constant air of self-congratulation…
GYMNASTS AND SCHOLARS
As a reaction to the letter
from Robert Michaelson, SB’66 (December/03), I am writing
to declare that at one time there were scholar-athletes and they
were gymnasts under D. L. Hoffer. They were both because he saw
to it that they were both. As his daughter I know the time, care,
and concern he invested in all of them. He was no mediocre person
or coach. He guided his teams to 16 of 19 Big Ten championships
and was the first gymnastic coach elected to the Helms Hall of Fame.
I grew up in Bartlett at gym meets and have carried a pain in my
heart for his lack of recognition from the University.
I have no knowledge of
Eckersall, but the words of Mr. Michaelson speak to me and I hope
are also noted by the Hall of Fame Committee. To Mr. Michaelson
I can only say that there was excellence under D. L. during
Stagg’s time at the University. The men who earned the “C”
under D. L. deserve the honor.
Jane Hoffer Seaborg, AB’39
Round Picks” (October/03), detailing the inaugural class
of the Chicago Athletics Hall of Fame, you state that Ted Haydon
was the head track coach from 1950 to 1975. His last year of coaching
was 1985, the year of his death. I was a member of the 1984–85
Thanks for the great memories.
Butch Anton, SB’88
I was interested in
Bob Greenebaum’s corrective letter
(December/03) and wish to add to it inasmuch as I was accepted to
the football “squad” in summer 1937, fully two years
after the presumed 1935 close date. Recruited by a squad member,
I appeared before the coach and was asked about my prior experience.
I answered truthfully that the only contact between me and the Lindbloom
High School squad had been my appointment as Division Room ticket
What year was I at the University? Again I responded
truthfully: senior. After the next question, with either a firm
and unshakable belief in miracles or the urgent need for warm bodies
to pour into U of C uniforms, the coach said, “Suit ’im
up,” and the die was cast.
At 169 pounds, I was the third lightest member of the squad. The
two lighter were also shorter. In the season’s first game
I was in the predictable position of bench warmer. At half-time,
spread out on the wrestling mats with half an orange to suck on,
we were given a Knute Rockne type of inspirational talk by the coach.
When he was out of earshot, the silence was broken by the fellow
who had recruited me: “Have you ever heard such tortured English?”
That’s all I remember.
When faced with the twin appeal of serving under
Kwang Sup Yum, AM’23, PhD’30, the head librarian who
had a cadre of sublibrarians whose main duties were the checking
in and checking out of books, or attempting to reverse the undistinguished
career of the Maroon football team (a task for which I was even
less equipped), I dropped out of football.
It was Walter Eckersall (who, besides being a
star athlete, had more than a bit of prescience) and Robert Maynard
Hutchins (with a more recent database) who saw the cursive (original
meaning before it was appropriated by the Palmer Method) handwriting
on the wall. When the latter withdrew the University of Chicago
football team from competition in the Big Ten, he knew what he was
doing. He made the judgment that Big Ten competition was not for
the likes of Chicago, then or in the foreseeable future.
In what respect did I make my mark on the football
summer squad in 1937? It was through the loudly voiced comment by
the trainer/masseur while working on my thigh: “This guy has
the biggest charley-horses I’ve ever seen!”
Ralph K. Meister, SB’38, PhD’51
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