IN THE KRISHNA MENON MANNER
If India's Davis Cup team fails (as seems likely) to beat the Mexicans in the Interzone finals this week, it will not be for lack of gamesmanship. Definitely outranked on the courts, the Indians ployed their Mexican rivals to an advantageous position even before they reached India. While the Mexicans were waiting for a plane, the Indians told them the cup matches would not be held in cool, dry New Delhi as planned, but in hot, humid Madras, where the Indians had been practicing for a month.
To further shatter their morale, the Mexicans were told that they probably would have to make the long trip to Madras by train since all civilian air traffic was tied up because of the border war. The Mexicans arrived in New Delhi to find that the Indians had made no arrangements for them to get to Madras by either train or plane, nor had they arranged for courts for them to practice on, nor beds for them to sleep in. The Indian tennis association, in fact, did not even send a representative to meet the Mexicans at the airport. The association did, however, make it clear that the matches would take place in Madras without postponement whether the Mexicans arrived in time or not. Failure to arrive would mean default.
Housed and fed at last by their ambassador, who also arranged transportation, the Mexicans accepted the fact of having to play tennis without proper conditioning, or even practice, in the Indians' dank sinkhole. One thing seems pretty clear: if the Indians seek Free World volunteers for their defense against Red China, they won't get many Mexicans.
THE CURTAIN RISES
The long-familiar crusade against boxing as a sport—as distinguished from prizefighting as an underworld racket, which is quite another matter—now has won support behind the Iron Curtain and in independently Communist Yugoslavia, too. A committee of four—three M.D.s from Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia and Mexico and a physical education Ph.D. from Chicago—is circularizing physicians to win support for the elimination of boxing from the Olympic Games. The usual arguments against boxing—serious injury, death—are presented, to our mind speciously, and the physicians are urged to protest to a member of the committee so that their letters may be forwarded to Avery Brundage, International Olympic Committee president.
We would not suggest for a moment that this is part of a Communist plot to soften American youth or even to cost the U.S. some gold medals in Tokyo. (We did take three gold medals in boxing in the Rome Olympics, though—among them one worn most proudly by Cassius Clay.) But that 50% Communist representation strikes us as a little much.
The committee has received at least one reply from a physician, and a protest at that—but not the kind solicited. The writer was Frank E. Barnes Jr., M.D., of Smithfield, N.C., a member of the American College of Sports Medicine, chairman of the North Carolina Medical Society Committee on the Medical Aspects of Sports and president of the American Association for Automotive Medicine. He advised the committee that "college and Olympic boxing contests should be encouraged."
"I do not want to see your group push for elimination of a sport," Dr. Barnes wrote, "but campaign for better supervision, better equipment, better coaching and more understanding of the problems. If you are successful in this venture of eliminating a sport, we'll have some high and mighty educators trying to eliminate football and lacrosse because they are contact sports."
Dr. Barnes is so right.