In re quail query:
After several days of analyzing the news from the Kremlin, Eric Sevareid of CBS cleared his throat one night last week and took up another topic, one which also was occupying the thoughts of the President of the United States.
The topic was quail, which the President was pursuing on the 10,000-acre plantation of the Secretary of the Treasury, George M. Humphrey, near Thomasville, Ga. Sevareid's was an analysis tinged with the flavor of a sweet-sour grape because the quail season in Virginia, where he does his hunting, is over. He paid tribute, nevertheless, to the quail—"a bird of character, a noble bird."
"It has dignity," he said, "and settled habits. You can depend upon the quail, except that sometimes it will flush at your feet with a paralyzing roar of wings. The quail is a monogamous bird. This is a pity, for otherwise, presumably, there would be more quail, for presidents and commoners; but it means you can shoot cock or hen, indiscriminately, which is a good thing because they are too fast and too much alike to differentiate, anyway.
"I must say today's dispatches from Georgia are distressingly incomplete. We know the President is using a 20-gauge double gun. This is the mark of a true uncountry quail man. The 20 has plenty of power and pattern for quail. It is light and short, for quick swinging in briar patch and woods, where the canny quail is bound to lead the President a scratchy and exciting chase. But there the dispatches leave off; not a word about whether the President is a snap shooter or takes his time and is content with one bird per flush; not a line on whether he works around between covey and woods to try the tricky overhead shots; not a word as to whether he uses the swing-through system or the pointing-out system when he pulls the trigger.
"Well, the White House correspondents under Truman weren't required to study Chopin, so I suppose we can't force them to take up upland gunnery. Still, it would be a help. A million fellow sufferers like myself are getting edgy waiting to find out if the President uses No. 8 shot or 9, high speed or standard, an improved cylinder with a modified barrel, or a modified with a full."
For Sevareid and his million fellow sufferers here are the answers:
Ike is good at the snap shot but he is not ordinarily a snap shooter. He follows the bird and shoots at about 30 yards. He is quite content with one bird per covey and, in fact, one of the conservation rules followed at Secretary Humphrey's plantation requires that no more than three birds be killed from any covey. Thus the covey remains intact and can be hunted again.
"I like to find the singles," the President says. "Coveys scare me."
He is not one of shooting's bored experts, so he does not "work around between covey and woods to try the tricky overhead shots." On the other hand he has been seen to make the shot and do it well.
The President leads the bird, swinging the gun along its flight path, then fires.
On this trip he used No. 7½ and No. 8 shot but not No. 9 because toward the end of the hunting season the birds are experienced. They get up and away faster than first-of-the-season birds, so heavier, more effective shot is indicated. The shells were standard, not high speed.
In addition to the 20, which is a side-by-side double, Ike brought along his .410 over-and-under. The 20 is equipped with two sets of barrels but he left the long-barrel, full-choke set in Washington. The short-barrel set is bored with an open right barrel, left barrel modified—same setup as on the .410. Both guns were gifts and of foreign make. Engraved on the 20 are a turkey, a five-star emblem and the name "Dwight D. Eisenhower."
In the last three weeks a curious sort of fame has descended upon a tall, dark-haired young man named Dick Ollen, and with it a nickname that could stick to him for life. As the pace setter in the last three indoor mile contests between Wes Santee and Gunnar Nielsen and Freddy Dwyer he has contributed directly to two world records, and has become as familiar to track addicts as the famous principals themselves. But the glare of the limelight in Madison Square Garden has almost burned away his identity. Few spectators in this winter's huge indoor crowds know or remember that he was last year's intercollegiate champion at the mile. He is now far more widely known as The Mechanical Rabbit.
The whole thing has happened to him so quickly that Ollen still speaks of it in rather bemused tones—something like a sleepwalker who has just been awakened and informed that he holds the world record for swallowing goldfish. The Rabbit hails from Cranston, R.I. and is a fifth-year business student at Boston's Northeastern University. As such he is ineligible this year for college competition. And although he enjoys running and trained hard this winter (mostly in the evening or during his lunch hour) he had scant hope of competing in the big indoor meets.
