of men (the coaches) who have in the past made some pretty ridiculous demands on their athletes. So far there has been very little direct criticism of the game itself.
One hopes that the seeming impasse between coaches and players will be resolved in a fair and reasonable way. The players will have to come to an understanding that if they want to participate in a team sport they will have to accept a certain amount of discipline. And the coaches will have to become more aware of the personalities of their players and to realize that, in a world where priorities are being challenged, a change in their own position on the scale does not necessarily mean a loss of dignity.
Ironically, it is as a game that football stands its best chance of survival. It is only as an impersonal big business and as a rather cynical moral training ground that it is in danger.
MICHAEL J. WENZL
Baywood Park, Calif.
I think that your articles on the desperate coach touch on some very valid problems that face college athletics today. What John Underwood and the various coaches interviewed fail to see is that there is a revolution going on on college campuses that has nothing to do with the SDS or the BSU—it is a revolution of the mind—and it is not necessarily bad.
KEITH J. JOHNSTONE
Congratulations on your first two articles in the series on coaches. You have demonstrated convincingly that the coaches are absolutely out of touch with what's going on in the world and on the campus. They have become the vestigial appendages of U.S. higher education. But how clever to assign John Underwood, who appears even more out of touch than the coaches, to write the story.
New York City