OFF THE MARK
In the past I have been opposed to the interference of the Federal Government in sports such as baseball and boxing. However, because of the present unfortunate, ridiculous and confusing feud between the AAU and NCAA regarding track and field, I feel that action by an outside agency is necessary. Because of this feud, one of the world's finest distance runners, Gerry Lindgren, who is now competing abroad, faces possible loss of a college scholarship and may even be giving up a position on the 1968 Olympic team (Fast Teen-agers in Grown-up Time, July 5).
For years the amateur regulations pertaining to track and field athletes in this country have been outdated. An amateur golfer is permitted to compete among professionals without endangering his amateur status. The New York Yankees play an annual exhibition game of baseball with the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, yet none of the cadets is declared a professional. An Olympic hurdler who is married on a daytime television program, on the other hand, is stripped of his amateur status.
Cheers for Gerry Lindgren! His courage to place his country above the possible loss of a scholarship because of the silly quarreling of two groups should be praised by all sports fans. If he is deprived of his scholarship, the members of the group should hang their heads in shame.
EDWARD G. CURRALL
Pacific Grove, Calif.
As one of a great number of young American distance-running fans, I read with great interest and pleasure your article on the AAU meet in San Diego. But I was appalled at the statement that Jimmy Ryun runs 20 quarters in 50 (fifty!) seconds each. Even the freshmen on the champion Monte Vista cross-country team know that means he should be able to run a 3:30 mile or a 1:40 half. Cancel my subscription and call me a golf fan if I'm wrong.
La Mesa, Calif.
?Ryun's quarters suffered from typographical inflation; they actually were worth 59 seconds.—ED.
In your June 3, 1963 issue you stated that Mickey Mantle was the most exciting, explosive figure in baseball. In your September 30 issue of the same year you said there was no better baseball player in the world. Now your latest boast is that he has been on your cover seven times—more than any other baseball player (LETTER FROM THE PUBLISHER, June 21). With no disrespect intended toward Mantle, I think that Willie Mays is the greatest ballplayer around. So how many times has he been on your cover?
?Four. Twice by himself, once with Leo Durocher and Laraine Day (below), and once with Mantle and six other members of the 1958 All-Stars.—ED.
As a lifelong amateur weekend tennis player, a father of three boys, a pediatrician and a reader of your magazine, I feel qualified and even compelled to comment on two stories in your July 5 issue, the one by Bill Talbert and the one about the Richeys.
Mr. Talbert obviously takes to the court with the objective of defeating his opponent, as his record shows. But the purpose of his game, as he mentions in the last sentence of his article, How to Serve and Win, is to have fun. Talbert—like many others—was able to become a nationally ranked tennis player and still retain a sense of proportion and balance in his life. A blinding desire to defeat his opponent apparently did not warp his character so as to make him entirely useless off the tennis court.
But what of Cliff Richey, the high school dropout described in the following article. The Highest-ranking Family in Tennis? What will he be when he can no longer walk over everyone on the other side of the net? Will his collection of tin cups make up for his total inability to do anything more constructive than hit a tennis ball? What about the thousands of others like him, tragic youths so caught up in the whirl of competitive athletics and driven by parents and coaches who are unwilling to settle for second best? The status of families, schools, universities, cities and now even nations has been placed upon the thin shoulders of these kids who no doubt want to win but probably want even more to have fun. What will be the price we will be asked to pay for our indiscretions?
ALYIN H. FILM AN, M.D.