TRACK: THE DISTANCE MYTH
In regard to Tex Maule's remark about U.S. distance runners (SI, June 30)—"We may never break the European monopoly on the distance races, since these have little appeal to American athletes"—may I point out the following facts? Since the U.S. athletes' lag in distance running was made only too plain by Zatopek and Company in the 1948 Olympic Games, Americans have:
1) Come out for high school cross-country in ever-increasing numbers, until now 32 states (including over 85% of the nation's population) now hold state or regional cross-country championships.
2) Broken the following U.S. national and/or national collegiate distance records: 1,500 meters, one mile, 2,000 meters, 3,000-meter steeplechase, 2 miles, 3 miles, 5,000 meters, 6 miles, 10,000 meters, 2� mile distance medley relay, four-man 6,000-meter relay and four-man 4-mile relay.
3) Broken all official interscholastic distance records plus the unofficial 2 miles and medley relays.
It is time the myth that Americans do not like distance races be exploded.
NORMAN C. LUMIAN
Redondo Beach, Calif.
L.A.: PAX VOBISCUM
Seeing James Murray's article Coining Gold in the Cellar (SI, June 30), I was prepared for another tiresome blast at Walter O'Malley, the Dodgers, Los Angeles, and its inhabitants. I was very pleasantly surprised, however, when I read what seemed to be the first article about us that wasn't fit to be thrown into the wastebasket.
Los Angeles is truly the greatest sports center in the world. Our citizens patronize every type of sport offered them. Our fans have the most spirit. You can't realize how much fun it is going out to the Coliseum and yelling "Cha-a-rge" every time the USC Charge Song is played as the Dodgers come to bat. Our fans are the friendliest, too. We have a ball at the Coliseum.
I love baseball, and I resent it very much when you Easterners accuse us of not knowing our baseball. We have a baseball tradition stretching back to the 19th century. Our minor league teams were great. When the L.A. Angels played the Hollywood Stars the crowds really came out.
That the Dodgers are not doing very well doesn't bother me very much. I don't think any of us can point to one cause for their poor play. The big move west, the field, the screen are all responsible. The Dodgers will come out of it—if not this year, then next.
My reasons for going out to watch them play include the players. They are really nice. On Camera Day they were extremely obliging before and after the game. It's a pleasure to go out and watch such a friendly group of players and to listen to the games via radio, especially now that Vin Scully and Jerry Doggett have got the " California bug."