"Let's face it," he says with a grin. "I did run a 4:13 mile last spring and I've managed to cut five or six seconds off my time every year. But even if I did that I wouldn't be competing with these four-minute fellows. I was invited to run against Nielsen and Dwyer in the Massachusetts Knights of Columbus meet but I only did 4:14 and they told me that they didn't think they'd want me in the Boston Athletic Association meet, where they'd have Santee in the race."
As the winter season developed, however, it became obvious to the promoters that a fast early pace was going to have to be stirred into the Santee-Nielsen competition to produce anything like record time. Santee won in Philadelphia in a lamentable 4:10.5. Nielsen won in Washington with a tremendous finish, but did well to get home in 4:09.5. Pacemakers for the Santees, the Bannisters, the Nielsens, however, do not grow on trees. Like playing a good piano accompaniment, pacing takes talent—speed, strength and an exquisite ability to estimate the time for each early lap, and stick to it rigidly, thus giving the record-breaker-to-be a sort of human clock to guide by.
In the light of all this Ollen suddenly seemed like an extremely attractive commodity, and a few days before the big meet in Boston Garden, he received a belated invitation to compete in the mile—provided he was willing to run the first quarter in something like 57 seconds and the half in two minutes flat. He agreed. He ran the first quarter in 56.7 and the half in exactly two minutes and Santee, with this jet assist, broke the world's indoor record with 4:03.8. Ollen had hardly caught his breath before officials of New York's Millrose A.A. had him by the elbow and were inviting him to pace the Wanamaker Mile in Madison Square Garden. This time his half was 2:00.6 and Nielsen broke San tee's week-old mark.
By the time last week's Baxter Mile was run in New York Ollen seemed almost as much a functionary as the starter and the timers. And the race dramatized his usefulness; instead of following Ollen's pace, Santee burst ahead in the first quarter towing Nielsen with him and both men ran themselves so thoroughly out of steam that Freddy Dwyer led them to the tape by more than 60 yards. Ollen, all things considered, didn't mind Wes Santee having taken over The Rabbit's role.
"I like running in these big meets," he says, "and I'm glad to help with the pace. But it doesn't seem quite like running the mile. These pacing races are...well, I'd just rather be known as a miler."
Clamor on Cape Cod
For the last six years or so, in an effort to publicize the delights of fishing along its storied shores, the State of Massachusetts has engraved a handsome silver Revere bowl, known as the Governor's Trophy, with the name of the man or woman who wins its annual Striped Bass Derby. In order to display the trophy permanently at the State House it also presents the lucky fisherman with a duplicate bowl to keep for life. Last week as a result, a governor of Massachusetts (in this case Governor Christian Herter) found himself reduced, for the first time in recorded history, to a state of deep political embarrassment by a sea worm.
It mattered not that the worm in question had been dead for a matter of five months—ever since one John Julius Glogg, a vacationing telephone lineman boss from Huntington, L.I., put it on a hook, cast it into the surf near North Truro, and caught a 59 impound striper with it. The time lag, in fact, made things worse. For a fortnight ago at a ceremonial dinner in Boston, Massachusetts formally presented the Governor's Trophy to the wrong man.
John Julius Glogg was not pleased to learn that the Derby had been won by Wallace Pinkham of Vineyard Haven, Mass., with a fish which scaled only 55 pounds, 9½ ounces. Glogg had paid his $1 fee to enter the Bass Derby, before landing his sea-going monster, had weighed it before witnesses at Fowler's Tru-Haven Tackle Shop in North Truro and had gone to the trouble of having it stuffed afterward. Its picture had been printed in newspapers all over the U.S., and it had won him a $200 defense bond from the Province-town Chamber of Commerce and a pin from Field & Stream magazine. But he wanted the trophy too—so much so that he sat down last week, wrote an indignant telegram to Governor Herter, and slapped down $5.32 to have it sent. This moved the state to an explanation—but one which simply heated the coals of controversy. Len Bigelow, general representative of the Department of Commerce, protested that he had not found out about Glogg's fish until the Governor's Trophy had been engraved with Pinkham's name. This admission that the state had known of Glogg's feat before the award, maddened Glogg's supporters.
