Wow! That article, The World's First Peace Pentathlon (May 11), has got to be the most revolutionary you've written. I mean it changes SI's whole outlook on sport and competition. Great! Jones & Smith (Robert F. and David Winnie-the-Pooh Miln) really put one together.
I am a little disappointed in SPORTS ILLUSTRATED's ability to defend competition, which David Smith so poorly put down. Amidst the biggest fields of competitors there is the greatest sense of love and admiration for the opponent. When this feeling is lost, then we are talking about war and materialistic gain, which I am afraid our Mr. Smith is confusing with athletic competition. Ask Jim Ryun and Martin Liquori about competition. Each has become a better miler because of the other. I say this is one of the greatest examples of mutual admiration. We can make ourselves believe anything in our own minds, but when we allow ourselves to be confronted by our competitors—friends, equalizers or whatever—we gain insight to the facts that we can be wrong and that we can always do better. If David Smith were a true athlete he would be smart enough to know that athletic competition makes a lot of us better than we are, and that an athlete learns through his mistakes.
Re The World's First Peace Pentathlon, I should like to make the following observations:
1) Smith's anticompetition stand smacks dangerously of "Do-your-own-thing-but-conform-to-my-eccentricities";
2) As for his claim that the Greeks supported violence by their games, may I point out in respect to his events that all our military services use parachutes; Navy Seals scuba dive and swim distance; soldiers have always run (training); and, finally, no virtue can be claimed to exist logically among a motorbike, its rider and his environment;
3) Competition in man seems to be far more inherent than capitalistically derived.
MICHAEL EDWARD O'DONNELL
Not enough was said in your article about Dave's Boy Scout work. As a member of Troop 17 in San Francisco, he became the youngest eagle scout in California. He has more than 50 merit badges. Whenever he returns to San Francisco he takes time out to attend scout meetings and to instruct boys in swimming and water safety.
STEVEN A. ISRAEL
HORSES AND TIGERS
The Kentucky Derby (A Command Performance, May 11) is considered to be the pinnacle of horse racing. Other races may be older or richer, but the Derby is considered the top. It is unfortunate that Robert Lehmann, owner of 1970 Derby winner Dust Commander, cares more for a tiger than a horse who had the stamina, skill and speed to be first at the end of "heartbreak lane," a place shared with such greats as Swaps, War Admiral, Citation, Whirl-away and others. Mr. Lehmann should be told that, while tigers are in abundance, Kentucky Derby winners number exactly 96.
Robert Lehmann is boastful of his various tiger kills. While one may be excused, since the tiger was a man-killer, the others were killed for sport. Doesn't Mr. Lehmann know that tigers are an endangered species?
I assume your May 4 article on Secretary of the Interior Walter Hickel (The Earth as Seen from Alaska) was intended to be the most biting piece of satire since Gulliver's Travels. If so, you very cleverly converted the Secretary's mock views into serioheroic statements. If SI was not doing straight line for Mr. Hickel, then we are right back where we started from: watching Hickel fiddle while Earth burns.
WILLIAM C. GUDAL