I read with great interest the short article, "A National Disgrace," in your SCORECARD section (July 7). I too have been dismayed at the way many U.S. basketball teams have been selected and have played in international competition. However, the "shoddy approach" you mentioned has not been true in the case of an NAIA all-star team, made up of players selected from small colleges, which recently returned from a 19-day tour of Czechoslovakia.
This trip was sponsored jointly by the NAIA, the AAU and the colleges of the players selected. Twelve practice sessions were held on the Lakeland College campus prior to the June 6 departure for Europe. This team played outstanding basketball and won eight of nine games against the top club and university teams of Czechoslovakia, including two of three games against the European champion Slavia Prague team. Slavia Prague was undefeated in a 12-game trip to the U.S. last December.
The news media of Czechoslovakia were most favorable in their reporting of our games, and the 20,000-plus fans who saw our squad in action saw good and exciting basketball. Our players were truly outstanding representatives of the U.S., their schools and of American basketball. Unfortunately, all too often good experiences such as our trip go unreported.
DUANE A. WOLTZEN
Director of Athletics
My thanks to Jerry Kirshenbaum for a fine article on javelin throwing (They're All Out to Launch, July 21). I must admit to being prejudiced because the javelin was my event in high school and college, and I have always enjoyed participating in and watching the event. I can truly understand Mark Murro when he says, "I like to see it floating out there, climbing and gliding." When I gave up competition I thought that I would still be able to at least watch the event and really see what a throw looked like from the side.
Not being able to travel enough to see the big meets in person, I am sorrowfully dependent upon television, which seems to ignore this event completely. I waited impatiently for the javelin coverage in the '68 Olympics, but one event was cut out of the TV coverage—and wouldn't you know which one it was. I used to believe that the javelin event was ignored because the U.S. had no one of world-record ability—the old American saying: "If we aren't good at it, what good is it?" But after noticing the recent achievements by our own javelin men and after reading Kirshenbaum's article, I figured my chances were great for seeing it included in the TV coverage of the U.S.- U.S.S.R.-British Commonwealth meet. I can't say they left it out completely; the TV announcer did say, during the wrap-ups, that Lusis won the javelin with a throw in the 270s.
Thanks again, Jerry Kirshenbaum, for your help. Maybe one of these days I'll be able to watch a televised meet and see someone throw the javelin. Maybe.
I wish to register a complaint on your statement that a 300-foot javelin throw is equivalent to achieving "an end-zone-to-end-zone distance with a projectile twice as heavy as the football that pro quarterbacks strain to throw half as far."
May I remind you that pro quarterbacks must throw the football in a neat spiral, with pinpoint accuracy while a mad bunch of opposing defensive linemen harass them?
It is very nice to say that Jorma Kinnunen can throw a javelin over 300 feet and that Mark Murro is a step away from equaling this mighty feat. However, even you admit that today's javelins are being designed with a goal of "superior aerodynamic properties" in mind. These aerodynamic properties, as you also state, make the javelin go farther and thereby make 300-foot throws possible. It is therefore impossible to determine how mighty the javelin thrower is compared with athletes in other events. What I would like to know is how far can potential record breaker Mark Murro throw a softball?
Valley Stream N.Y.
I was able to better understand Ken Harrelson and his interpretation of events when I noticed that the "roses" he claimed to have received at the Cleveland airport were actually carnations (I Just Couldn't Believe My Ears, July 21). But it would seem that the Hawk sees more than just flowers through rose-colored glasses.