THE HOUSE THE AMATEURS BUILT
Your editorial Contamination or Competition? (SI, March 3) deserves some reply. In Los Angeles professional athletics is driving amateur athletics into oblivion.
This is an article from the March 24, 1958 issue
The league I serve as secretary produced two Olympic champions: Parry O'Brien and Charles Dumas. We have had athletes in the Olympics since 1914.
We have had the finest track and field program in the world right here. The center of the program has been the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum—in 1932 we were proud to call it the Olympic Stadium.
What do we find now?
All track and field events are eliminated to accommodate the Brooklyn Dodgers. One track meet, the Coliseum Relays, will be run on grass. State track meets and city track meets for high school boys and several intercollegiate meets have had to find other locations.
Remember, the Coliseum is debt-free, owned by the State of California and had revenue in excess of half a million dollars before the Dodgers entered the picture. This income came largely from UCLA, USC and the pro football Rams.
I think athletics is reaching a low point when we put the profit motive and the entertainment of adults ahead of the development of youth—particularly when we permit public facilities to be used to do the job.
W. J. WORTHINGTON
Bay League Athletic Council
TENNIS REVOLUTION (CONT.)
If you want to raise the cry of "revolution" (Comes the Tennis Revolution, SI, Feb. 24; E&D, March 10), Jack Kramer is your level-headed leader. By destroying sundry Davis Cup teams, he has laid the groundwork for what is to come: open tennis.
I have never understood the USLTA and its hidebound procedures, and although born and bred in the East I have never supported the old lawn-tennis-for-ladies-and-gents attitude. As chairman of the tournament committee, I have been forced to pay off the "amateurs" according to their national ranking and know all about "expense" items. Mr. Denny's semirealistic statement about the $15-per-diem situation seems a move in the proper direction. Why not go all the way?
When tennis stopped being a sissy game it attracted rough, materialistic blood. The paradox lies in the fact that the USLTA essayed transfusions of the old thin stuff and, furthermore, made them stand up for generations. The kids snickered all the way to Cannes.
I just wish Billy Talbert would at last join up with Jack Kramer, thus putting two really great tennis minds on the same track. Working with Perry Jones in whatever capacity seems best, they might build the game into a major sport in the country where it found its home.
WILLIAM R. COX
North Hollywood, Calif.
BROTHERHOOD OF THE PEACH BASKET
Vive le 1958 All-America college hoop quintet (Saga of the Mustard Sandwich, SI, March 17)! This year's starting five exemplifies the title in every sense of the word. The big five—Rodgers, Robertson, Boozer, Baylor and Chamberlain—have paved the way to one of the most exciting, unpredictable seasons in recent years.
I would venture to guess that Dr. Naismith would be glowing if he knew that his historic peach basket has asserted itself as a front runner in the effort to annihilate racial discrimination.
La Mesa, Calif.
THE BEAUTIFUL MULE (CONT.)
The recent controversy in 19TH HOLE concerning the relative perspicacity of the horse and the mule impels me to send you the following verses:
I am a mule; a cross, of course,
Betwixt the donkey and the horse.
And I contend that men have lied.
I have a double right to pride:
On the maternal side, I trace
Descent from all the equine race;
Whereas, in the paternal line,
My lineage is asinine.
Sometimes I balk, sometimes I kick
To prove to men, whose skulls are thick,
That, in addition to horse sense,
Plus onager intelligence,
I have some wisdom of my own.
Thus, though the fact is little known,
I have a pretty fair IQ,
Dear reader, very much like you.
HARVEY L. CARTER
Colorado Springs, Colo.
•For him who little Latin has, Equus onager is an ass.—ED.
HOCKEY: ROUGH STUFF
After hearing about the robust style of hockey which the Czechs exhibited against the Russians at the recent world amateur championships (SI, March 17), I would like to ask the following question:
"How many checks could a good Czech chuck with no check on the checks a Czech could chuck?"
R. W. HOUNSELL
Greenwood, N. S.
•As many as could
A good Canuck.—ED.
HOCKEY: CANADIANS GO HOME
I read with great interest the article They've Broken Up That Old Gang Out West (SI, March 10). You say, "Thanks to Canada, western college hockey is tops. Even so, some Americans object." I am one of these objectors.
For over 10 years I have worked to develop hockey among young boys in this area. Many of our boys at the Greenwich Country Day School where I coach have gone on to prep school and college hockey, which is what most coaches in America want to see—American boys learning at a young age and going on to the collegiate ranks.
I visited Denver and Colorado Springs during the Christmas holidays and had the privilege of watching both the Denver and Colorado College teams. There is no question that they are outstanding teams which play a crowd-pleasing style of hockey. But to me this is of dubious value because the American boys haven't a chance to make the teams.
The Canadians have recognized these facts in their own professional football and have limited the number of Americans that each team can have. Even at the pro level they are interested in developing Canadian football players.
I would suggest that the WIHL, before it collapses completely, adopt a rule that would limit the number of Canadians on a team to about eight. Also I suggest that those involved review their purposes for having intercollegiate athletics. Let's see our American institutions help our boys to play this great game. If they do, perhaps in time some American boys will make the NHL.
JOHN M. CLEVELAND
BASEBALL: BIRDIE AND LADY LUCK
Reds at the Crossroads (SI, March 10) quoted National League Baseball Manager Birdie Tebbetts as saying that his Cincinnati Redlegs lost 18 of 22 games with Milwaukee last season because of the Braves' "luck."
I would appreciate knowing Mr. Tebbetts' definition of luck, whereby one pennant contender can "annihilate" another pennant contender 18 out of 22 games. I was under the impression that such a record simply indicated that the winner had the better team. But then, alas, I am not a psychologist.
Taking into consideration Mr. Tebbetts' handling of his pitching rotation, I think he should consider himself lucky for managing to salvage those four games.
R. F. SCHWABENLENDER
TENNIS: KRAMER REVEALED
I would like to compliment Dick Phelan on his fine article on Jack Kramer (SI, Feb. 24). Mr. Kramer's true personality has finally been revealed: he seems to be a little underhanded and a little bit of a self-lover, but he must also be credited with being a very shrewd, ambitious and gifted person.
ROGER D. ROUILLER
Parkersburg, W. Va.
TENNIS: THE THINKER
Regarding the masked player, Mr. Nemesis, competing in the $15,000 world pro tennis championships in Cleveland next May (E&D, March 10), I have followed your advice "that Mr. March might help tennis much more if he slipped that sack over his own head and retired to a corner to rethink this whole thing out."
I have rethunk the whole thing out (see below) and am sticking to my decision: Mr. Nemesis will be in the tournament.
LADY LUCK (CONT.)
A tumultuous applause to Tom O'Reilly and "Lady Luck, I'm Ready!" (SI, Feb. 17). The lad tearing up tote tickets is as much an American sports enthusiast as that hot-dog-eating feller at the ball park.
It's also about time that these millions of people, contributing to the largest spectator sport in America, were not referred to as if they were sinister characters, sneaking around quietly to avoid being investigated.
KENNETH R. ERNST
I am one of a number of people who find good fun and relaxation in "two-bucking" the races.
Racing needs no apologist. It is a great sport as is proven by the decades of malignation it has suffered.
Give us racing fans more O'Reillys on racing. He understands us and senses the humor in the momentary dejection that follows losers and surge of achievement and exhilaration that follows the occasional winner.
The Bronx, N.Y.