I read with sadness and outrage the statement made by the father of the young mini-cycle racing competitor: "Well, as the old saying goes, it isn't really cheating unless you get caught, now is it (Down Will Come Baby, Cycle and All, Aug. 13)?" That's just beautiful, really beautiful! There is a group of men in Washington, D.C. who probably justified their actions of about a year ago with the same old saying.
I am sure that this type of father is the exception rather than the rule, but I'm afraid that his type is becoming more prevalent. Would a lifetime suspension for flagrant cheating, and especially a second violation, be too severe a penalty?
ARTHUR E. BOWERS
Regarding your article on "minimen"—or should I say "minibrats"—this goes to show how competitive our society is today, pushing children further and further into winning. Who is winning the race, the parent or the child? There is a time and place for competition in a child's life, but not right out of the maternity ward!
JOHN F. JONES
My mother just sold my Honda SL 70 because she doesn't think it's safe for me. I'm only 13 and a girl for that matter. But my brother is 14, and he's got a Suzuki 125, which he rides all the time. It's not fair.
St. Joseph, Mich.
Those of us in the health-care field who are dealing with an epidemic of motorcycle accidents and the injuries therefrom have to consider the article a true disservice.
The increase in injuries to small children riding minibikes is significant, though there is no mention of this in the article.
I would hope that the commercial interests will not continue to have their way totally. Discerning parents should protect their children from this source of harm as they would from any other.
THAD C. STANFORD, M.D.
Ernest Havemann attempted to draw a close comparison between minicycle racing and Little League baseball. Although I agree that the parents in both sports do become excited and sometimes overly zealous in their support and criticism of the youngsters, the comparison ends there. In Little League baseball the father cannot buy his son a strong arm, a sharp batting eye or quickness, or enter him on a team with a 100% chance of receiving a trophy. The only items usually purchased are a baseball glove for about $10 and, sometimes, baseball shoes with rubber cleats. Trophies or medals are won by teams, not by individuals.
In over a decade of managing Little League teams I have yet to see anyone connected with the program intentionally cheat. Your analogy of "minimen" riding motorcycles to Little League baseball players does not hold up. Let each stand on its respective merits (or demerits).
Santa Maria, Calif.
Your coverage of the minicycle racing scene is the fairest representation of the sport that I have seen in the national media. Havemann's comments on the " Little League syndrome" among parents were accurate and fair. However, the entire growing-up process is subject to this parental influence, a fact not often recognized by those who criticize it. Without stretching things too much, we could say that our civilization, imperfect though it is, resulted from variations of the Little League syndrome. Its root cause is that desire for our children to be a little better than ourselves.
Parents wrapped up in sports activities for youngsters sometimes carry this desire to excess, but they are in the minority. Usually, parents behave the same at the motorcycle track as they do elsewhere, and the effect on their children would be the same.