BACK HOME IN INDIANA
I would like to express my appreciation to both Barry McDermott and Jerry Kirshenbaum for their fine articles (Who's Your Favorite Hoosier? March 4). It gives everybody a good feeling (except those who have gone down to defeat to the Hurryin' Hoosiers) to read about how Coach Bobby Knight has changed "kids playing tag" into a nationally ranked team in just three short years. And who could forget Doc Counsilman? No one in Indiana.
Jerry Kirshenbaum's notion that Hoosier success has undermined college swimming is all wet. The sport is as much individual as team-oriented, and the program at IU serves as a model for high schools and colleges alike. It also helps to keep the U.S. at the pinnacle of international competition, a spot we've relinquished in most other sports.
More competition would be fun—it seems like ages since I watched Michigan (my alma mater) capsize the Hoosiers in 1966—but let's not blame the lack of it on Indiana. A team cannot buy or bully its way to success in this grueling sport, and sunnier climes spawn more quality swimmers than the Midwest. It is not only the superstars who make IU the premier team on the circuit. IU's perennially awesome depth results from maximum development of even the less than superstar athletes.
PETER L. GUSTAFSON
In the article about the Westminster dog show (He Pointed the Way at Westminster, Feb. 25) you show a picture of what might have been a soft-coated wheaten terrier—before all that awful fluffing up by its groomer. The wheaten, as described in the Irish and English Kennel Club standard, should be presented naturally, and any kind of trimming or dressing for the show ring is discouraged. Why then doesn't Marjorie Shoemaker relax and enjoy the breed, which in its natural state is a joy to behold and looks like a dog whose ancestors did indeed guard stables and destroy rodents? I would refer her and others interested in seeing what a wheaten should look like to the International Encyclopedia of Dogs by Dangerfield and Howell, pages 434 and 435. Those interested in hours of grooming for the show ring should stick to breeds that need it, not an all-purpose dog such as the wheaten—or the Westie, of which I own two. Thank you, though, for the excellent coverage given the show.
Mrs. ALAN G. LA FLAMME
I have kept soft-coated wheaten terriers since 1957, and have bred and exhibited them since 1962. The "constant grooming" attributed to the breed is necessary for show purposes only, and really serves to remove the soft curls or waves natural to the abundant coat. This for some obtuse reason is the appearance that judges, unfamiliar with the wheaten and its standard, seem to prefer.
To say that the wheaten "requires a firm hand," however, is ridiculous. Judges who, as a practice, stand off terriers to determine how feisty they act, are frequently amazed to see these terriers sniff each other's noses with wagging tails. On the other hand, I have never known one to back away from a good fight, no matter what the odds. Their quiet ego would not allow that.
CHARLES H. ARNOLD
West Hartford, Conn.
RUNNING FOR COUNTRY
I read with interest your comments on Filbert Bayi and Major General Surakikya and the Tanzanian Olympic Committee (SCORECARD, Feb. 25). I spent three years in Tanzania and was often privileged to work with General Surakikya. Our Olympic Committee could use gentlemen of his stature.
Why indeed should Bayi run on unfamiliar boards, where victory is often determined by the fleetest elbows—not feet—or in a U.S. championship in which not even the top American milers will compete?
As to comparing the Tanzanian Olympic Committee stand in Bayi's case to that of the Kenya AAA on Ben Jipcho, the Kenyans could more properly be grouped with our own "enlightened" Olympic Committee, which is driving so many of our top athletes to the ITA. While I was in Tanzania it meant something to run for one's country, and I suspect that in Bayi's case it still does.
VISIONS OF SUMMER
This past weekend I gazed out over the ice around me, then settled down with Thomas McGuane's In the Factory of the Mind (Feb. 25). After reading it twice, my heart was warm. At first, however, I felt completely frustrated by the lack of a photograph of the Meadow Lark. But, on second thought, perhaps my image of the boat was better. I hope we hear more from Mr. McGuane soon.
RICHARD I. LOEBL