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However, the ancient and venerable Polo Grounds supplied the psychological lift that made New Yorkers clasp the Mets to their hearts. New York loves a winner, but it loves a loser, too, provided that the loser is a real loser. The Mets qualify. But I won't trudge out to Queens to see them. In the Polo Grounds you had a good time and drank beer in the bleachers and took off your shirt and got to the game three hours early to find someone to argue with. It was a large Ebbets Field (R.I.P.). Now it will be Touristville, and after the influx of visitors who mistake it "for a GM exhibit," the Yankees will again draw close to 2 million and the Mets will hire Emmett Kelly.
There might be some questions as to whether we wish to make our players professional like those of Russia and many other countries. But in hockey the Russians seem to be more amateur than we are. Their players are being subsidized for taking their time to train and play in the Olympics, while we send athletes that are, in fact, pros, but since they are not being paid by our government to play, they are not considered as pros.
Subsidies would give our teams more time to work together. We've got good players. Now let them get organized. Let's keep thinking about our future.
It is also quite obvious that our present competitive sports program in colleges and universities cannot be construed as strictly amateur. I think that it is time that we got rid of the decadent attitude of the present Olympic Committee and that the U.S. Government took a more active interest in helping to support a program for training and developing our athletes.
There is, however, a tragic aspect to the exposure of undiscovered territory of natural beauty to a public of millions. The tragedy lies in the exposing. Perhaps it is because of my selfishness that I feel this way. But I someday want to experience this country as Author Robert Cantwell has. I do not want to see it through the frame of an automobile window. I do not want to explore it with the help of directions etched on wooden road signs that indicate the number of miles to the nearest comfort station. I would like very much to roam through the smell of cedar, to catch a glimpse of a fleeing deer or even a bear loping out of a stream but not taking handouts from the tourists while Dad is busily snapping pictures from the back seat of the station wagon.
Once the public—and he can be a dirty animal with his paper containers and crush-proof cigarette boxes—gets wind of this place, I fear the Columbia watershed will suffer and die an unnatural death.