At one time, during the late '20s and early '30s, San Francisco could boast more handball courts (four-wall, three-wall, one-wall, sides of buildings, warehouses, fire stations, garages, Chinese laundries, etc.) than any other city in the world. Had Jimmy Jacobs been around there then he would have had to play against Al Banuet (pronounced Ban-yu-ay) who was really the greatest. AI could have spotted Jacobs from three to seven points, given Jimmy the first serve, played to only 15 points and won.
TWO EARS AND A TALE
Liz Smith rates an �Ol�! along with two ears and a tail (hooves are no longer cut in Spain, your SPCA readers will be happy to learn) for her entertaining article, No Blood, Some Tears, A Sweat of Money (March 7).
But the "bloodless" bullfights in Houston were not without fault. Bullfighting is an art which was meant to be seen and understood in its entirety. If any part is omitted for any reason, legal or otherwise, it becomes almost a farce. Pop art is interesting and fun, but it is never true art. That a good matador (he is not the best, by a long shot) like Paco Camino would appear is not so strange, when one considers his $100,000 salary. Antonio Ord��ez, on the other hand, who is the world's greatest bullfighter in style and classic form, was not present.
Miss Smith was guilty of one or two incorrect statements in her article. Soccer no longer is Spain's top attraction. The antics of El Cordob�s have, at least, returned bullfighting to the top in attendance and interest. Furthermore, the bloodless corridas of Las Vegas last year were not the first in this country. In the 1920s similar exhibitions were held at Coney Island.
Miss Smith also said that the banderillas "disorient" the bull. Incorrect. The purpose of "the darts" is, on the contrary, to orient the bull, to correct some of the deficiencies of his charge, as well as to weaken the neck muscles. But all in all, she earned her �Ol�s!
New York City
Liz Smith's article on Houston's corrida incruenta made interesting reading, but it was misleading in that Texans did not, as she said, see as many excellent matadors as would be seen in a Mexican plaza all season. That same weekend I saw, during the annual bullfight festival in Guadalajara, three of the top 10 Spanish matadors for 1965 (El Pireo, El Viti and Jaime Ostos) and at least four Mexicans (Manuel Capetillo, Raul Garc�a, Alfredo Leal and Jaime Rangel) who are far-higher rated than the border town hotshots who appeared in Houston. Matadors like Jaime Bravo can't even get on the cartel in Mexico City, Guadalajara and other major plazas in the interior. And as for rejoneadores, Guadalajara had only one to Houston's four, but that one was Carlos Arruza, one of the greatest alltime toreros.
Paco Camino was the only real figura at Houston, but not many aficionados in Spain or Mexico would any longer rate him as Numero Uno. He's still young, but he's already considered past his peak.
ROBERT C. GILKEY
ON THE ROCKS
May I add to the diatribes that will undoubtedly greet Mr. Tom C. Brody's article on women's curling, Belly Whopper to a Take-out Win (Feb. 28)? If I were one of the ladies from St. Paul, I would arrange for a meeting in a dark alley with the writer. They are the rink members who are portrayed as the "outcasts" with their serious approach to an ancient and convivial sport. I wonder how long it will be before they flop their way through another bonspiel.
I am not a lady curler! But I qualify as an expert spectator by virtue of my husband's avid interest and participation in the game. Curling is primarily a social sport! It was conceived for enjoyment and fraternizing equally as much as for athletic prowess. Years ago the winners of a bonspiel almost "apologized" when accepting their medals or trophies. A recent back injury has kept me off the ice, but I would undoubtedly be persona non grata anyway, because I have a strong tendency to play games to win.
J. S. BATZER
New York City
I have not had such a laugh in a long time—being an old curler myself from way up in northeastern Ontario. I curled for 14 years as skip, and curling is the one thing I miss here in California.