Dan Jenkins' O.K., Everybody: Beat America! (July 26) is a perfect example of the negative attitude so popular in America today. If the author feels that America is slipping in international sports, why doesn't he make some constructive suggestions instead of trying to downgrade American athletes, who are still winning a higher percentage of events in more diversified sports than any country in the world?
Beckenham, Kent, England
O.K., Everybody: Beat America! was one of the worst articles that you have printed. O.K., so maybe we are not the best in everything, but I'd like to see the Russians hit Koufax. I am aware of the fact that we are losing ground to the Australians in tennis, but what about their boxers? Even if the Germans continue to beat us in rowing, how do they do in bridge? The point I am trying to make is that we may not be the best in everything, but we are darned good.
New Rochelle, N.Y.
According to Dan Jenkins, today's young Americans are a bunch of lazy, no-good bums. I cannot agree. I am 14, am on the football and basketball teams, play golf and tennis, make straight A's and B's in school and work during the summer. I am not speaking about me alone, but hundreds of kids in my area. Sure, there are the snob-nosed rich kids and thugs who commit crimes, but this is just a small percentage.
I have an opinion only about bridge, as I am close to 83 years of age. But I play bridge almost every afternoon at my club and do more than hold my own.
New York City
Not all sports are being dominated by foreigners. Americans have long dominated the sport of horseshoe pitching. When contestants take to the courts in Keene, N.H. this week for the World Tournament, the top 36 contestants in the finals will probably consist of 35 U.S. citizens and one Canadian. At least 12 will average over 80% ringers.
If you will check the available records of every sport since 1776 I believe you will find America has a wide edge on total records held. America always will have an edge in sports.
THOMAS R. CARMODY
Isn't it a good thing that an athlete may now be born almost anywhere in the world, even in Ethiopia, and still get a chance to reach the top? And isn't it a good thing that more and more countries have world-beating athletes they can be proud of?
What do you expect the U.S. to do, concentrate on a few sports and stay amateur forever just for the sake of winning every major event we enter?
As an ancient oarsman ( Princeton, vintage '57, lightweight at that), I would like to offer a couple of thoughts about American rowing.
First, since rowing is in many ways a science, I would suggest that permanent liaisons be established between college coaches and their university physics departments. It seems unlikely that the Germans or anyone else have yet achieved the mechanical ultimate in either equipment or methods of rowing, so there should be a lot yet to be discovered. Frankly, I would think that scientists are better equipped to begin rethinking some of the problems in rowing—e.g., could greater efficiency result if the position of the oar lock, the fulcrum of the oar (lever), were moved?—than the coaches. I would hope that a far wider and more analytical use is being made of movies today than it was when I was rowing. If not, it should be.