THE DEFENSE RESTS
J.P. Heinz' literate article, In Defense of the Sweet Science (Aug. 16), failed to convince me of the merits of boxing. I cannot object to this sport on the grounds of esthetics, corruption or physical danger; Heinz covers these topics well, and consequently the art of pugilism comes off as looking no worse than football, baseball, hockey or any other major sport. My objection to boxing is philosophical or strategic. It is the only sport perpetrated by modern man which has as its object the physical hurt of another human being. While some other sports encompass physical contact, at times even brutal physical contact, boxing alone has no goal save the maiming of one's opponent. Football and hockey teams win by scoring more points than their opponent; a boxer wins by beating on his opponent, preferably to the point of unconsciousness.
It is this strategy that separates boxing from other sports, and it is this aspect that Heinz does not consider in his article. It also could be an explanation of why boxing is no longer supported as it once was. Hopefully we have reached a point in time when such treatment of one human being by another is seen as less than human and ethically wrong.
JAMES B. SLAGER
West Lafayette, Ind.
Congratulations to J. P. Heinz on his eloquent defense of boxing, a sport that is beginning, hopefully, to emerge from the mist of a darkened era. The author's knack for comparing the happenings of today's boxing world with those of yesterday is astounding. He puts down the opposition in an undeniably brilliant use of common sense. It is unfortunate that some of the nation's legislators have not come up with arguments of this quality in response to criticism of this solid sport.
J.P. Heinz omits a notable aficionado from his roster of boxing buffs among the literati—P. Vergilius Maro (70 B.C.-19 B.C.), whose stirring account of an early crowd-pleaser between one Dares, a light-hitting swarmer, and one Entellus, a fading but still hard-punching veteran, appears in Book V of the Aeneid.
August 29, 1971
The contest was held, under rules that might be most charitably described as pre-London prize ring, for the edification of the Trojans during a stopover on the way from Carthage to Latium. Entellus, down early from what was officially ruled a slip, was assisted to his feet by a friend at ringside (shades of Dempsey against Firpo) and went on to score a TKO when the bout was stopped to save Dares from further punishment.
Regrettably, Vergil was no Nat Fleischer and failed to record either the weights or the elapsed time. Nonetheless he should have been included in Mr. Heinz' list. With all due respect to Aldo Spoldi, Tiberio Mitri, Primo Camera, Nino Benvenuti and Enzo Fiermonte, the fact is that Vergil himself may turn out to be boxing's noblest Roman of them all.
EDWARD R. CUNNIFFE JR.
New York City
HOW HIGH THE HOMER
The equation provided by Dr. Berman (PEOPLE, Aug. 16) is unfortunately not complete, although fairly accurate for baseballs hit out of the park. Using the notation of Dr. Berman and making the same assumptions he has about neglecting such factors as air resistance, the earth's rotation, the ball park's latitude, wind and air currents, the rotation of the ball, etc., a more exact formula would be:
D = (d X h)/(16 X s¬≤) + d - (d X H)/(16 X s¬≤) X (h - H)/(h - H + 16s¬≤)
The quantity H is the height, in feet, above ground when the ball was struck by the bat.
LAURENCE G. TAFF
University of Rochester
I feel that an important point has been overlooked in Grim Struggle with an Equine Killer (Aug. 16). The tragedy caused by VEE need not have arisen in the U.S., despite "international amenities" that had to be observed regarding vaccination of Mexican stock. The still "experimental" vaccine should have been tested long ago to determine its effect on equines under controlled conditions. VEE is not new and, although U.S. restrictions on use of vaccines to prevent foreign diseases not present in the U.S. are stiff, the opportunity has presented itself over past years to test the vaccine in epidemic situations in South and Central American countries to which the U.S. has supplied vaccine. That a controlled testing program was never established is, indeed, tragic. The march of VEE northward has been clear and evident, and the need for testing has been obvious.
Had this been done, the USDA would not have been so reluctant to release the vaccine, vaccination efforts in the U.S. could have begun as soon as the threat of VEE's entry became substantiated and doubts on the part of horse owners about the safety of the vaccine would have been greatly diminished. The Texans critical of the USDA's efforts are joined by many, many others around the nation, and we share their anger and sorrow.
J. M. NIEDERMEIER
BAN THE BILL
There is more to be said regarding your SCORECARD item of July 26 on the poisoning of the west. Not only did rancher Van Irvine get off with the minimum fine for violating Wyoming game and fish laws, but the taxpayers of this country subsidized his operation to the tune of over $44,000 last year. Stockmen are allowed the privilege of grazing sheep at the rate of about 12¢ per animal per month while private land leases for many times as much. The same stockmen frequently deny access of the "public land" to the public by closing the only roads to the land.
The use of these lands should be put up for bid by the government every 10 years, with sportsmen and other groups allowed to bid on land use. The successful bidder should then have to agree to make the land available to the public for recreational use and to accept the wildlife living on the public land as a part of the lease. The killing of any animal or bird in violation of state or federal game laws by the leaseholder should automatically revoke the lease. Since most state game laws do not prohibit killing coyotes and bobcats, the stockmen, without the use of planes or poisons, would be allowed to practice selective predator control at their own expense.
Legislation has been introduced in the U.S. Senate by Senator Gordon Allott of Colorado and other Western senators that would give these stockmen a "right" to the public land they use rather than the privilege of its use. The bill is S 2028. Representative Wayne Aspinall of Colorado sponsored a similar bill in the House of Representatives, HR 9002.
Perhaps Van Irvine's poisoning of the eagles, and the alleged killing of even more eagles in Wyoming by the use of helicopters, will bring to the public's attention some of the abuses of the use of public land that are now going on and that will get worse if S 2028 is passed.
HOW NOW HAWK?
Let Mad Mod Ken Harrelson (Fluttering Start For A Hungry Hawk, Aug. 16) not despair over the title of "Hawk" in golf, hitherto the undisputed accolade given to Ben Hogan. Harrelson is certain in time to become a "Ball Hawk," the title given to golfers who are good at finding balls in the rough.
FREDERICK M. REEDER
On July 18 one of the greatest athletes of this century and one of the finest and truest of all goodwill ambassadors of sport retired from international competition, and there was not one mention of this in your magazine. I refer, of course, to Pelé, the incomparable, a star on two championship Brazilian World Cup teams. Despite soccer's lack of popularity in the U.S. and Canada, you should not forget that it is the No. 1 sport in the world, and Pelé stood alone in it. He set records that will never be surpassed.
Fortunately, I saw him play in Montreal, and he outdrew the Expos, who were playing against the Braves at the same time. I had never seen anyone who performed in his sport with such a high degree of skill and ease. He should be considered the athlete of the century; perhaps only Babe Ruth or Jim Thorpe played with such natural ability. How can such an athlete be ignored?
FOOTBALL BY THE METER
Obviously, Secretary of Commerce Maurice Stans was being facetious in his remark about the metric system ("They Said It," Aug. 9). Third and nine sounds the same in yards or meters, and looks about the same, too. But let's consider it seriously for a moment. Here are some suggestions:
1) Make the field 90 meters long with 10-meter end zones at either end.
2) Instead of 53‚Öì-yard-wide playing fields, make them an even 50 meters wide.
3) Kick off from the 30-meter line, to allow a few more runbacks on kickoffs.
There would be very little change in the overall dimensions of the field, a foot or two at most. So the switch to meters is not all that unreasonable.
R. VINCENT MCGRATH
Palos Heights, Ill.
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