As a 1:56 high school half-miler, I feel as qualified to speak on pain as the 4:28 miler who wrote the letter in question. I have found running to be as much a mental exercise as a physical one. A runner's ability to psych himself up for races and workouts is nearly as important as his lactic acid buildup or his oxygen debt or some other ultratechnical aspect of running.
Until this season, I was a very poor miler, but I worked hard and occasionally did fairly well. Unfortunately, I continuously psyched myself out. I could never reach my potential. Had I popped some bennies, perhaps I could have. However, would I have been doing the running or would it have been a mannequin, stoned into a hazy world of speed?
Why train if one can take a drug that relieves the pain? What is the accomplishment of a drugged victory?
I understand your letter writer feels that drugs should not be taken in place of training and that he does not personally use drugs. Nevertheless, justification of their use in sports is not possible, whether or not their "long-range effects are...negligible...."
I should like to add a footnote to Kim Chapin's splendid and intriguing coverage of Wimbledon tennis (Another Redheaded League, July 14). I have seen Arthur Ashe play numerous matches, losing some, winning some, and I have yet to see a more smilingly gracious loser or a more self-effacingly modest winner. And that in itself must represent some kind of victory.
New York City
Seven years ago, in your pre- Forest Hills issue, you ran on your cover a picture of Helga Schultze of West Germany under the title, "The Loveliest in World Tennis" (Aug. 27, 1962). Unless my memory completely fails me, no girl tennis star has since graced the cover of SI. Now with the tennis world preparing for the biggest Forest Hills tournament ever, I would like to suggest a truly lovely way to break this drought.
My offering is Kerry Melville of Melbourne, Australia. She is 21 years old and has been charming the international circuit for about three years. Kerry can also play tennis. She ranks around the fringes of the world's top 10 and has beaten Billie Jean King (among others) twice in the past year. At the recent Wimbledon Open, Kerry was seeded sixth but lost to Rosemary Casals in the second round.
In the past your cover has been crashed by girl skiers, girl golfers, girl swimmers, girl figure skaters, girl track stars and even (in 1963) a girl archer. On behalf of all tennis buffs, I implore you—it's time you satisfied our seven-year itch!
WILLIAM J. LINN