SPORTS AND THE STATUS SEEKERS
I reject in full the premises of Vance Packard stated under the heading All Status and No Play...(SI, May 18).
This is an article from the June 8, 1959 issue
In no phase of human behavior is Packard's status seeker so easily marked or rewarded as in the sports picture of our day and age.
One of our racial minorities, the Negro, is currently committed to a national drive to use sports as a powerful lever in its attempt to increase status for its people.
Each year thousands of students are provided with college educations because their athletic abilities are recognized, and their future workaday status enhanced by college-day sports achievements.
The club squash champ is more likely to be a somebody than a member who is merely an architect. A good golfer invariably makes a desirable neighbor.
In so far as sportswriters and their status are concerned, I can only refer Author Packard to any metropolitan newspaper in the U.S., where the sports editor and columnists are better known personalities on the paper than is the political pundit—usually better paid, too.
The names of Grantland Rice and Damon Runyon come far more easily to the memories of people of top class levels than do the names of scholars with whom Vance Packard must fraternize as close associates.
A Mickey Mantle can easily afford to ignore Mr. Packard, but can Mr. Packard afford to ignore the Mickey Mantles?
GOLFINGLY, HARRY SPRAGUE
It is indeed with great pleasure that I write to congratulate you on the fine articles, Dear Mr. Tabor by Herbert Warren Wind (SI, May 18 & 25). It's the greatest since J. P. Marquand's Happy Knoll days! Do keep Mr. Wind's great hand busy, to fill an important niche in American sportsmen's reading.
As a charter member of your magazine and a guest card holder in the Happy Knoll Country Club, I would deem it an honor to have this, my application for membership in the Otter Lake Country Club, presented for consideration at your earliest opportunity.
Certainly would like to join Harry Sprague and enjoy privileges of the club; his promotion to head club pro is heartily recommended.
C. ERVIN CHAMPLIN
As a golfer and, above all, a regular reader of SPORTS ILLUSTRATED I congratulate you on Dear Mr. Tabor by Herbert Warren Wind. Well-written, humorous and with more than a dab of Damon Runyon style.
JOHN M. REED
BOATING: CAT REBUTTAL
I'm afraid Maynard Meyer missed the boat in making excuses as to why the inland lake scows didn't do better in Yachting magazine's 1959 One of a Kind Regatta (19TH HOLE, April 27).
To comprehend the real message of the regatta, Mr. Meyer should forget the corrected-time rankings and study boat-for-boat performances in relation to size of boat. For, up to now, big boats have normally been faster than little boats, and big scows have been fastest of all.
But in this regatta the top speed of the 17-foot Tiger Cat was noticeably faster than the top speed of even the 38-foot A Scow. (Tiger Cat gained on all scows on all reaches and runs.)
The windward ability of the 17-foot Tiger Cat was such that she was no worse than third at the weather mark in four of the five races, ahead of the 24-foot Raven, the 22½-foot Star, the 22-foot Fever, the 20-foot C Scow, the 20-foot Highlander.
In boat-for-boat comparison with the scow of nearest size, the 17-foot Tiger Cat finished all five races ahead of the 20-foot C Scow by the following margins: 9:48, 10:05, 19:57, 17:41, and 10:04.
In boat-for-boat comparison with the .28-foot E Scow (and not counting the race in which the E Scow was recalled), the 17-foot Tiger Cat sailed the regatta in quicker total elapsed time, by a margin of 4:47.
And in boat-for-boat comparison with the 38-foot A Scow, the 17-foot Tiger Cat finished closer and closer the harder it blew, until in the fourth race the Tiger Cat finished only 58 seconds behind the scow that was more than twice her size.
The real message of this year's One of a Kind Regatta was that the good catamarans suddenly became the fastest boats for their size to windward, and faster than all boats of any size on the reaches and runs!
When I read your account of the One of a Kind races in the March 9 issue I was more excited than I have been in a long time. I immediately wrote to the manufacturers of the winning cats and, as the result of getting in early, I have the first of the new cats in this vicinity. This is a Shearwater—the only one immediately available. I would probably have preferred a Tiger Cat if I could have had it right away. The reason for my haste is that at my age time gets precious.
I have been sailing small centerboard boats for more than 60 years. My first was a small scow which my father built for me when I was 10 years old, and for the last 12 years I have been racing a Thistle at the Canandaigua Yacht Club, where we have a fleet of 14 of them. In between were a dozen boats of various kinds, including two scows, a 14-foot dinghy and some one-designs.
My point of view, as you will see, is quite different from Mr. Meyer's! You hit the nail squarely on the head in your rejoinder.
GEORGE A. BRIDGMAN
In the spring of 1958 the Yankees played an exhibition game in Charlotte. This picture of Casey Stengel was taken at his hotel the night before the game, as he talked to a reporter.
With an eye on the background, it would seem to have considerable pertinence this year.
CHARLES E. KELLY
THE OLD HERO
I fly a party down to the Kentucky Derby every year, and while in Lexington I took some friends out to see the Man o' War statue.
As you can see from the picture I had taken, Man o' War is weeping; there is no mistaking the tears. What has happened is this, as I understand it: the heirs to the Riddle estate sold off the farm and gave the little plot of Man o' War to the county.
Since then it has deteriorated very rapidly, overrun with weeds, no path to the shrine, no water in the moat around him put there to discourage people from carving initials. Originally there was a tree for each year of Man o' War's life planted around the statue. Several of these are dead, and it is all a sorry sight. During Derby week there were thousands of visitors, and no wonder the poor gallant old boy is weeping—he's completely forgotten by his local friends who at one time were so proud of him.
Did you know that Man o' War was embalmed, buried in an expensive oak casket, and that over 10,000 people went to his funeral?
Here's hoping you can strike a blow for our old hero.
C. C. MOSELEY
Jackson Hole, Wyo.
•The blow has been struck. The will of Man o' War's owner, the late Samuel D. Riddle of Faraway Farm, Lexington, authorized its executors to convey the statue and its surrounding land to a suitable organization for its preservation. After much legal maneuvering, Fayette County and the Lexington Chamber of Commerce have taken charge of the statue and grounds "in perpetuity as a memorial, open to the public without charge." Everything still looked pretty sad last Derby Day, but now the county is putting in a road and parking space for the estimated 100,000 visitors a year, and the chamber of commerce is landscaping the grounds handsomely.
The statue is the work of famed Animal Sculptor Herbert Haseltine, who also used Big Red as George Washington's charger at the National (Episcopal) Cathedral in Washington, D.C. (SI, Nov. 3). A green stain does indeed trickle from each eye socket, but this is part of the natural aging of bronze and will not be tampered with. War Relic and War Admiral, two of Man o' War's best sons (still at stud at Hamburg Place) will eventually be buried inside the moat behind the statue. And Horseman E. Barry Ryan has changed his will so that the statue and grave of Fair Play, Man o' War's sire, which are now on Ryan's nearby Normandy Farm, will be moved to the Man o' War memorial together with the remains of Mahubah, Man o' War's dam. Taken all together, it will make a Valhalla of equine heroes.—ED.