I've been a competitor in track and field for over 20 years, and I can say emphatically that Mike Agostini's article (My Take-home Pay as an Amateur Sprinter, Jan. 30) is grossly untrue and completely misleading. I believe a very select few are receiving some compensation, but not the numbers indicated by this article.
We certainly should not give a black eye to all pure competitors when only two or three out of a hundred or so are "shamming."
My congratulations on a very true article.
Is Mike Agostini for or against shamateurism? As far as I can see, he is complaining about the very payoffs that made him a track tramp and yet proposing a panacea that would remove the last barriers protecting amateurs from the practice he criticizes.
February 13, 1961
Why not let those who are interested only in monetary gain form their own professional tournament circuit?
E. A. HUNT
Your description of Mike Agostini's article as "bitter" is funny. The only emotion that I could detect in the article was a reluctance to leave such a pleasant and profitable way of life.
PAUL A. KOLACZ
Hurray for Mike!
Cross-country and marathon runners have never been guilty of the sins that Mr. Agostini asserts, although I see that it is entirely possible that what he says is true for the track men. To my knowledge, representatives of our club have never been given expenses to any race, even national championships (except one case of gas money). As a matter of fact, I don't believe that we have recently even been offered an invitation to compete.
The obvious solution lies in what you have already advocated for tennis—namely, the open event where the pros and amateurs compete together.
ROBERT M. DARLING
Great Falls, Mont.
As a transplanted, dinkey-dye Aussie, what more can I say, mate, than bonzer? That recipe of Bill Harney's, "How to Bake a Snake" (SCORECARD, Jan. 30), was fair dinkum, cobber, so do come to my next corroboree when the menu will feature fat juicy witchetty grubs followed by kangaroo tail soup, baked snake √† la Harney, damper, billy tea and, for dessert, fresh-caught honey ants.
Bring your own Bromo-Seltzer!
I would like to inform you that the South African Amateur Athletic Union, which is trying with private funds to arrange a tour by American track stars, neither legislates nor administers the laws of the Union of South Africa. It merely obeys them (SCORECARD, Jan. 30).
There is little doubt that the large majority of South African track fans, Caucasian, Negroid and otherwise, would enjoy seeing the great Negro athletes of your country perform. However, as you probably well know, any tour of the Union by foreign Negro athletes would be a fiasco at this stage in the political and cultural development of South Africa. The athletes would have difficulty finding adequate accommodations, and I would hazard a guess that there are very few of them who would care to visit South Africa at the present time. And I don't blame them.
Many South Africans pray for the day when your Negro track stars may run in their country. That this day will come, and come peacefully, I have no doubts.
New York City
CHAMPS OFF THE OLD BLOCK
Teen-age athletes get better and better every year. The proof's right there, hidden in your FOR THE RECORD (Jan. 30) notation of Williston Academy's Dave Tyler, who just broke national prep school swimming records in the 50- and 100-yard freestyle events. Unless I am mistaken, his father, David A. Tyler Jr., held these same records when he was at Mercersburg Academy 22 years ago.
I also note that Dale Kiefer, of New Trier High School, set a record in the individual medley. This just has to be the son of Chicagoan Adolph Kiefer, for many years a record holder in backstroke and individual medley events, too (PAT ON THE BACK, Aug. 22).
JOHN R. PRESTON
TRAFFIC JAM SESSION
You're in the right lane with the car under perfect control in your Safe Driving series (It's Meant to Be Fun, Jan. 30). It's about time someone took a positive approach and got off this "the life you save may be your own" kick.
It would also be nice if someone could convince the public that the fellow who has driven 40 years without an accident is not necessarily the safest driver.
We of the National Ski Patrol System are becoming especially alarmed about the amazing increase in the number of nonsnow-area residents who go motoring into snow country with no knowledge or experience in driving safely under winter conditions.
CAROLYN M. WILLIAMS
Pacific Palisades, Calif.
Rodger Ward stresses the same silly theme: keeping one car length behind the car ahead for every 10 mph of speed. But just try keeping six and half lengths back on a California freeway where the speed limit is 65. In two seconds there will be seven cars filling in the space in front of the careful driver.
Chula Vista, Calif.
Many hundreds of thousands will read and agree, but how many will actually go out and have seat belts installed in their cars?
New York City
There is one more safety device that could be added: a rear-window defroster and wiper blades. I would rather have clear rear windows in my car than backup lights or safety belts.
JAMES J. JACKSON
Niagara Falls, N.Y.
Where is the plea for better and more consistent law enforcement? The statistics are dramatic—Connecticut has reduced accidents by a large proportion by intensifying traffic violation arrests and convictions. The experience in New Jersey has been similar. But in Pennsylvania, where my experience has indicated that enforcement is less conscientious, the death and injury rate is noticeably higher.
JAMES A. RUBINS
After a reasonably quiet, enjoyable game of bridge, the following hand was dealt. It caused about one hour of heated discussion:
[Ace of Spades]
[Queen of Spades]
[Jack of Spades]
[10 of Spades]
[4 of Spades]
[Ace of Hearts]
[Queen of Hearts]
[10 of Hearts]
[8 of Hearts]
[7 of Hearts]
[3 of Hearts]
[2 of Hearts]
[Ace of Diamonds]
[King of Spades]
[7 of Spades]
[Jack of Hearts]
[6 of Hearts]
[King of Diamonds]
[6 of Diamonds]
[2 of Diamonds]
[King of Clubs]
[Queen of Clubs]
[10 of Clubs]
[9 of Clubs]
[7 of Clubs]
[6 of Clubs]
Here's what happened: West dealt. There were three passes and South opened two hearts. West went by. North responded with four clubs, East passed, South bid five spades, North passed. South, who is married to North and was in the later stages of pregnancy, decided this was as good a time as any to have the baby and departed hastily.
The contract was passed out at five spades, but it could have been played (sparing baby) to make either seven spades or seven hearts. What does Mr. Goren think? If it's a boy we will name him Charles.
MRS. ARTHUR W. WALKER
Forest Hills, N.Y.
•At the risk of having the baby named Ely, Card Editor Goren is critical of Papa North's jump bid in response to an opening two-bid. "A jump bid," says Goren, "usually shows a long solid suit with little or no outside high-card strength. North should have bid three clubs. South, in turn, should have cautioned against a miscarriage—pardon, a misfit—and bid only four hearts or four spades. But once South had leaped to five spades, a further bid by North was in the cards; six hearts would have been a conservative selection. Since the grand slam would depend upon picking up the king of hearts, it should not be bid."—ED.
Re your fine article entitled The Oldest Freshman (Jan. 23). Our country needs more men like Fred Norris; he is truly an inspiration to all Americans, young and old alike.
ALFRED L. HUFFMAN
Your story by James Murray on the Los Angeles Lakers (A Trip for Ten Tall Men, Jan. 30) was the best basketball story I have ever read. It really provides insight into basketball life.
I was not only shocked, but also thoroughly disgusted. Through the whole article there were nothing but slams against the Lakers. I couldn't even find anything that would even remotely resemble a good remark.
Next time I get the bright idea to buy a copy of SPORTS ILLUSTRATED I hope someone throws a brick at me.
MARY LEE SIERZANT