J. D. Reed's article was one I could really relate to. But I was disappointed when he said, "Nowhere in sports is weight more critical than on the scale before a horse race." Weight is at least as critical in wrestling. Before each match, a wrestler has to "make weight." If he does not make it, he has one hour in which to lose his excess pounds. He does it by running laps with layers of sweat suits on, chewing gum and spitting, or putting his fingers down his throat and throwing up, all of which I have been a part of or have witnessed. After the wrestler makes weight he can then "chow down," for he has another hour before he has to wrestle.
Wrestlers will do almost anything, regardless of the danger or deprivation involved, to cut those pounds.
J. D. Reed's article called to mind a remark by Mark Twain: "If you can't make 70 by a comfortable road, don't go." Steamed broccoli and broiled halibut are okay, but give me a Pepsi and steak any day!
LARRY D. FOX
South Pittsburg, Tenn.
I was impressed with Ron Reid's coverage of the banquet circuit ("In the Spirit of Joy and Some Joy of the Spirit," Feb. 28). I missed the 41st Annual Dapper Dan Man of the Year Banquet, but when reading about it in SI, I felt as though I was there.
WILLIAM P. BALLOT
We were gratified that you recognized our awards dinner as the "granddaddy" of all sports banquets. I would like to mention that 25% of the proceeds from this annual affair is given to the Touchdown Club of Washington charities, which provides thousands of dollars for scholarship funds, the fight against dread diseases and the support of underprivileged children.
One clarification is in order, however. The article said: "For the athletes, the banquet beat can also be very lucrative. The esteemed Washington Touchdown Club...pays up to $2,500 to ensure the appearance of its Timmie Award winners." This statement has been interpreted to mean that we pay fees for our winners to appear. This is not true. The club reimburses winners for all of their out-of-pocket expenses, i.e., air fares, hotel accommodations and meals. But I can assure you that we have never reimbursed an awardee for anything approaching $2,500.
Your readers might also be interested to know that the person appearing in the photo with Billy Carter is the Honorable Ray Blanton, governor of Tennessee.
ROBERT M. JOHNSON
Touchdown Club of Washington
Hooray! The Clan has been recognized. Thanks for the article on Simon Fraser's swim team (But Is It Simon-Pure?. Feb. 28). The people of Vancouver and B.C. are very proud of the job the team has done in a short time.
More than 500 American colleges belong to the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics, an American organization, and I feel strongly that they are the ones who should be competing for NAIA titles. If Simon Fraser is being boycotted in Canada, let it clean up its act and participate in the Canadian playoffs. I have no objections to Simon Fraser meeting American teams during the season, but when it comes to national championships, it should compete for the Canadian title and we should be competing for the American title. As far as I am concerned, Rockhurst College of Kansas City, Mo. is the American NAIA soccer champion.
Missouri Southern State College
The "Society Against Foolish Preservation of Species," of which I am a member, has put the El Segundo Blue on its list (Its Fate Is Up in the Air. Feb. 28). When a handful of "scientists" who enjoy studying the differences in the genitalia of blue butterflies can stop a project that will create many jobs and assure adequate air travel for the future, then it is time that the rest of us be heard.