Bravo! Bravo! Andrea Mead Lawrence's article, Lei's Not Spoil Their Sport (Feb. 3), is the year's most needed critical review. Substitute baseball, tennis, swimming in place of skiing—the words apply equally to any sport.
Winning is fine, but playing—win or lose—is life itself.
Mount Pleasant, Mich.
The same philosophy should apply in every human endeavor, whether in recreation, in education, in religion or in winning the daily bread.
W. O. ZIMMERMAN
New Kensington, Pa.
In view of the 1964 Winter Olympic results so far, are you sure our skiers were so terribly and outrageously downgraded by the prejudiced Europeans?
JOHN E. HERZOG
A few (million) people owning and using firearms for sport and protection will not agree that Warren S. Mitchell's proposals (19TH HOLE, Feb. 3) will effectively disarm criminals or, "in no way restrict legitimate use of firearms." It is rather obvious that he is ignorant of the manufacture of small arms, their use, their acquisition by criminals and the history of legislation concerning them both here and in other countries. For his information, all except the very cheapest of guns, including the military, are and have been numbered serially, and legitimate dealers, without exception, record such numbers in their sales records.
New York State's 50-year-old Sullivan Law covers short firearms much as Mitchell advocates for all guns. It has made it difficult and in most cases impossible for the average citizen to own a pistol for any reason in that state. If it has prevented criminals from doing so, it isn't apparent from police reports and records.
As a tool-and-diemaker with 22 years of professional gunsmithing experience, I would feel insulted if anyone suggested that I couldn't build from metal and wood available anywhere a better rifle than the gun allegedly used by Oswald with such fantastic effectiveness. And teen-agers with little or no mechanical training make the lethal and illegal zip gun.
W. S. VICKERMAN
As a schoolteacher, recreation director, youth leader, infantry veteran and parent, I feel qualified to voice an opinion on the right of Americans to bear arms: Mr. Mitchell is dead wrong on every count—even about snowballs. It so happens that snowballs are a lot more dangerous than firearms. I am elementary safety director for our schools and closely observe the damage done by snowballs fired astray. (The national records are appalling.) Reader Mitchell shouldn't attempt to speak with authority on snowballs since he lives in a state (California) that has little appreciable snowfall per year.
ART VAN ATTA
I agree with Mr. Mitchell's thesis, but the phrase that caught my attention was "only adults of good character." Where did he get the secret of what constitutes good character? Let me know so I can bottle it. I'll make millions.
There ought to be a law against murder. That's what.
MEN IN STRIPES
Having had the distinctly inspiring experience of playing in at least a dozen games refereed by Charley Eckman while at Duke, I took great pleasure in reading Frank Deford's fine article, Here Comes Cholly Bop-de-bop-bop (Feb. 3). Well do I recall the effect of Cholly's stinging rebukes at a missed rebound or an ill-timed pass during the course of a game. Yet equally well do I remember the tonic effect of the Eckman humor in a tense, hard-fought contest. Charley is, in effect, a two-team coach, unbiased official and master psychologist wrapped up in one, and he is abundantly successful at all three. In fact, Charley is the only referee I know to be cheered by the fans upon his appearance on the floor for a game—not as a show of favoritism but solely out of respect for a man who "calls 'em as he sees 'em."
As an avid college basketball fan for about six years and having seen quite a few games during this period, including about 60 per season over the past two years, it was very refreshing to read a good article about a fine referee in your February 3 issue. College basketball is the best basketball in the world but is oftentimes hindered by the refs. I have to agree with Charley Eckman's statement that there are quite a few "homers."
IRVING H. PICARD
I am a hockey fan, but I feel strongly regarding the subject of refereeing in any sport. Right now, as your SCORECARD item (Feb. 10) suggests, officiating in hockey is at a low ebb. It is well documented that this is a fast, rough, demanding game, and no man can be expected to witness every incident that occurs on the ice. However, one can expect that when the man in stripes does see such incidents, he will act accordingly—and with consistency. I, for one, do not believe that any NHL referee would be so naive as to consciously show partiality to any one team; however, I do believe that through ignorance of the rules, lack of ability to make snap decisions and inability to carry out their convictions, the men with the whistles are making a fiasco of the game by appearing to be partial.
HAROLD R. BASS
Melrose Park, Ill.
The ratings for "the most popular televised sporting events" of 1963 attached to William Leggett's article on the recent purchase of NFL television rights does not play fair with college football (The 28-million-dollar Deal, Feb. 3). The overall 1963 average audience rating for the NCAA series, stated as 13.4, was in fact slightly higher at 13.7. More important, had college football's televised Thanksgiving Day game (Texas vs. Texas A&M) been given a separate listing, as were NFL and AFL Thanksgiving programs, it would have been, at 19.6, among the year's 10 top-rated sports events; so would the Army-Navy game, at 17.6. College football, the original game of football, continues to be universally popular.
Secretary, NCAA Television Committee
New York City
ON THE TAB
With regard to your January 27 SCORECARD item on off-track betting shops, I submit that the idea is far from as zany as you indicate. In Victoria and Queensland there have been set up by the state governments what are known as Totalisator Agency Board offices (TABs). Any punter can drop on down and bet on any of the races open for action on that particular day. The sky's the limit as long as the long green is plunked down. One has to get set at least an hour or so before the race, and the payoff doesn't come until the Monday following the customary racing day of Saturday. Further, on application, one can even establish credit to a limit mutually agreed upon by the customer and the TAB.
The racing clubs were all for the idea, as they saw their chance to knock off the illegal bookmakers while at the same time gaining additional revenue without additional taxes. Further, TAB shares the loot with the racing clubs, who pass along a part of it in the form of increased purses to the horse owners. And, oddly enough, the legitimate bookies also strongly favor the setup on the sound premise that anything that helps horse racing helps them.
Action is now pending to establish TABs in Sydney (New South Wales). The illegal bookies are strong and well-heeled and are putting up a stiff battle, but they'll lose in the end, as they did in other states in Australia.
FREDERICK R. SCHROEDER JR.
La Jolla, Calif.
In your February 3 SCORECARD article, "Gadget Golf," you tell about a pair of glasses which, when placed upon the head, is supposed to cure all your putting troubles by giving a straight line to the hole from the ball. It's a fine idea, but how many times does one have just that—a straight line? Not many. What you fail to take into consideration is that a green is not a flat surface but rather a combination of flat surface, hills and rolls.
Tell the gadgetmakers to try again.
FOUR AT 16
We join in applauding the accomplishments of Gerry Lindgren (The Fastest Boy in the West, Jan. 27) and in anticipating his future. But keep your eye on a possible future Olympic teammate: Jim Ryun, 16-year-old Wichita East High junior, who ran two miles in nine minutes, 14 seconds despite a nightmare start (bumped, spilled, sprawled flat).
Don't be surprised if he does the first four-minute mile in high school. We won't be.
CLAUDE C. MOORE