Decision for Dorsey
Two years ago Louisiana passed a segregation law that read like a sentence by Marcel Proust or S. J. Perelman, forbidding all persons, firms or corporations from arranging, participating in, or permitting on premises under their control "any dancing social functions...games, sports or contests...in which the participants or contestants are members of the white and Negro races."
The law got a lot of publicity because of the dilemma of Sugar Bowl officials: they couldn't invite a team with Negro players. In New Orleans itself, however, it vitally affected a Negro light heavy named Joe Dorsey, who sued the Louisiana Athletic Commission on the grounds that his earnings were affected because he couldn't meet white fighters. In 1953 he had five fights, drawing one, losing one by a knockout and winning the others. The next year he won all seven of his fights, four by knockouts. In 1955 Dorsey won five fights but was knocked out in two others.
After the segregation law was passed, he had only three fights in two years. All told, Dorsey won 17 of his 22, and 12 of these by knockouts. The legal documents presented to a three-man federal court in New Orleans did not go into the details of Dorsey's ring record which, considering his opponents, is only so-so, but the judges were not so much interested in Dorsey's rating as in his rights. They ruled that he has a right to fight and that the 1956 law was unconstitutional; and they issued an injunction prohibiting Louisiana from forbidding racially mixed contests.
Had the decision in Dorsey's favor come a little earlier it could conceivably have had an influence on the choice of a Sugar Bowl opponent for Louisiana State. As it stands, New Orleans sporting circles, pugilistic and otherwise, are taking it for granted that the decision will be appealed to the Supreme Court, and that it will undoubtedly be sustained in time for next year's Sugar Bowl.
This Betrothal, exclaimed Japan's awe-struck Foreign Minister Aiichiro Fujiyama, "has shattered court convention and marked a triumph of youth and love."
Indeed it had and indeed it did, but from this magazine's point of view the precedent-shattering engagement of Japan's 24-year-old Crown Prince Akihito and the pretty little commoner Michiko Shoda marked a triumph even greater—the triumph of wholesome, informal sport over 2,600 years of imperial crustiness. The most important fact to us about the future Empress of Japan is that her intended found her and fell for her on a tennis court, during a mixed-doubles match in which she and her partner beat the prince in straight sets.
From that moment on, as we hear the tale, young Akihito was a goner. While the Japanese Imperial Council busied itself (at a cost of close to $1 million) combing the land in search of a suitable bride for the prince, the heir himself was glued to a telephone making tennis dates with the-girl he found all by himself. They had to be tennis dates because imperial custom still forbade the heir to the throne from any more intimate get-togethers.
It is perhaps a tribute to the game in which the word love plays so important a part that tennis dates were all that were needed. Between the tennis courts and the telephone Akihito and the fleet-footed girl known to her schoolmates as Little Antelope Girl found their hearts and their future—a future that was sealed last week when the Imperial Council, to save its own face, announced that it had found the perfect girl for the prince and made the betrothal official.
A shy and demure little Atalanta whose father is one of Tokyo's leading flour merchants, the Little Antelope Girl told newsmen in a TV interview soon afterward, "Everything is just like a dream."
"Who is the best tennis player, you or the crown prince?" the press boys asked.
The future Empress (who won a regional championship while still in her teens) simpered prettily. "The prince, of course," she said.
Conquest of the Continent
On September 16, as you may have read here, a Detroit vegetarian named Erwin Erkfitz set out to walk in ripple-soled shoes from Los Angeles to New York. In consequence, one chilly morning last week, half a dozen sleepy people including a public relations man for ripple-soled shoes took up a 4:30 a.m. watch at the Manhattan exit of the underriver Holland Tunnel. At 5:09 a.m., 71 days after his start from California, Erkfitz came through the tunnel to complete his conquest of America.
The arrival was slightly marred by the fact that Erkfitz had been refused police permission to walk through the tunnel and had to cover the last mile or two in a station wagon. But he had set a record and behind him lay more than 5,280,000 steps, more than 3,000 miles, more than $2,000 for assorted expenses, 67 days of actual walking time, and the rubber treads of six pairs of ripplesoled shoes. Ahead of him lay NBC-TV's Today show.
"I'm Fred McNamara," said the man from Reilly, Brown & Tapply advertising agency. "Boy, am I glad to see you. Thought you were going to be late. I've got to get you to the studio by 6 o'clock or we've had it." Erkfitz shook hands vigorously, spun nimbly to demonstrate his animated, cross-country walking style to a bystander, then heel-and-toed back to the agency man. "I'm ready to go," he said. "The sooner the better. It's a wonderful opportunity to go on national television. First thing I want to say is 'Let's use our legs or lose our legs.' Then I want to tell the mayors in all the cities to back walking and hiking clubs. Walking is the greatest exercise in the world. Blood is real polite. It won't go where it ain't asked. How do you ask it? Exercise. What's the best exercise? Walking."