"Everybody in the whole U.S. knows that John Julius Glogg caught a bigger striper than Pinkham!" bawled Arthur C. Patrick, a member of the Provincetown Chamber of Commerce. "My God, there were pictures of Glogg's fish in every newspaper in the country. You'd think that Bigelow fellow up in Boston would have seen it." Bigelow announced that he had sent out a letter asking for entries on Dec. 7 and had received no reply. "What letter?" replied the Provincetown hearties. "We never got any letter—we sent the record of Glogg's fish to Boston in September." They gathered at the local Western Union office forthwith for an indignation meeting, and a letter-of-protest drafting bee.
At the weekend that was how matters stood—and just what the state could do, beyond awarding a second trophy, was difficult to foresee. But if the governor's ears burned and if his political influence waned on Cape Cod, he had at least one thing for which to be thankful—the clamor over Glogg's fish drowned, at least temporarily, the moans of one Frank Mularczyk, a New Bedford loomfixer, who caught a 66-pound 4-ounce bass on June 4, but was ineligible for the trophy because he had neglected to register before landing it.
Golf made tough
When the U.S. Golf Association not long ago chose the Olympic Club, in San Francisco, as the site of the June 16-18 1955 Open, the 825 golfing members took it as a stoutly deserved compliment. Nobody knew better than they how sharply their 6,433-yard Lake Course could test and bedevil a man. They could hardly wait to see the Sneads and Hogans come to grief over the same problems club members had been battling for years.
But it was not to be. The club pro and several of its top amateurs decided the Lake Course needed a face lifting to enchant the visiting specialists. Even the fact that Byron Nelson in his heyday, leading the field by seven strokes, had been able to carve only one stroke off par in four rounds was immaterial. The layout needed modernizing and change, the officials decreed.
The first sign of change was the arrival of the renowned golf course architect, Robert Trent Jones. Jones was soon followed by bulldozers growling and grunting their way through the woods to lengthen the already forbidding fairways, to dig new traps and widen old ones. It was very soon evident that the mowers were neglecting wide swatches of fairway—fairway that had never seemed wide enough but was now being narrowed to less than 42 yards.
As the landscaping began to take shape, the Olympians shuddered at some of the sights they saw as they stroked their tentative way around this new horror. The fourth, for instance. Here on a 406-yard dog-leg to the left, a booming drive through a narrow tunnel of trees used to put you in a fair way for a lucky par four if a perfect three iron, hit blind and uphill, caught the green. Now the bulldozers were burrowing deep into the trees behind the tee to carve out an added 30 yards. That blind second shot to the green henceforth required more divine guidance than plain luck.
Or the seventh. Here was a nice 270-yard uphill hole where the belabored fellow could always figure on his par four if he behaved himself. So what do they do? They let the rough grow for the first 210 yards, leaving a fairway shaped like a dewdrop and about the same size—27 yards long and 25 yards wide. Between that and the newly humpbacked green was a yawning trap to catch the oversized drive or the undersized chip.
Or the 16th. At 570 yards this crescent-shaped fairway was always three full woods for any but the nervy or lucky golfer who shaved the trees on the left with each blow. Jones extended the hole another 30 yards and dug a vicious trap in front of the green to protect it against that long third shot with a spoon. If you could one-putt it you might get your par five, but how else?
And the 17th. This reasonable par five got a new tee 25 yards ahead of the old one but off to the side to sharpen the dog-leg. With a mere 461 yards left they called it a par four. Nothing to it if you could slap out a 250-yard drive and follow it with a perfect 210-yard wood smack on the green. Anything else would be disastrous.
