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Original Issue


Sports Illustrated and Morton Sharnik have given boxing its greatest assist since the first fighter donned a pair of gloves (Death of a Champion, April 1). Many, many thanks for your factual and unemotional account of the tragedy. With the exception of three local sportswriters, we've read nothing but reams and reams of hysterical outcries from headline seekers who managed to hit the front pages with news of Davey Moore's collapse, struggle and death. Then on the first day following Moore's wake, the story of his last flight to Ohio was buried deep on page 10 of the sports section where there are more classified ads than sports.

The people who screamed "ban boxing" never did say on what grounds. Oh, there were words from certain politicians and even His Holiness Pope John XXIII, that it should be outlawed on the grounds that it is barbaric. But this is not only ridiculous, it is biased and unfair. The opponents of boxing are quick to tell us that boxing should not exist, because we point out that there are "more gentle" deaths in mountain climbing, auto racing, hiking, etc., too. But therein lies the crux of the whole matter. Why single out one sport because of certain risks involved, and let others thrive with the same or even greater risks (including that big sport—the flight to the moon)? Unless boxing is banned because of a defect in its morality, then it should not be banned unless all other "risk-ridden" activities are also banned. Ironically, the critics seldom touch the moral aspect. It's just as well since almost no fighters have ever expressed a desire to render permanent harm or injury (Sugar Ramos expressed this beautifully).

Once again, I must applaud you for mentioning boxing's age-old miseries—the influence of hoodlums and lack of scientific research with regard to better protection (though the latter was hardly a factor in Davey's demise). This kind of constructive criticism is always welcome. Last fall you had an excellent article on the morality of boxing (SI, Nov. 5). Morton Sharnik's masterpiece rates beside it.
Church of the Advent (Episcopal)
Los Angeles

I'd like to second the point you made in your article on the death of Davey Moore, namely, your reference to the use of scientific devices to detect serious injuries.

I was a college boxer at the University of Wisconsin and won the NCAA title at 145 pounds in 1952. Two years later I was knocked out and given an electroencephalographic test. They detected what they termed "slow waves" and did not allow me to fight again. I can't help but feel that that test prevented me from incurring serious damage.

However, college boxing did give me two important things: a college education and the realization that difficult situations must be faced—not only in the ring but in later life as well. There was never a lime waiting in the dressing room before a fight that I didn't wish somehow that I wouldn't have to go through with the ring battle.

Boxing taught me a lesson my father might have learned many years before when he left our family of five after our mother's death. In other words, boxing gave mean education and a more important lifelong lesson in facing difficult situations. In addition, the scientific procedures available saved me from possible serious injury. I came out way ahead of the game.

The death of Davey Moore puts us all under an obligation to do our utmost to see that this type of thing does not happen again. The state of Virginia requires all amateur boxers to wear headgear when engaged in boxing. I cannot believe that headgear is ineffective, and I must reject the contention of the promoters that the use of headgear is "certain death at the box office." The promoters of yesteryear no doubt claimed that the use of boxing gloves would keep fans away.
Lynchburg, Va.

As a lifelong admirer of squirrels, I was intrigued by the Freeloader Freeway described in SCORECARD (March 25).

I hasten to reassure those who think these clever quadrupeds will not find Nutty Narrows Bridge. It would probably be a well-merited gesture to their intelligence to give them at least a few days to learn the new way across the street before marking it out with nuts. I'll bet a quarter they'd find it.

I speak from experience with a crew of squirrels who think they own my place, and who have bypassed every obstacle I have put in their way to the bird feeders.
Des Moines

Thank you very much for your interesting story on Sally Ames Langmuir and her fine yawl, Bolero (A Boston Girl's Long Voyage Home, April 1). However, there are two other women of my acquaintance who have far outdistanced Mrs. Langmuir's record in "miles under sail."

The first is Mrs. Electa Johnson, wife of Captain Irving Johnson, who formerly owned the schooner Yankee, the brigantine Yankee and who is now sailing aboard their beloved ketch Yankee in European waters. Mrs. Johnson's experience at sea from 1931 to the present includes the following routes: three Atlantic crossings: seven around-the-world voyages (SI, July 4, 1955), each covering approximately 45,000 miles; and more recently, four years in their auxiliary ketch Yankee, sailing through the Baltic Sea, the Greek islands, the Mediterranean, and countless crossings of the European Continent itself via the rivers and canals.

During her years on the first two Yankees she brought up two sons aboard, as well as doing her full share to run the ship captained by her husband and assisted by amateur crews of young men and women.

My second candidate for these honors is Dr. Alice Strahan Sheldon who, as a member of the crew of the brigantine Yankee's seventh world voyage (1956-58), also covered some 45,000 miles aboard her. Later, with her husband Captain Christopher Sheldon, she sailed the brigantine Albatross through the Mediterranean from Portugal to Suez, down through the tedious Red Sea, south around the Cape of Good Hope and back to the U.S. The vessel was then fitted out as a school ship and sailed from Mystic, Conn. through the Caribbean, the Panama Canal and out to the Galapagos Islands in the Pacific. She was headed back to the Bahamas in the spring of 1961 when the vessel was struck by a freak blow in the Gulf of Mexico, and sank with the loss of six hands, including Dr. Sheldon. A memorial has been built and dedicated to this gallant woman at the Mystic Seaport Museum in Connecticut.

My congratulations to Sally Ames Langmuir for her enthusiasm for the sea, and especially for ocean racing, which is a strenuous and taxing sport for both boat and crew. At the rate she is going perhaps she will someday pass the records of miles under sail set by these two women.
North Hollywood

In regard to your article on the so-called U.S. "schoolboy gang" playing in the 1963 world hockey championships (SCORECARD, March 18), I congratulate you on taking some action to expose the deplorable situation facing amateur hockey today in this country.

Certainly our seventh-place finish in this year's world tournament is by no means an indication of U.S. ability. Having been the victors in the 1960 Olympic hockey championships proves without a doubt that we have players able to challenge any world power.

This year's disgraceful showing clearly indicates that our best players are being deprived of the opportunity to represent this country's true hockey strength. The reason is lack of adequate financial backing. If smaller countries such as Sweden and Czechoslovakia can afford to send experienced, well-organized teams into international hockey competition, why can't the U.S.? What can the average fan do to help?
Burlington, Vt.

I came across the observation of the editor of SCORECARD that one of the reasons for the poor showing made by our hockey team on its recent tour and in its participation in the world championships was the fact that adequate funds are not available except in Olympic years, when contributions can be deducted from income tax.

We will appreciate your passing the word along that contributions made to our People-to-People Sports Committee for the purposes of conducting international sports events are tax deductible during any year—Internal Revenue Ruling 57-38. Contributions may be earmarked for specific projects or specific sports.
New York City

I feel the average American citizen is not aware of the influence exerted by our representative teams on foreign peoples' impressions of us. The conduct of our teams, both on and off the field, is so important it behooves us to send abroad only the best.

I feel it is up to the American college coaches to give a nod to American youngsters over Canadians. I am not condemning the Canadians, but they will not go on to represent us in the world championships.