I read with great interest the short article, "A National Disgrace," in your SCORECARD section (July 7). I too have been dismayed at the way many U.S. basketball teams have been selected and have played in international competition. However, the "shoddy approach" you mentioned has not been true in the case of an NAIA all-star team, made up of players selected from small colleges, which recently returned from a 19-day tour of Czechoslovakia.
This trip was sponsored jointly by the NAIA, the AAU and the colleges of the players selected. Twelve practice sessions were held on the Lakeland College campus prior to the June 6 departure for Europe. This team played outstanding basketball and won eight of nine games against the top club and university teams of Czechoslovakia, including two of three games against the European champion Slavia Prague team. Slavia Prague was undefeated in a 12-game trip to the U.S. last December.
The news media of Czechoslovakia were most favorable in their reporting of our games, and the 20,000-plus fans who saw our squad in action saw good and exciting basketball. Our players were truly outstanding representatives of the U.S., their schools and of American basketball. Unfortunately, all too often good experiences such as our trip go unreported.
DUANE A. WOLTZEN
Director of Athletics
My thanks to Jerry Kirshenbaum for a fine article on javelin throwing (They're All Out to Launch, July 21). I must admit to being prejudiced because the javelin was my event in high school and college, and I have always enjoyed participating in and watching the event. I can truly understand Mark Murro when he says, "I like to see it floating out there, climbing and gliding." When I gave up competition I thought that I would still be able to at least watch the event and really see what a throw looked like from the side.
Not being able to travel enough to see the big meets in person, I am sorrowfully dependent upon television, which seems to ignore this event completely. I waited impatiently for the javelin coverage in the '68 Olympics, but one event was cut out of the TV coverage—and wouldn't you know which one it was. I used to believe that the javelin event was ignored because the U.S. had no one of world-record ability—the old American saying: "If we aren't good at it, what good is it?" But after noticing the recent achievements by our own javelin men and after reading Kirshenbaum's article, I figured my chances were great for seeing it included in the TV coverage of the U.S.-U.S.S.R.-British Commonwealth meet. I can't say they left it out completely; the TV announcer did say, during the wrap-ups, that Lusis won the javelin with a throw in the 270s.
Thanks again, Jerry Kirshenbaum, for your help. Maybe one of these days I'll be able to watch a televised meet and see someone throw the javelin. Maybe.
I wish to register a complaint on your statement that a 300-foot javelin throw is equivalent to achieving "an end-zone-to-end-zone distance with a projectile twice as heavy as the football that pro quarterbacks strain to throw half as far."
May I remind you that pro quarterbacks must throw the football in a neat spiral, with pinpoint accuracy while a mad bunch of opposing defensive linemen harass them?
It is very nice to say that Jorma Kinnunen can throw a javelin over 300 feet and that Mark Murro is a step away from equaling this mighty feat. However, even you admit that today's javelins are being designed with a goal of "superior aerodynamic properties" in mind. These aerodynamic properties, as you also state, make the javelin go farther and thereby make 300-foot throws possible. It is therefore impossible to determine how mighty the javelin thrower is compared with athletes in other events. What I would like to know is how far can potential record breaker Mark Murro throw a softball?
Valley Stream N.Y.
I was able to better understand Ken Harrelson and his interpretation of events when I noticed that the "roses" he claimed to have received at the Cleveland airport were actually carnations (I Just Couldn't Believe My Ears, July 21). But it would seem that the Hawk sees more than just flowers through rose-colored glasses.
For instance, by stating that he is "the second best hitter in the league," he clearly exaggerates his skills while ignoring the superior ones of several players on the Boston team he so painfully left. As a group, Messrs. Yastrzemski, Petrocelli, Smith and Conigliaro are averaging .290 with 21.5 home runs and 59.25 runs batted in apiece. The "second best hitter in the league," meanwhile, is sporting a .203 batting average with 18 home runs and 53 runs batted in (as of July 19).
What Ken Harrelson does best is to add color to the game at a time when it is in great need of personalities. Baseball's history is predominantly one of individual accomplishments and the lore surrounding those individuals. Ken represents an interesting page in this history. So, you handsome sonofagun, don't you ever die.
