MECHANICAL INTRUDER (CONT.)
Thank you for your excellent article on snowmobiling (Bad Show Out in the Cold Snow, March 16) and for suggesting various restrictions on the use of snowmobiles. I would like to see legislation passed that would make it illegal to operate any vehicle, be it a trail bike, jeep, snowmobile or even a horse, on privately owned land without the landowner's permission. With these irritations removed, the landowner would be more willing to permit the public to continue to hunt, fish, hike or camp on his property instead of excluding everyone because of a few irresponsible vehicle operators.
Each of us has his favorite outdoor location for the enjoyment of a sport or just for communing with nature. I would bet that 80% of these favorite spots are on private grounds, and unless we start treating the landowner better we'll all find ourselves shoehorned into public parks for our outdoor activity.
Snowmobilers could win some friends for themselves if they would form clubs, buy inexpensive mountain land in the snow country to use for their sport and then open the land to other outdoorsmen and nature lovers during the other three seasons.
University Park, Pa.
There was no mention of what snowmobiles could possibly be doing to the fishing. In the area where I live we have no woods or forests, so the snowmobilers take to the lakes. I gave up summer fishing because of the motorboats. Now it looks like I'll have to give up ice fishing.
I didn't realize just how bad these machines could be until last weekend, when I visited the races at West Yellowstone, Mont., adjacent to Yellowstone National Park. Conditions at these races are difficult to describe. The pit areas become a quagmire of oil, grease and mud. Gas fumes make the air almost unbreathable, and the noise produced by hundreds of snowmobiles running in unison is deafening. In addition, the usual film of beer cans and other garbage found at any gathering of 4,500 people covers the ground.
Although I realize that this main snowmobiles seldom become concentrated in one area, I, for one, would welcome additional restrictions on these vehicles.
RICHIE AND YAZ
It is my opinion that the personality on the front cover of your March 23 issue has done next to nothing to upgrade the sport that he represents. Inasmuch as he sets his own time for reporting to spring training (he feels it is at present too lengthy), fails to report for work regularly, holds a mediocre fielding average, sounds off to the press, criticizes his superiors via the news media (an unprofessional, insubordinate act in itself) and wastes his potential, it is my feeling that Richie Allen (A Bird in Hand and a Burning Busch) has a long, rough row to hoe before his image becomes worthy of being splashed conspicuously on the cover of a magazine that I consider the best part of the weekly mail.
DAVID J. LESKO
I found your article The Team That Eats Managers (March 16) to be straightforward and very informative, but it gave me the impression that a ballplayer such as Carl Yastrzemski, who may not be worth every penny of that $140,000 he is earning, is free to become a front-office man and to consent in some way to each manager his team hires. The position Yaz takes as a Red Sock should be playing the outfield and contributing to as many wins as he can with his hitting ability. If it is true that Yaz' attitude has changed this year, it will greatly help Boston attain the world championship Hag it blew in the 1967 World Series. Maybe, if Yaz stops crying for his Maypo and starts thinking seriously, that goal will not be too far off in the future.
Your recent article, "Swimming Isn't Everything, Winning Is" (March 9), has ruffled quite a few feathers in the Santa Clara Swim Club. Although this may come as a surprise to Arnold Spitz, quite a number of good swimmers have sprouted through their own efforts and those of their coach, George Haines. The devotion of these greats and the many other not-so-greats to Mr. Haines can never actually be put down in writing—no one would ever believe that one person could be so well liked by so many.
No one has ever been asked by Mr. Haines to join his swim club. Anyone who joins the club does so by his own choice. The club is entirely for the swimmers. Any parent who may try to manage or run the club will find himself off the membership list.
If Mark had problems in his social life, then the blame for these unglorified aspects should fall into the laps of his parents. They should not be considered the fault of swimming, the high school or the swim club he was associated with. The "accidents" Mark had were no more than others received while in high school—water polo can be a rough game, you know!
Santa Clara, Calif.
I swam on the same high school team with Mark Spitz and have swum for George Haines for more than 11 years. George has never been aloof or distant from me or any of my teammates. There has never been a time when I couldn't talk to George, anywhere about any subject, be it school, swimming or girls.
George Haines bent over backwards to defend Mark when my teammates and I ridiculed him. There was a time when Mark's only friend was his coach. But when George needed Mark most (Outdoor Nationals, 1969), Mark was "too tired" to compete Mark never cared how the team did as long as he won for himself.
Santa Clara, Calif.
Regarding the article on Mark (and Arnold) Spitz: whatever father Spitz' opinion may be of Santa Clara Swim Club Coach George Haines, I think almost every other swimmer or former swimmer who trained under George would agree with me that he is one of the finest and warmest coaches and friends—a young person could have swam under him for 13 years.
STEVE E. CLARK
I sympathize with Ronnie Durr in his statement that "we were misinformed about the weather" and consequently trapped aboard the Rum Runner for the full duration of Hurricane Camille (The Lady was a Killer, March 9). I was working in Bermuda during the summer of 1967 when the inhabitants of that frail island were victimized by the same dubious brand of forcasting that accompanied Camille. At 9 a.m. on a murky Saturday we civilian employees of Kindley AFB were informed that a severe storm might strike the island. At 10 a.m. we were officially excused from duties. By that time the hurricane had reached an intensity that discouraged all but a hardy few from attempting to cross the narrow causeway which provided our only access to the rest of the island. At approximately 12 noon the eye of the storm passed over the island. Fortunately for the people of Bermuda, this was a relatively mild hurricane. But the fact remains that a hurricane can apparently sneak up on an island that supports a major airbase and a naval station amply equipped with radar. Small wonder that a power-hitting dynamo like Camille could hold the U.S. Weather Bureau at bay.
DANIEL V. GRIBBIN, USA
APO San Francisco
In the SCORECARD section of your March 16 issue, you quoted Tug McGraw as saying, "You know, a lot of ballplayers would wear their hair long except it's not convenient; it gets in the way, with the cap and sweating so much. Just because we're the world champions and good baseball players doesn't mean we're better than people with long hair. I don't think people with long hair should be stereotyped as less American or less patriotic."
Bravo to McGraw for his stand. Not only is Tug a pitcher for the Mets, a Marine Corps reservist and an all-Met flake, but he is an ex-barber.
I read with some interest and chagrin your recent article covering the national squash tournament in Philadelphia (A Spicy Day at Penn, March 9). I am the president of a small squash club in Lynchburg, Va. with approximately 150 members and a rather avid group of squash enthusiasts. We are average men of average means with a few camel's-hair coats but very little else to differentiate us from the common man. We took some offense at your comments concerning the tweedy and camel's-hair set and the implication that squash is a game of the affluent and, perhaps, not really a man's game after all.
The game of squash is not only exciting, but requires great conditioning and stamina. It is probably the finest racquet game, and that includes tennis, in the world. It is a superb winter game for conditioning, great for youth in developing timing, speed and endurance and wonderful for middle-aged men to keep in shape with.
R.N. DENIORD, M.D.
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