The officials who were preparing to welcome the nation's top golfers to the 56th Open called it modernizing. Around the 19th hole at the Olympic Club they are calling it plain murder. The way they look at it now, they would just as leave the golfing fathers had paid their compliment to someone else's course.
Pronation and supination
Dr. Forrest Clare (Phog) Allen decided to become a basketball coach in 1908, ignoring the advice of Dr. James Naismith, the founder of the game. "But, Forrest," the older man protested, "you can't coach the game of basketball. It's meant to be played, not coached."
Phog Allen has spent the intervening years disproving the dictum. In his first year on the bench he coached both Baker University and Kansas U., guiding the latter to a conference title. The next year, when Haskell Institute became the third team in his stable, Kansas again won a championship. But it wasn't until 1920 that Phog settled down in Lawrence for good and devoted his talents to making Kansas the spiritual headquarters of basketball.
The teaching technique of Phog Allen is as fierce and unconventional as the man himself. "You just do the playing," he tells his boys. "I'll do the fighting and talking." In practice he lathers his players with phrases they hear in their sleep: "Guard as if your arms were cut off at the elbows.... The knees are the only springs in the body—bend them!...Pass at angles, run in curves." When philosophizing on the game he will use such terms as "pronation" and "supination" to describe hand and wrist action, and he likes to teach a "stratified transitional man-for-man defense with zone principles."
Allen's advice and opinions are trumpeted in the tones that brought him his nickname. During Phog's early coaching days at Kansas a student sportswriter heard him umpiring a baseball game and promptly dubbed him "Foghorn." Soon the label was bastardized to "Phog" by a scribe named Ward (Pinhead) Coble who decided he wanted "to doll it up."
Not so with Phog's fantastic record. Allen is the only college basketball coach anywhere whose teams have won more than 700 games—his over-all record standing at 752 won and 220 lost. He has won or shared 31 conference titles at Kansas, finished worse than second only nine times in 44 seasons. KU has been in six of the 16 NCAA play-offs since they started in 1939, reaching the finals three times, and winning once—in 1952.
It's not easy to find a satisfactory tribute for a man of Phog Allen's stature, but his friends in Kansas have worked out a couple of ideas. Last week the legislature passed a special resolution permitting Allen to remain on the KU payroll for three years past the mandatory retirement age of 70, which he reaches next November. Although the university is not sure it can arrange this extension, it has another honor ready. The new $2.5 million athletic plant, with its 17,000-seat basketball gym, will be christened Allen Fieldhouse, defying a tradition that no KU buildings should be named for living men. It is a reasonable concession to a man whose athletes have already worn out two gymnasiums during his coaching career.
They will tell you in Kansas that where Phog Allen is, controversy can't be far behind. So it was in 1944 when Phog first warned that gamblers were toying with college basketball. "Allen's hogwash," was the retort of Nat Holman, whose CCNY players were caught deep in the mire of the subsequent scandal six years later. While press and rival coaches accused Allen of losing faith in basketball and American youth, he stuck to his guns and had the sad satisfaction of being proved correct.
Lately Phog Allen has again raised the storm warnings on gambling. During a TV interview in Topeka he told of an attempt by "a big cigar" to fix the referee of a recent Midwestern game (the referee has since denied it). "Gambling is again rearing its ugly serpentine head and threatening basketball," Phog thundered over the air. "The same guys that used to be in this ugly business are back in it. They're just a little more coy and careful now. And there are teams right now that are in business for themselves, and nobody else."
Before he bows out of basketball, Phog Allen would like to see the colleges appoint an athletic czar to police such evils as gambling. "Unless we have enforcement," he has warned, "some more fine American kids are going to be dragged into the slime." Not that Dr. Forrest Clare Allen believes in babying athletes; after all, he sometimes gets his teams in the right mood for a game by showing them movies of a mongoose and a cobra fighting to the death.
INTO THE WILD BLUE
Carry your maps;
Broad jumper didn't
Lower his flaps.
"All right, Sir Edmund Hillary—dinner's ready."