A real kickoff

All football kickers use the soccer style now [“Biomechanics turned football kickers into soccer fans,” Oct. 18]. My teammate at Cornell, Pete Gogolak, started the revolution, having emigrated from Hungary with his family as a youngster. Here in America, a prescient high school football coach saw the future and convinced Pete to kick an oblong football instead of a round soccer ball.

Opponents complained to the referees that Pete was always offside on kickoffs, because his non-kicking, planted foot went in front of the ball and over the 40-yard line. Being in the Ivy League, Cornell’s coaching staff crafted a brilliant solution: Move the ball back six inches or so from the 40. Genius at work! Pete, who also punted, rarely missed an extra point or even field goals.

Pete, who pioneered soccer-style kicking in the pros, was drafted by the Buffalo Bills and later played for the Giants, where he still holds its scoring record.

Thank you for helping to revive these grand memories.

Fred Kaiser, Silver Spring

Snakes alive!

When I went outside to get my newspaper this morning, I thought I saw a large earthworm lying across my walkway. I started to pick it up when I noticed it had a flat head and unusual markings. And I thought: It’s a snake! Ran inside. (I have a great fear of snakes large and small.) To calm my nerves, I drank a cup of coffee and opened the morning paper to the Health & Science section, and there [“Discreet snake makes a conspicuous journey,” Nov. 1] was a picture of the snake [a DeKay’s brown snake] I had just seen! Will I see more? I hope not.

Anita Henderson,Silver Spring