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Original Issue


Delightful Del Mar
What a marvelous piece of writing and spectacular opening words by William Nack about Del Mar Racetrack (A Little Bit of Heaven, July 15)—lyrical and evocative of the joie de vivre that Del Mar celebrates. This wonderful writer has the (k) nack of making memorable ghosts of the past come alive for all who understand the tradition and sheer enjoyment of horse racing.
New Orleans

No one portrays the atmosphere of a racetrack as well as Nack. I spent two of my teen years as an exercise boy before I grew too big to become a jockey. To this day, 29 years later, I miss the emotion and friendship of that world of unending hope and dreams. Nack brings it back so well.
Fort Pierce, Fla.

How can you run an 11-page story about a racetrack without including a picure of the track itself?
Evanston, Ill.

I don't believe you guys! You condemn those who bet on sports, you run articles on those who have been ruined by betting and yet you have an article on the Del Mar Racetrack that details big wins by some of the bettors. That article makes me want to go to Del Mar and try my luck. Still, I can't help but see a contradiction in your stories.
Halifax, Nova Scotia

Nack left out another famous Del Mar devotee. J. Edgar Hoover regularly made annual inspections of the San Diego FBI office, coincidentally during the Del Mar racing season. He and a top San Diego agent used to go to the track together.
San Diego

A Glimpse of the Future
After reading William Oscar Johnson's tongue-in-cheek but not too far-fetched look into the future of televised sports (Sports in the Year 2001, July 22), I remain unconvinced about one thing. It will be a warm day in Duluth when the Notre Dame Fighting Irish and the Southern Cal Trojans change their team names to the General Electrics and the Toshibas. Fans are protective of tradition. I can't imagine—even in the 21st century—my favorite teams going by sponsor names instead of their traditional nicknames.
Little Rock, Ark.

I'm puzzled by Johnson's prediction of a "blowout in which the UNLV Runnin' Rolaids beat the Duke Blue BMWs, 139-72" in the 2001 Final Four. Won't the Runnin' Rolaids still be on probation in 2001?

As a Cincinnati Bengal fan, I was disappointed that Johnson failed to answer the question: Who won Super Bowl XXXV?
Lancaster, Ohio

A Class Act
David Whitford's article about former pitcher Ferguson Jenkins (Glory Amid Grief, July 15) brought back bittersweet memories. For my 50th birthday last December my wife surprised me, a lifelong Cub fan, with the gift of a week at the Cubs' Fantasy Camp in Arizona. I arrived there in the middle of January and enjoyed myself for several days, the only cloud being news of the death that week of Fergie Jenkins's wife. On the day of the big game between the Fantasy campers and the ex-pros, who should show up but Jenkins. He pitched a strong five innings against us and then willingly signed autographs and posed for photos. Talk about a class act at a time of terrible personal tragedy.
Irving, Texas

Dave Dravecky
We hear every day how much we long for heroes. Well, we need look no further than Dave Dravecky (Let's Make the Best of It, July 22) as an example of unique courage, character and strength.
Piedmont, Calif.

Children and Sports
I found Rick Telander's July 22 POINT AFTER to the point. Sports programs, facilities and maintenance are always the first items up for discussion when city or school officials talk about reducing financial shortfalls. This Band-Aid approach seldom, if ever, considers the long-term impact of such cuts. Telander is right on the money when he points out that sports teach children so many intangible essentials that will benefit them as adults, such as cooperation, achievement and the plain happiness of competition. Sports are an important ingredient in the successful construction of an adult.
Costa Mesa, Calif.

I grew up in a low-income housing project, and Telander's wonderful article on disadvantaged children brought back a flood of memories. Thank you for the painful reminder that there are millions of children who do not have the privileges we so easily give to our own.
Issaquah, Wash.



Horses race at Del Mar, where according to the track anthem, "the turf meets the surf."

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