Whether they are running for office or just getting a little exposure, politicians are wont to show up at ball games, fights, even track meets—but you'll rarely run into one at a racetrack, for which they affect a traditional repugnance. This comes to mind because the word is that Frank O'Connor, the Democratic candidate for governor of New York, has reportedly said that certain groups, including "racetrack people," would be kept out of his entourage. It goes without saying that if O'Connor is elected, he won't spurn the "take," but that's not the point and we're not picking on O'Connor, who's just being politically expedient.
The point is this: why, in this country, is racegoing still considered immoral or unseemly? In England, for instance, the Queen not only makes a point of going racing and enjoying it, she also owns a considerable stable; and the sport (or quasi-sport, if you will) is admittedly a bit more suspect there than here. Perhaps racing is not as clean and above-board as horseshoe pitching but, considering its essential nature, it has in recent years been well policed and relatively free of scandal.
As for "racetrack people," they come in all shapes, sizes and degrees of virtue. Some are noble, some are faintly raffish, some are crooks but, by and large, they have a certain charm and competence. As for politicians—we'll usually take racetrackers, be they hot-walkers or members of The Jockey Club, over them.
The six public high schools in Oakland, Calif. will play football this fall after all. When a special bond issue was voted down last June, it looked like Oakland would be the only big city in the U.S. without interscholastic sports (SI, June 27 et seq.); however, a fund-raising campaign by the Junior Chamber of Commerce has netted $24,652 to date, or enough for each school to play five games, as well as resume cross-country and crew. But the Jaycees are not resting on their oars. About $84,000 more is needed to bring back basketball, baseball, track, wrestling and swimming.
MESSAGE FROM MAURITIUS
In 64 countries, from Australia to Iceland, from Red China to Very White South Africa, Swimming World, a monthly published in North Hollywood, Calif., keeps competitive swimmers abreast of their sport. At this time of year, when the competitions wind up in most countries, Al Schoenfield, editor of Swimming World, usually hears from a random assortment of readers, some praising him and a good number giving him the what for. Even if Schoenfield publishes every clocking of every performer in an age-group meet, he can expect a letter from some wounded mother complaining that her child was slighted. If the water in a pool on the other side of the world is too cold, Schoenfield is apt to get letters telling him to do something about it. As he flounders in a sea of complaints, wondering if the whole thing is worthwhile, Schoenfield usually gets one letter that gives him heart again. The most recent came from a swimming devotee named Joseph Marnus Jacquette, who lives on the island of Mauritius, a small, over-populated volcanic splotch in the Indian Ocean. The letter reads:
"We humble workers and swimmers are very handicap in our little underdeveloped island, due that there is not a single coach or either a magazine or book concerning swimming for competition, an example so that our national record for the 400 meters is seven minutes, a pity you may say but it is our poverty and very long distance of a civilized country.
"Gentleman, for that in our Saviour's name we ask you: 1) what is the lowest price we can pay for your magazine (remember that a dollar is earn here by working two days), 2) can you give us the adress of a good American coach and of an American swimming club, if its possible the club adress where Mr. Don Schollandre trained."