BY THE BOOKS
This writer noted with interest your article The Bookies Close Up Shop (Sept. 3), and close up they have, throughout the country. But the net results of Bobby Kennedy's crusade against interstate gambling will be that many states and cities will realize that a whole lot of people like to gamble, not only at the racetrack but off the track and in various and many ways. Just as millions drank during Prohibition because they believed it was an unjust and unpopular law, these same people are going to gamble come hell, high water, stringent laws, the police, the FBI and what have you.
The Attorney General seems to be under the impression that every bookmaker or every person who accepts a wager is a gangster and a racketeer. If he would investigate a little further he would find out that nine-tenths of these people have honor and integrity far above the average businessman and all they want is a legal right to do business, paying their just and fair share of taxes.
So I say to Bobby, be careful how you send out the Storm Troopers, for just as the drinkers revolted and elected Roosevelt so will the bettors revolt and elect a President who will give them a better deal.
We in Newport, Ky. are proud of our part in the job that has been done in bringing better law enforcement to our community—not because we regard gambling as a moral evil in itself, but because it happens to be illegal in Kentucky, and its existence on a large scale in Newport meant the corruption of public officials to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars a year. One of the arguments that the bookies of Newport or any other town constantly throw out is that gambling is financially beneficial to a community and its citizens. This is pure, unadulterated poppycock. Nothing hurts the business of any community more. A local newspaper made a thorough investigation of whether the cleanup has helped or hurt the city of Newport and its citizens. Here are some of the findings:
1) Unemployment has decreased.
2) Turnover among mercantile employees has decreased.
3) Newport's savings institutions show substantial gains in assets and net savings, reflecting a sound and growing economy and a healthy personal income picture.
4) Several businesses have recently decided to move into Newport.
5) Utility consumption has increased.
6) More than a dozen local businesses are currently expanding their facilities. And, most important of all,
7) A general spirit of optimism prevails throughout the city.
Not only has business improved, but the finances of the city government have also improved. Newport was in the black for the first half of this year.
GEORGE W. RATTERMAN
I am 13 years old and recently have become interested in chess. I enjoyed Bobby Fischer's article The Russians Have Fixed World Chess (Aug. 20), but I am puzzled by the diagram of a "phony draw." The caption says, "If white tries Q-R3, black can checkmate in five moves."
My dad and I spent two hours on the problem and we could not find a way.
•Expert Fischer's solution: Q-R3, P-KR3!; B-R4, N-B5; white's queen moves anywhere, Q-Q7 check; K-B1, N-K6 check; K-N1, QxNP mate.—ED.
THE WRIGHT SWING
I was misquoted as saying that "I have a classic swing" and "Palmer's swing is all wrong" (SCORECARD, Sept. 10). I would be an utter fool to make a statement like that. What I did say was, "Palmer does not have a classic swing like Littler or Hebert. He's strong as a bull and powers it." I also added, "He's the greatest competitor the game of golf has ever known." I have nothing but the utmost respect for Mr. Palmer as a player and person, and would like this known.
What is so amazing about JoAnne Gunderson using a wood in a sand trap (What's the Girl Up To? Sept. 10)? For 20 years I've seen famed Helen Dettweiler do so and, what's more, she taught middle-aged me to do it with good results.
DORIS W. BRALEY
If the facts of the situation on Fire Island (Fire on the Island, July 23) are disclosed and alternatives weighed, I have no doubt that the public will recognize the benefit of preserving this matchless natural seashore area.
On Monday, August 20, I introduced a bill [in the House] which would establish a national seashore on Fire Island, New York [similar to the one on Cape Cod]. In a statement which accompanied the introduction of the bill, I called Arthur Brawley's excellent article to the attention of my colleagues in Congress.
JOHN V. LINDSAY
House of Representatives
Why do they call the present America's Cup boats 12-meters? Surely they are much longer than that. Is this the length of the waterline? And, if so, how come they are all slightly different?
•At one time 12-meter class boats measured approximately that on the water-line, just as the 10s measured 10. However, the figure is not a measurement but a quotient of a complex fraction involving waterline length, several girth measurements, sail area, freeboard and an arbitrary constant, 2.37 (SI, Sept. 9, 1957). Under modern conditions of sail and hull design, the waterline of a 12 is likely to measure more than 13 meters.—ED.
I have a new idea for scoring in football, which should rejuvenate the game, greatly reduce the prospect of ties and add many more thrills with added scoring possibilities:
Revise the scoring along the lines of the sliding pay scale in industry, so that the offensive team would receive one point if they moved the ball between the 10-and five-yard lines, one more point if they moved inside the five. Naturally, if they scored a touchdown they would get only six points, nothing extra for the one or two accumulated in the drive. Also they could not receive additional points for getting inside the 10 or five twice in one series of downs. For instance, a team drives to the seven-yard line (one point) on second down, they are thrown back to the 13 on third down, they pass and get back to the six on fourth down; they receive only the one point for getting there one time in one series of downs. On third down a team gets to the four-yard line (two points), on fourth down they kick a field goal; they receive only the three points for the goal and not the additional two.
Think of the many times a team has gone almost to the goal line but failed to score. They receive some compensation for their efforts in this system, as does the defense for not letting them score six points. Research will reveal the many times a decision would have been reversed and the many tie games that would have been avoided.
IMPOVERISHED AMATEURISM (CONT.)
There are many coaches today who are being paid for coaching. A great number of these men could be performing in many of the sports that we as a nation are admittedly weak in. However, since they have received monetary aid, no matter how small, for their services, they are no longer allowed to compete legally in the U.S. as amateur athletes. It is not as if they earned their entire livelihoods in this capacity. In many cases the sports these gentlemen are paid for are not even those in which they have exhibited their greatest interest or proficiency.
I do not claim to be of Olympic caliber or anything closely resembling it. However, I thoroughly enjoy track and field and have achieved a degree of success in that sport, enough to make me want to keep training and competing. But an annoying set of amateurism rules has kept me from continued pursuits in organized competition simply because I was paid for coaching soccer.
Although coaching money will never enable its recipient to eat caviar every night, it does help pay some bills.
Last month I arrived in Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia, on a State Department grant, to help the Cambodians prepare their track and field team for the 1963 South East Asian Peninsula Games. Cambodia will be host for the games, which will be by far the biggest athletic undertaking in the nation's history. They have far-reaching plans for the building of extensive and modern athletic facilities, including a 50,000-seat stadium, and other general improvements throughout the land.
Prime mover behind these plans is Cambodia's Prince Norodom Sihanouk. The Prince is idolized by most of the citizenry of this neutral and prosperous land. He has done an amazing job of interesting the people in all areas of athletics. However, the Cambodians have worked with little assistance in their athletic endeavors, and consequently are very short on skills—though long on natural ability.
Their marks in track and field will give an idea of the position they're now in and the improvement that they must make to show well in the '63 SEAP Games:
400 meters (fiat, not over hurdles!)
110-meter high hurdles
5 feet 9 inches
40 feet 1½ inches
The Cambodian sports program is so extensive that I'm convinced they'll show an outstanding improvement in all areas within the next year. My first impressions—with oldtime American residents agreeing whole-heartedly—indicate that this is the most dynamic nation in Asia, excepting Israel and Japan. To help them move ahead in sports the Prince personally requested a number of American coaches, such as former USC basketball star Chris Appel, to come here.