One final point. Ernest Havemann based his story on what he saw at a very competitive and professionally run race. But that is only the tip of the iceberg. For every "professional" race there are a thousand that are a result of "betcha my Rupp'll beat your Indian." That type of racing costs very little and is about the best thing that could happen to a developing youngster.
PATRICK J. MACKIE
Laguna Hills, Calif.
A yellow jersey to you for finally printing an article about American cyclists (Fastest Legs in Two Leagues, Aug. 13). As an officer in charge of the newly formed United States Military Academy Cadet Cycling Club I am in favor of any attempt to foster interest in this Olympic sport.
West Point will have a racing team this year and we are seeking other college teams with whom we could compete. Eastern intercollegiate cycling, to our knowledge, is nonexistent at this time; however, we hope that that situation will change soon. I know that all of the cyclists in our country join me in asking you for more articles about this sport.
THOMAS B. SURLES
West Point, N.Y.
BRUTALITY AND HATE
I was thoroughly disgusted by George Plimpton's article (Thrown to the Lions, Aug. 6). As a part-time intellectual, I understand a writer's yearning to question and analyze. However, as a former football player I am always irritated by non-football friends who delight in remarking about football games, players and coaches, based only on brief or superficial observations. I am equally irritated by Plimpton's intellectual "violin teacher" approach to his football experience. Football is a game to be played brutally and unquestionably, not to be analyzed in wonderment by an Ivy League egghead.
West Chester, Pa.
It is time we all realized what football is really like. It is hard for me to believe that a nation of intelligent people would spend so much blood, sweat, tears and money on a sport that is so dehumanizing. Coaches say football makes players "mean." In the words of Plimpton the hate is "as thick as steam."
Edwin Shrake's story ('I Talk Real Polite and Nice,' Aug. 13) depicts the true Leo Durocher—the one people often don't see, due to the impression given them by the press. What he gave to baseball will be remembered: the excitement of the teams he managed, his quarrels with umpires and players and his coaching philosophy.
This year has been particularly disheartening for the Astros. Injuries and poor pitching have plagued the team, and I hope fans realize that it was not Durocher's fault.
I honestly feel that Durocher's association with the team will be felt next year, whether or not he is still the manager, and that next year the Astros will be the team that their fans have dreamed about.
I read with great interest your article on Ben Jipcho (Jipcho Is Hitting His Stride, July 30), as this fabulous athlete seems to have been overlooked in the North American press. There is one point in this article which I would like you to clarify. Jipcho names as one of his goals becoming the first man to break any world record on African soil. If we still consider South Africa to be part of the continent of Africa, which even the most ardent anti-apartheid groups must admit, then Jipcho will be disappointed. I think that I am correct in saying that Gert Potgieter of South Africa broke the world 440-yard hurdles record in Bloemfontein on April 16, 1960. This would be the first world record broken on African soil.
Potgieter was a co-favorite with Glenn Davis to win the gold medal at Rome that year, but unfortunately he was involved in a very serious automobile accident while touring the Continent in preparation for the Olympics, and the sight of one eye was impaired I believe that this courageous athlete recovered sufficiently to become a pole vaulter.