After watching our performance in the U.S.- U.S.S.R. track meet, I would like to offer a few comments of my own. Our defeat was no disaster in itself. The usual post-Olympic letdown and our injuries contributed directly to our mediocre showing. But the ultimate cause, which could result in a real disaster for our track and field program in general, has to be the NCAA-AAU feud. Sure we know that everyone who was eligible did compete, and so on, but our young athletes are confused and upset and looking for leadership.
I was a fair hammer thrower at the Naval Academy and received many letters from track clubs, meet sponsors and AAU officials, all concerned with the power struggle. My coaches were often unable to give advice on when or where to compete because their loyalties were necessarily divided for the simple reason that they had competed under and worked with both the AAU and NCAA.
It is not really the matter of an athlete's being permitted to compete in any individual meet or the obvious squabbles that are causing the trouble. The problem lies in the fact that all the energies of the many capable individuals on both sides are devoted to the hassle. If this energy had been expended instead to provide promotion and publicity for meets, or guidance for our younger track stars, I can't help but feel that we would have developed a consistently strong track organization. We have to encourage and guide our young men and women with capable and unified leadership. We have to develop teamwork on the executive level. Our athletes are, I'm sure, ready to respond to such leadership.
We don't have to beat Russia every year, but let's face it, prestige is nice and, as you recently pointed out, our international prestige in amateur sports is suffering. It is time we started to correct the situation.
HENRY J. SAGE
1st Lieut., USMC
I enjoyed your article on U.S. Davis Cupper Arthur Ashe and his contribution to the U.S. victory over Mexico in the American Zone final (An Understudy Takes Charge, Aug. 9). However, I do not agree with. Writer Frank Deford that Osuna's loss to Ashe was mainly due to Osuna's bad knee. Deford failed to mention that in the fourth round at Wimbledon just a few weeks before Osuna defeated Ashe in three straight sets. Osuna was suffering with the same knee trouble then. This was a great win for Ashe.
As for Spain, Santana will probably come closer to losing both singles than he will to winning them. It will be the U.S. 4-1.
Re your article The Latins Storm las Grandes Ligas (Aug. 9), we here in Springfield, Mass., where the Washington Senators sent so many of their Cambria-discovered Cubans, recall with pride and affection their contributions to our rather drab teams of the '39, '40, '41 era. Had he chosen to, Robert Boyle could have listed a number of excellent ballplayers who sojourned in Springfield and then moved up to las grandes ligas. There were Rene Monteagudo, Tommy de la Cruz, Reggie Otero and Mike Guerra. There were Alex Carrasquel from Venezuela and men like Gil Torres, Roberto Ortiz and Agapito Mayor. The standouts in my memory were the slick pitchers Monteagudo and De la Cruz, the smooth First Baseman Otero and the fiery Catcher Fermin (Mike) Guerra.
Though Washington was frequently last in many ways, it was always first in the Latin-American League.
G. ROBERT RICHARDSON
The article on American track nuts (Some Fanatics Whose Fun Is Playing Old Records, Aug. 2) made fascinating reading for a limey nut like myself. But Author Gerald Holland was guilty of the sort of insularity that is supposed to be the preserve of the English. The world track-nut population is far from limited to the 10,000 readers of that excellent magazine Track & Field News.
The readers of SI may like to know that there are 137 members of the worldwide Association of Track and Field Statisticians who avidly collect data on the sport and publish it each year in book form.