The Jerry Cooke article and pictures on athletics in Soviet Russia (Russia and Physical Fitness, SI, Dec. 2) are the best things I have ever seen in your magazine.
Maybe we should start having home-and-home competition in a lot of sports with Russia? In fact, wouldn't it be a good idea to hold the 1964 Olympics in Russia? It would certainly be a lot better to be planning to have the Olympics in Moscow than some of the more sinister things that might be taking place by that time.
•Both the U.S. and Russia are expected to make a strong bid to have the 1964 Games held in their countries, with Tokyo a likely compromise site. Now that compulsory fingerprinting of visiting athletes is no longer an issue (E&D, Oct. 21), nothing except the ever-present problem of finances stands in the way of home-and-home athletic competitions.—ED.
I'm in full accord with Jerry Cooke's appraisal of the Russian people: friendly, likable and human.
December 16, 1957
Many of your readers, I'm sure, will criticize the apparent apathy in the U.S. to basic sports, comparing Russia's mammoth government-backed sports program to our unregulated emphasis on "popular sports." One should, however, recognize that world sports domination and physical fitness of the individual are merely by-products of Russia's real objective: attempts to contain the activities of individuals into regimented channels. This has been an integral part of authoritarian governments throughout history. Hitler's Germany is a point in fact.
I'll take my odds on a coach's effigy any day, rather than have the uncompromising stare of Lenin and Co. lead a homecoming parade.
JACK P. GETZEL
One thousand orchids to you for your report on Russia. Bovine, complacent Americans must be jolted from the ubiquitous television set and kicked into the gymnasiums and YMCAs across the country.
We should not emulate the Russian technique of government-controlled physical fitness but utilize American volunteerism—doing something beneficial, because of the desire to do it.
Here in Indianapolis, Mr. Jack Baker, Physical Education Director of the Park School, is initiating a modest program in a more or less experimental way, feeling his way as to the best methods to employ at his particular school and building a program on a sound basis to help not only the gifted athletes but every child.
How to arouse interest and stir people to action is the big problem confronting our country. Just as Little League Baseball grew from a single example, it would be wonderful if schools, YMCAs and individuals would at least experiment with the merits of a physical fitness program.
EDWARD W. HARRIS JR.
We hope that other magazines will follow you and cover other aspects of Russian life. We believe that anything that can be done to dispel the distrust between our two societies is a great step toward world peace.
We will watch for more articles in the future which will broaden our education and understanding of other countries.
Your "Red" number made Communist life look so attractive. I ask, why are we fighting it and why did Hungary revolt?
R. L. SHARP
West Chester, Pa.
I wonder if you could tell me the name and address of the Moscow girl shown in the women's crew picture (SI, Dec. 2). If you don't know, perhaps you might suggest to me where I could find out same. I was quite struck by her beauty and, as a student of the Russian language, would like to initiate a correspondence with her.
•Helena Bystrova c/o Sports Director, Dynamo Water Stadium, Moscow, U.S.S.R.—ED.
ALL ABOUT CRIBBAGE
My wife and I wish to congratulate SPORTS ILLUSTRATED and Mr. Charles Goren for the splendid tribute to the game of cribbage (The World's Best Two-hand Card Game, SI, Dec. 2). Mr. Goren hit the nail on the head when he said that too many people fail to learn this great game because they think a cribbage board is as complicated as an accordion. It is merely a simple device for counting up to 121.
We enjoyed the cribbage problems but must take issue with one solution that shows dealer playing a 4 (from 7-4-3-A) after an opening play of a 6 by non-dealer. If non-dealer has a 9 to play after the 5 and 7 are played, dealer will give 7 points to get 4 on the sequence. If non-dealer has an 8, dealer will give 10 points to get 6.
We would sacrifice possible chance at "go" by playing the ace after the 6.
K. V. DANIELS
•Mr. Daniels, obviously an expert player, offers a completely acceptable alternative to Charles Goren's recommended strategy.—ED.
Cribbage is a gentleman's game; only the lowest of individuals would put a 5-count card in his own crib.
WILLIAM C. KING
•A 5 in the hand is worth two in the crib.—ED.
We were playing cribbage this afternoon, and this hand came up. Would Mr. Goren care to tabulate the score for us? The starter was the 7 of diamonds. Play was as follows. Open—4. Dealer—4 for pair. Non—4 for pair royal. Dealer—3 for 15. Then in order, 5, 2, 3, ace. We tabulated the hands and the crib without trouble, but it was, by our tabulations, unnecessary, as both of us went out (one too late) during the course of play.
ROY KELLY AND WARD DOERING
Prairie du Chien, Wis.
•Non-dealer's hand is worth 12 points and he scores 9 more in the pegging. Dealer's hand is worth 6 points and he scores 12 points in the pegging.—ED.
We enjoyed especially Charles Goren's article on cribbage and would like to know where the new type cribbage board illustrated can be found.
MRS. BLAIR BAHRET
•The Lowe board can be obtained by sending $2.40 to Parker and Battersby, 30 Rockefeller Plaza, New York 20, N.Y.—ED.
TURF: A MATTER OF JUDGMENT
There is no better racing writer in the. United States today than The Morning Telegraph's Bob Horwood. His comments on the balloting for this year's Horse of the Year ("Some of us will always think that Gallant Man's three victories in major stakes should count at least as much as Bold Ruler's one. And if Bold Ruler was brilliant in the Trenton, what was Gallant Man when he set an American record for a mile and a half in the Belmont under 126 pounds while winning by eight lengths?") are worth some thought. Taken together with recent reflections on baseball balloting, with special reference to Ted Williams, they raise an interesting question about sports polls. Personally I prefer the "aristocracy" of good critics to the "democracy" of the poll, especially as there is no pre-election campaign to enlighten the "voters."
The racing secretaries vote, as they should, every racing day, with the weight they put on horses. What weights would they now assign to Bold Ruler and Gallant Man in two handicaps at a mile and a quarter and mile and a half respectively? I would be fascinated to know why any handicapper would make Bold Ruler give Gallant Man two pounds at a mile and a quarter (reversing the Trenton weights) and astounded if he didn't make Gallant Man give a couple of pounds to Bold Ruler at a mile and a half. Just what does the sports poll mean but that Bold Ruler must give weight even though Gallant Man beat Bold Ruler in two of the outstanding classics for 3-year-olds in which they met, in addition to the Woodward Stakes?
Racing as a championship game has suffered from growth and dispersion, and racing owners and trainers showed superlative sportsmanship this year in bringing together the best of a great crop, when they could easily have ducked and left the issue untried so far as the late season is concerned. Especially is this true of Trainer Johnny Nerud who commented bitterly that if Gallant Man was not voted Horse of the Year he would never again train a horse for the Belmont Stakes and Jockey Club Gold Cup. This statement cannot be laid to mere temperament. Mr. Nerud didn't cry over Willie Shoemaker's error in the Derby.
The poll is not a matter of error, but of point of view and soundness of judgment. The question Mr. Nerud raises goes to the heart of American racing: What does it pay to train a horse for the Belmont Stakes? Here is a man who did and now rues it. So, shall we speed up to a mile and quarter at most and continue to go to Europe for proven stamina? The writers' poll shows that this weakness in American racing and breeding is in the brain of the critics (who confer fame) as well as in the bias toward sprints and middle-distances held by most race tracks.
•For wholehearted agreement with Mr. Macdonald's comments on the general merits of polls and the comparative merits of Bold Ruler and Gallant Man see Whitney Tower's Horses oj the Year, page 28.—ED.