In this world of atomic energy and aerospace, cold wars and hot ones, one can't help but wonder on occasion whether a man really has any business devoting his life to, say, mastering the physical act of striking a ball with a club. And, reasoning thus, one would find surprising the genuine sorrow expressed by so many at the death of a professional golfer—or any sportsman. But the heart has reasons of which the reason knows not. One might as well say it is illogical for people to spend an afternoon in an art gallery or enjoy a symphony.
Tony Lema was a man whose skill gave esthetic pleasure, whose spirit inspired admiration. And when one life has stirred such emotions in other people, its ending is a personal thing. Tony Lema was involved in mankind. And his death diminishes me.
Rarely have I been enthralled by a sport I know so very little about, but Barnaby Conrad's tribute to Carlos Arruza, Homage to a Peerless Matador (Aug. 1), did just that. His superb commentary had me seeing every pass and shuddering with each glancing blow of the bull's horns. I am very sorry that I will never have the pleasure of seeing this great matador in the ring. But I feel that I have experienced some of Arruza's greatness through this story, and that will have to satisfy me.
Barnaby Conrad's article was a moving, fitting farewell to Carlos Arruza, perhaps the most exciting torero of our time.
New York City
UNDER THE RAINBOW
Soaring enthusiasts are almost invariably pleased to find their sport given publicity in a mass-circulation magazine. This is all the more true when the pictures and text are of the unusually high quality found in your article (Sailors of the Shadowed Skies, Aug. 1). There seem to be certain abiding misconceptions about soaring, however, and two of these have cropped up again.
The first is that a sailplane is fragile. Gliders do look fragile, but they are among the most highly stressed airplanes built. Maximum load factors are generally on the order of eight or nine, a point beyond which it is probably inadvisable to go because of the stresses put on the contents of the glider, the pilot included.
The second idea, that soaring is an escape, is a great deal more complex. To the idle passenger in a glider the experience may seem to be conspicuously free of care. There are, in fact, many times when lift is so abundant that the glider pilot can sit back and enjoy an hour of rather easy flying. This, however, is exceptional.
Soaring, at its best, is too complex, too demanding, too engrossing and requires far too much energy and concentration to be considered easy or escapist. It is, in this respect, very much like life itself, offering intimations of immortality with the elation of attaining some cloudy height, or the abysmal dejection of a seemingly hopeless struggle against gravity on some little knoll. Perhaps this explains what draws sailors to the shadowed skies.
RICHARD N. MILLER
Santa Monica, Calif.
Congratulations on your excellent and, perhaps, unexpected articles on the World Cup competition in London (July 25 and Aug. 8). Never underestimate the number and tenacious loyalty of soccer devotees here in the U.S. Soccer is the fastest-growing sport in America today. One sign of the times is the fact that the World Cup final was shown nationally via Early Bird.
Soccer, the king of all sports, can be a great bridge between the U.S. and the rest of the world, and it will do more to enhance America's international prestige than all the economic, political and military power we can muster.
New York City