MARK L. O'CONNELL
Hawk! Hawk! Hawk! That's how they cheer him now. Soon they will drop the letter "It."
M. J. RONBERG
Fort Wayne, Ind.
Although I do not doubt the validity of most of the Hawk's statements, I must disagree with one of them. He was not the most sought-after quarterback in the state of Georgia or even in Savannah. I was.
Congratulations on your article. Natural Enemy of Wild Cats (July 14). If women would confine themselves to wearing furs and leathers taken from animals raised for these purposes, the market for poached furs would disappear and the animals would have a chance to come back. The famous example, of course, is the saving of the egret.
I say bravo to Jacques Kaplan and I urge all women to follow his principles.
ELLEN F. SPALT
Hooray for a long-overdue article! Not all women, however, are as vain as those you refer to in your article. Some still believe that leopard and cheetah skins look much better on their original and rightful owners. I'm one of them, and I'm not some old crone who's a nut about cats. I'm 33 and would look smashing in a leopard coat, except that I'd feel sick about wearing one.
MRS. VERNON B. GREER
Manhattan Beach, Calif.
WHITE MAN GO HOME
Re "War Canoes on the Moisie" (SCORECARD, July 14), there is a very simple solution to the problem of depletion of the Atlantic salmon in Canada's Moisie River, without resorting to a hitherto neglected law preventing the Montagnais Indians from netting them. Simply ban the sports fishermen. A good beginning place might be "the famous Moisie Salmon Club, owned by wealthy Americans."
The only way to solve the problem is to allow only Montagnais to fish or net in the Moisie River. It seems that the Indians always had enough to eat until the invaders from Europe moved in. The white men, or I should say non-Indians, are the ones who should be arrested for fishing. After all, they are able to go to a store to buy the food which they can afford and the Indian very often cannot.
NEEDLES AND PILLS (CONT.)
I must disagree with one of your readers who says in a recent letter (19TH HOLE, July 14) that drugs are acceptable if they aid a runner's mental outlook, i.e., drugs designed to "mask [the] pain" in order for the athlete to compete closer to his physical peak.
As a 1:56 high school half-miler, I feel as qualified to speak on pain as the 4:28 miler who wrote the letter in question. I have found running to be as much a mental exercise as a physical one. A runner's ability to psych himself up for races and workouts is nearly as important as his lactic acid buildup or his oxygen debt or some other ultratechnical aspect of running.
Until this season, I was a very poor miler, but I worked hard and occasionally did fairly well. Unfortunately, I continuously psyched myself out. I could never reach my potential. Had I popped some bennies, perhaps I could have. However, would I have been doing the running or would it have been a mannequin, stoned into a hazy world of speed?
Why train if one can take a drug that relieves the pain? What is the accomplishment of a drugged victory?
I understand your letter writer feels that drugs should not be taken in place of training and that he does not personally use drugs. Nevertheless, justification of their use in sports is not possible, whether or not their "long-range effects are...negligible...."
I should like to add a footnote to Kim Chapin's splendid and intriguing coverage of Wimbledon tennis (Another Redheaded League, July 14). I have seen Arthur Ashe play numerous matches, losing some, winning some, and I have yet to see a more smilingly gracious loser or a more self-effacingly modest winner. And that in itself must represent some kind of victory.
New York City
Seven years ago, in your pre-Forest Hills issue, you ran on your cover a picture of Helga Schultze of West Germany under the title, "The Loveliest in World Tennis" (Aug. 27, 1962). Unless my memory completely fails me, no girl tennis star has since graced the cover of SI. Now with the tennis world preparing for the biggest Forest Hills tournament ever, I would like to suggest a truly lovely way to break this drought.
My offering is Kerry Melville of Melbourne, Australia. She is 21 years old and has been charming the international circuit for about three years. Kerry can also play tennis. She ranks around the fringes of the world's top 10 and has beaten Billie Jean King (among others) twice in the past year. At the recent Wimbledon Open, Kerry was seeded sixth but lost to Rosemary Casals in the second round.
In the past your cover has been crashed by girl skiers, girl golfers, girl swimmers, girl figure skaters, girl track stars and even (in 1963) a girl archer. On behalf of all tennis buffs, I implore you—it's time you satisfied our seven-year itch!
WILLIAM J. LINN
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