BIG BEAT (CONT.)
I think Dan Jenkins' article, O.K., Everybody: Beat America! (July 26), is one of the most specious pieces of journalism I've read in a long time. But what is worse is the fact that inherent in the "philosophy" of the article is that maddening, superegotistic American idea that we are some kind of a superpeople who just naturally are entitled to win everything.
We do far better competitively in sports with the rest of the world than in literature, music, foreign diplomacy, philosophy, medicine, science or education—just to mention a few examples.
It's time Americans began to realize that we're not the only country in the world with talent and resources, so perhaps a little ego-smashing in the sports arena won't do this country any harm at all.
STAFFORD P. OSBORN
...[it] would have been a great article with a deep-seated meaning four years ago. Then we were doing just as badly if not worse than now. Then we were on a sharp decline that was stemmed by President Kennedy's physical fitness program. But now we are on the way up.
I would like to thank you for Dan Jenkins' article. I will not attempt to indulge in a discussion of the apparent philosophy that has spread across our nation and degraded competitive spirit. But I would like to point to one particular area that could be the subject for a subsequent article: the lack of opportunity for young women to participate and excel in athletics during high school and college so they might rise to a level of proficiency that could offer strong competition on the world sports scene.
There seems to be a general nationwide objection to having women compete against men in such games as tennis and swimming. Obviously, if young women are not permitted to compete at these levels against men they can hardly be expected to gain the experience and confidence required to dominate in the world arena.
As a typical example, my 16-year-old daughter has attended one of the best tennis schools in the U.S. But she cannot participate as a member of the high school boys' tennis team even though she could defeat at least half of its members. Of course, there is no girls' team since there generally are not enough females attending a typical high school who have the interest or background to participate. A similar situation exists with the swim team. It is particularly frustrating to a young girl with formal training to be forbidden to participate in such activities and yet be forced to play kick ball, volleyball, etc. in gym class.
C. E. MYERS JR.
Last year I was one of two goalies on the U.S. national hockey team and discovered, much to my amazement, that things are indeed not all rosy in U.S. hockey. I don't feel, however, that poor hockey is to blame. Rather, the basic fault lies in a lack of support for the teams that are sent abroad.
In 1965 it was largely through the support of one man that a team was able to go at all. Other than this, our financial support was so negligible that the team was only able to practice together a total of two weeks before traveling to Europe. Our competition had been practicing together anywhere from five to seven months before coming to the world championships. The fact that we came in sixth instead of eighth indicates that the talent is there. Give the talent a chance and I'm sure it will prove itself.
FREDERICK H. MARKS
New York City
I like the title of the article by Mr. Jenkins, O.K., Everybody: Beat America! because I would like to see someone try it.
IN A NUTSHELL
SI really goofed when it failed to include a "track nut supreme" (Some Fanatics Whose Fun Is Playing Old Records, Aug. 2). Roberto Quercetani, who is the European editor for Track & Field News, is considered by some track experts as the leading "nut" in the world. His compilation of records, both European and world, is amazing.
On the other hand, Gerald Holland did happen to mention Hugh Gardner, an Indiana "Hoosier nut," now living in San Jose, Calif. I've never met Hugh but we correspond every week, and when I say correspond it borders on "track nuttism" at its best. It's not unusual for Hugh to send me a two-or three-page typed letter—and single-spaced at that! I'll do the same. In fact, our track correspondence could be the largest in the world. I'm sure Hugh writes to many other people, perhaps some of them every week, but if those letters are any bigger or more interesting than the ones he sends me then Hugh is surely the leading "nut" in the world. In fact, I would rate him there right now.
I challenge anyone to top us "nuts."
TODD H. JONES
You failed to mention the man who surely must be the premier track nut of the world, Fred Wilt. Mr. Wilt must have the largest private track-and-field library in the nation. He collects books, magazines and films of track and field from all over the world. He also writes books on track such as, Run, Run, Run and How They Train. Besides that, he contributes to Track & Field News and is honorary editor of Track Technique.
Mr. Wilt, the U.S. 5,000-meter champion from 1949 to 1951, ran in the '48 and '52 Olympics and is still running today. He is also a coach, helping all sorts of athletes, from local high school boys to international-class runners.
Fred Wilt must be recognized as the king of the track nuts.
DOWN THE HATCH
I read with great interest your section on powerboating in the August 2 issue. However, much as I admire the Rybovich boats (The Rich Rush of a Rybo), this builder did not originate the transom door—at least to my knowledge. It is a product of Prohibition.
Transom doors first appeared on the rumrunners of that time. When the skipper of such a vessel noticed that he was being pursued, the cargo could be brought up into the cockpit and lashed together case to case. If the pursuer was identified as a government boat rather than a predatory competitor and if capture indeed seemed imminent, it was only necessary to kick the aftermost case overboard through the transom door, and it would take with it the rest of the evidence to the sea bottom.
I like to think that it was such a situation that gave rise to the classic last words of the dying rumrunner skipper: "Don't give up the shipment!"
JOHN C. REID
Sunset Beach, Calif.
THEY WERE THERE
As one of those most concerned, I would like to call your attention to some inaccuracies in James Lipscomb's account of the 1962 rescue of the Appalachian Mountain Club climbers stranded on the Grand Teton (72 Hours of Tenor, June 14 and 21). Mr. Lipscomb says, "Those below could see that [rescuers] Sinclair and Greig could never succeed alone, and yet they hesitated to go up to help them...." The fact is that McLaren, who was in charge, received a radio message from Sinclair to keep the rest of the rescue party there until further message. The party was eager to get going but obeyed McLaren's orders. At no time did we hesitate because of the risk.
As for the Fenniman incident at the top of the glacier—I heard Fenniman shout, "I'm going to kill you devils," which Lipscomb reported. I then heard Pete Lev shout, "What the hell are you trying to do? Kill us?" I did not hear Lev shout, "He's trying to kill me." I went down as fast as I could to Lev and Fenniman and got the rope around Fenniman from behind. When Fenniman became distracted as I tied the rope around him, Lev regained control of the ice ax. I then returned to the ledge above. Lev did not follow. Fenniman then "started up toward the rest of the party on the ledge." Also, the loop that I had tied around Fenniman did not loosen. When a mountaineer ties a knot it is guaranteed. Climbers just don't tie sloppy knots.
I would like to add that I think the story, these faults aside, was reported with a great deal of skill by Lipscomb.
MAURICE E. (RICK) HORN
It is apparent that Mr. Lipscomb had an infinite number of details to assemble, and it is perhaps inevitable that his article should contain some error. There are a number of misstatements, the most important being that Pete Lev concluded that "trying to save them (the Appies) seemed hopeless and, considering the dangers to the rescuers, idiotic."
This statement is unequivocally denied by him. His colleagues say it doesn't sound like him and that his performance was second to none. It is true, however, that the entire rescue party had doubts about getting them all down alive.
HERBERT H. SWEDLUND
•The Teton rescue described by Author James Lipscomb is one of the great climbing rescues, perhaps the greatest, in American climbing history. As we believe readers would agree, all members of the rescue team are entitled to unqualified admiration—none more so than those who most clearly sensed the almost inhuman hazards of their mission.—ED.