"He's not only the champion walker, he's the champion talker," interrupted Arnold Stein, driver of the station wagon that accompanied Erwin from Los Angeles. "All right, everybody, let's go," said Fred McNamara. "And Erwin, when you go on the air, give short answers." "Right. I'll watch it," said Erwin. "O.K.," said Fred. "In the meantime, study this," and he handed the walking man a pamphlet entitled Scientific Principles of Ripple-Sole. They were off.
The Today set was awash with stars, stagehands and cameramen when Erwin arrived in Radio City at 6. "I'm Gene Jones, a producer," said one, extending his hand. "Glad you could make it, Erwin. How're the legs? We're going to do a live pickup outside. You'll come breezing down the street and Dick McCutchen here—Dick, meet Erwin Erkfitz—will greet you and start an interview. You keep walking and talking. Act like you just got into town. Got it? It'll be a great bit." "I wrote the bit," said a lady in sunglasses. "Glad to meet you, Mr. Erkfitz." "Put that stocking cap on him, somebody," said the producer. "And roll up his pants legs a little. Let's make Erwin look like a walker. O.K., Erwin?" "Let's go, Erwin," said Mr. McCutchen. "I want to go through a dry run before air time." "One minute," said Mr. McNamara. "Erwin, when you mention the ripple soles...," he was saying as they moved out of earshot.
At 7:10 a.m. a Salvation Army band, also scheduled for an outdoor pickup on Today, cleared the street, everybody tensed up, and Erwin Erkfitz went out on the network at seven mph singing "Breathe, breathe, breathing in so deeply/Fresh air will give us lots of pep, pep, pep...." After the outside bit, Erwin was back in the studio (he was run through a paper tape stretched across a doorway) chatting with Dave Garroway on a treadmill, munching sunflower seeds and raisins, and exhorting mayors everywhere to back walking and hiking clubs. When Mr. Garroway asked (by prearrangement with Mr. McNamara) "Do you wear a special shoe?" Erwin, right on cue, replied: "Yes, I wear a ripple-sole" and held his foot aloft. "That," breathed Mr. McNamara with satisfaction, "was what I've been waiting for."
Next day Erwin Erkfitz took his Thanksgiving dinner in a vegetarian restaurant. He was still flushed with success. "Next time I'd like to try to do it in 58 days," he said, and with gusto attacked a meat-substitute steak smothered in onions, baked potato and whole-wheat apple pie.
This month marks the 67th birthday of basketball, and many happy returns. It also marks the 89th birthday of Raymond P. Kaighn, and the same good wishes to him. Mr. Kaighn, now living in Chapel Hill, N.C., played in the original game of basketball at the YMCA training school in Springfield, Mass., along with its inventor, James Naismith. And as far as Kaighn knows, he is the lone survivor of the young men who were there.
"We had just wound up the football season," Kaighn was telling our correspondent the other day, "and we had moved indoors for Swedish gymnastics." Swedish gymnastics were every bit as devoid of sustaining interest in 1891 as they are in 1958, Kaighn went on, "so our department head, Luther Gulick, challenged the seniors to invent a new game that would help hold membership in the Y. We had several farfetched ideas. But the man with the best suggestion was Jim Naismith. Dr. Gulick liked his idea and told him to draw up some rules."
There were 18 boys in the school gym for the first game, and sides were split down the middle. "The janitor found two peach baskets for goals," Mr. Kaighn recalled, "and we nailed them on a running-track balcony at each end of the court 10.2 feet above the floor." (The janitor had been dispatched by Naismith to find two 18-inch square boxes but was unsuccessful; thus, that day, Naismith did not invent boxball.) A soccer ball was pressed into service, and each time it dropped into the basket, the janitor came hurrying over with a ladder to retrieve it. When the ball went out of bounds, the first one to reach it was permitted to throw it back in.
"Actually," said Kaighn, "this new game wasn't supposed to have any body contact like football, but it was plenty rough around there when the ball landed upstairs on the running track. There would always be a terrific blockade, arms and legs thrashing, at the spiral iron staircase leading up to the track. But Jim Naismith made one refinement right away. Kids would sit on the balcony with their legs dangling between the bannisters and kick the ball away from the baskets. A few days later Jim erected some backboards and that was that."
Like some other people, Ray Kaighn, an active fellow who likes to get on with things, thinks there is too much whistle blowing in today's basketball. But what irks him more is the misconception of some of his fellow townspeople. "Just the other day," said Kaighn, "I passed three ladies on a Chapel Hill street corner, and one of them remarked: 'There goes the old man who invented basketball.' Now Jim Naismith deserves all the credit, and that's all there is to it. And whenever I hear anybody say I invented the game, well, I blow the whistle right away."
Spain Samples Football
Although it is quite true to say, as we do (see page 14), that the year's largest football crowd was the one that turned out in the chilly blasts of Philadelphia last Saturday for the Army-Navy game, it must be understood that the statement applies only to Stateside football crowds. The biggest crowd anywhere to watch an American football game was the 120,000 who saw the start of the Air Force-Air Force game in Madrid the other day. And not since the Spanish Armada had so many Iberians been at sea.
