BIG BEAT (CONT.)
I think Dan Jenkins' article, O.K., Everybody: Beat America! (July 26), is one of the most specious pieces of journalism I've read in a long time. But what is worse is the fact that inherent in the "philosophy" of the article is that maddening, superegotistic American idea that we are some kind of a superpeople who just naturally are entitled to win everything.
We do far better competitively in sports with the rest of the world than in literature, music, foreign diplomacy, philosophy, medicine, science or education—just to mention a few examples.
It's time Americans began to realize that we're not the only country in the world with talent and resources, so perhaps a little ego-smashing in the sports arena won't do this country any harm at all.
STAFFORD P. OSBORN
...[it] would have been a great article with a deep-seated meaning four years ago. Then we were doing just as badly if not worse than now. Then we were on a sharp decline that was stemmed by President Kennedy's physical fitness program. But now we are on the way up.
I would like to thank you for Dan Jenkins' article. I will not attempt to indulge in a discussion of the apparent philosophy that has spread across our nation and degraded competitive spirit. But I would like to point to one particular area that could be the subject for a subsequent article: the lack of opportunity for young women to participate and excel in athletics during high school and college so they might rise to a level of proficiency that could offer strong competition on the world sports scene.
There seems to be a general nationwide objection to having women compete against men in such games as tennis and swimming. Obviously, if young women are not permitted to compete at these levels against men they can hardly be expected to gain the experience and confidence required to dominate in the world arena.
As a typical example, my 16-year-old daughter has attended one of the best tennis schools in the U.S. But she cannot participate as a member of the high school boys' tennis team even though she could defeat at least half of its members. Of course, there is no girls' team since there generally are not enough females attending a typical high school who have the interest or background to participate. A similar situation exists with the swim team. It is particularly frustrating to a young girl with formal training to be forbidden to participate in such activities and yet be forced to play kick ball, volleyball, etc. in gym class.
C. E. MYERS JR.
Last year I was one of two goalies on the U.S. national hockey team and discovered, much to my amazement, that things are indeed not all rosy in U.S. hockey. I don't feel, however, that poor hockey is to blame. Rather, the basic fault lies in a lack of support for the teams that are sent abroad.
In 1965 it was largely through the support of one man that a team was able to go at all. Other than this, our financial support was so negligible that the team was only able to practice together a total of two weeks before traveling to Europe. Our competition had been practicing together anywhere from five to seven months before coming to the world championships. The fact that we came in sixth instead of eighth indicates that the talent is there. Give the talent a chance and I'm sure it will prove itself.
FREDERICK H. MARKS
New York City
I like the title of the article by Mr. Jenkins, O.K., Everybody: Beat America! because I would like to see someone try it.