For what must have seemed a good reason at the time, the exhibition game was billed by Air Force and American embassy officials as a "contribution to international understanding." To attract a proper assembly, the contest between the Toul Tigers and the Giebelstadt Taconeers followed a regular Spanish league soccer match. Mimeographed sheets describing American football were passed out after the soccer ended, and while the two service teams did push-ups and assorted exercises, ground crews erected goal posts and striped off the field.
The confusion began with the opening kickoff, and that the entire game ran only one hour and fifteen minutes helped not at all. The Spaniards were confounded by ball handling, perplexed by play making, and almost bored silly by the game's quiet moments. Long passes and breakaway runs went over considerably better, but by the end of the first quarter some 60,000 of the hopelessly lost had left—a record of a kind in itself.
Those still seeking international understanding found it best at half time when the 50-piece USAFE marching band put on an animated exhibition. There was a "V" for Valencia, an "M" for Madrid, the Notre Dame Victory March, On Wisconsin, Hold That Tiger and I Wonder Who's Kissing Her Now. Spaniards were warmly enthusiastic.
By the end of the game, however, the 35,000 hangers-on, most of them fortified against the cold with brandy, were convinced that Spain should stick to soccer. Remarked a Juan Manuel DeCordova: "I don't think Spaniards could ever play this game. The fire we Latins carry within ourselves would spring out the first time we were knocked down. Then everyone on the field would be fighting."
Yoicks for News
The Huntsman's horn has sounded in the British countryside for many a generation to signal the endless battle between hound and hare, not to mention all of the hare's four-footed cousins. But over those generations both hound and hare have learned to conduct themselves with an admirable measure of British reserve and decorum. The noisiest battle of Britain today is one which matches the partisans of the hound—the lusty British Field Sports Society—against those of the hare—the ardent and dedicated members of the League Against Cruel Sports, known to their hunting compatriots as the Antis.
For years the Antis have been peppering their parliamentary representatives and the letters column of The Times with protests against the sanguinary pleasures of the huntsmen. The huntsmen have responded for the most part with snorts of aristocratic contempt, and the populace in general with bored indifference.
Some time back, the Antis tried another strategy—chemical warfare. With a determination worthy of the most meticulous whipper-in, they sent hunting parties of their own into the fields and coverts to baffle the hunters' hounds with a barrage of false scents. Nobody paid much attention except the millions of delighted readers of Britain's penny press who could not necessarily tell a hound from a hare if they met one but who love a good squabble among the upper classes.
"There is always," said spokesmen for the Field Sports Society, "rich entertainment value in being able to show in an undignified light somebody who occupies a position of authority." To put a damper on this regrettable trend among the non-hunting masses, the Sports thereupon distributed to all their hunt masters a secret pamphlet full of sound pressagentry advice on how to handle the press. Among many words of wisdom too sacred and secret for the eyes of the stick-at-home, it particularly urged Britain's huntsmen to stop using such rugged phrases as "the hounds killed their dead-beat fox" to describe their fun. A suggested alternative: "The fox was accounted for."
If the attitude of hunt masters to the press is unsatisfactory, says the Field Sports Society, "more harm can be done to the public's opinion of hunting than any antihunting campaign can muster."
Let the experts argue as they like about who has the best backhand in tennis; the question is at best academic. When it comes to arguing form on the courts there can be no question at this point as to who has the most bewitching backside. Since she first appeared swathed in tight-fitting gold lame pants, to the horror of staid Wimbledon, that distinction has belonged exclusively to Florida's Karol Fageros.
"I won't say my gold panties made me a better tennis player," says Karol, "but they certainly helped me go places."
The last place Karol went was Argentina, where she climbed to the semifinal round in the national women's singles, though not in gold pants, and won both the women's doubles (with Norma Baylon) and the mixed doubles (with Enrique Morea). It is good to be able to report that such an ambitious girl was not content to rest on her, well, laurels. The basis of Karol's game in Argentina was a brand-new pair of pants in vivid green. "I call this outfit a Hint of Mint," said Karol. "It seemed like a good contrast with gold and fit in nicely with the green Argentinian plains."
Over to you, Wimbledon.
Over & Under & Out
Old Colonel Wingshot boomed his boasts.
He would not yield the floor
Till his exasperated hosts
Rose up and choked the bore.
"I don't care what hat you're wearing, you can't talk to them."
"Wrap them quickly before my Martinis wear off."
They Said It
Duffy Daugherty of Michigan State (3-5-1 for the season): "They tell me some of our freshmen look awfully good, but just remember, they haven't had the benefit of my coaching yet."
Lindsey Nelson, NBC sports announcer, to a Dallas audience: "My definition of the most boring guy in the world is one who was born in Dallas, raised in California, played football at Notre Dame, was a captain in the Marine Corps, quit smoking last year and has just lost 20 pounds on a diet."
Red Grange, recalling his days as the Galloping Ghost at Illinois: "I won't mention the name of this particular team we were playing, but at half time we came in, pulled off our socks and began putting iodine on the teeth marks in our legs. Coach Bob Zuppke said, 'I'll tell you one thing, if we ever play this team again, it will be on a Friday.' "
Satchel Paige, sempiternal pitcher turned Mexican movie actor, of his new job: "You get to sit down a lot and the money's real good."