PASSING VS. POINTS
Before the Russia-U.S. basketball game in Rome's Palazzetto dello Sport, a Russian journalist bet an American journalist a bottle of vodka on the outcome. The American gave him 20 points. The U.S. won 81-57. The American got the vodka.
Basketball is still our special game, as the pattern of play quickly demonstrated. The Russians got the tap and brought the ball downcourt with a skillful, intricate pass pattern, working the ball into a corner. Then they worked it out and brought it around to the other corner. Then they worked it out again and thought about things for a while. Finally they tried a shot. It missed. Oscar Robertson took the rebound, the U.S. broke downcourt. Robertson heaved a long pass, and Jerry West scored on a lay-up. And so it went. The Russians continued to pass, the U.S. to shoot and score. Russians play basketball the way they play hockey, with control and fine passing, but they forget that you only get points when you shoot.
Rebounding is another lesson the Russians haven't learned. Viktor Zubkov, who is about the same height as Jerry Lucas' 6 feet 8, was in the best position to study the technique. Most of the time he was about a foot behind and a foot below as Lucas leaped toward the honeycombed ceiling for the ball.
After the game three Russians were talking among themselves. "If we get their first five out of there we beat them," one said. The others solemnly agreed. To see how that will be accomplished, we await the 1964 Olympics.
As their athletes win a surprising share of gold medals, the Germans are awakening the Roman echoes with a cheer that goes: "Zichi-zachi, zichi-zachi, heu, heu, heu/Evi-tscha, evi-tscha, tscha-tscha-tscha!" It has a melodious ring, but no meaning. The Americans are countering with this improvisation: "Hey, hey, hey-hey-hey/You, you, you-ess-aye/Cha-cha-cha!" Judging by some U.S. performances, it doesn't mean much either.
THE BACK-UP SCROOGIE
It is Yankee luck, or shrewdness, to come up with the late-season deals that insure pennant victories. Johnny Mize, Johnny Hopp and Enos Slaughter were the results of three such deals. This year it may be Luis Arroyo, a graying, barrel-bellied Puerto Rican with a tricky screwball he calls a "back-up scroogie."
Two months ago Arroyo was a National League reject (18-22 lifetime) drifting through a season in the International League. The night Arroyo and his Havana team moved to Jersey City (SI, July 25) he was murdered in a brief relief appearance. Yankee Scout Bill Skiff couldn't have cared less. Arroyo had one quality the Yankee relief staff badly needed: enough control to keep the ball low.
Arroyo has had far more success with the Yankees than at Jersey City, which may indicate something about American League hitting. By last week he had won three games, lost two and saved a handful of others; his ERA was an impressive 1.50. "We picked up Arroyo as just a spot reliever," Bill Skiff says. "I sure never thought he'd do this well."
THE DAY THE BULLS WON
As the tinny band tootled in the sunbaked parchness of San Sebastian de los Reyes, the two novilleros (apprentice matadors) marched splendidly across the main square, tagged by an apprentice apprentice who was to serve only as an alternate. This day the square of the little Spanish town was the plaza de toros, and a gloriously colorful poster tacked askew on a whitewashed brick wall promised that four brave bulls would test the mettle of the two men.
At 22, Angel Lopez Angelillo was the senior on the program and would be first. As the gate leading into the makeshift ring swung open, Poderoso, The Powerful One, stamped right in, slammed his horns into the retaining wall and sent boards flying. Carefully, Angelillo sculptured a verónica as Poderoso charged by. The bull turned quickly and caught him in between the horns. Angelillo, hit high in the chest but not punctured, described a somersault. His attendants carried their torero to the first aid station.
Out stepped Pedro Perez Stedda Pedro Martinez and made the kill. Then he set himself to face the second bull, Campero, The Guardian of the Field. "Let me take him instead," said the apprentice apprentice, a 19-year-old who had arrived without attendants and who called himself The Toledo Fox. "Gladly," said Pedro Martinez. Toledo's Fox was barely warmed up when, injudiciously, he turned his back to Campero. Off went The Fox to the hospital.
Again Pedro Martinez made the kill, and set himself to face the third bull, Fieto, the Little Ugly One. Pedro worked his bull as best he could, then drove in the sword. But Fieto, before he fell, rushed Pedro, butted him in the chest, gored him in the foot and dumped him on his head. Pedro and Fieto left the ring together.
The fourth bull of the afternoon would have been the 3,464th bull killed this year in Spain—but there was nobody around to fight him. The bulls finally had won a bullfight.
When the line squall hit Green Bay, Wis. one morning last week, the wind was gusting along at 52 mph. A photographer's tower on the Green Bay-Packers' practice field, 25 feet high, 1,000 pounds heavy and made of angle iron, tipped and then toppled. It landed squarely on the helmeted head of Linebacker Ray Nitschke.
Smushed into the grass by the iron framework, Nitschke wiggled his fingers and toes, and, when the tower was lifted, reeled to his feet. Then, extracting the metal bolt that had punched a hole in his plastic helmet, Nitschke hitched up his pants and returned to practice.
THAT DANISH DRUG
Trainer Oluf Jorgensen has now admitted that he gave a drug to four Danish cyclists before the Olympic 100-kilometer road race two weeks ago. Three of the four Danes collapsed during the race, and one later died. In itself, Jorgensen's admission is no surprise. Among European professional bike racers the use of drugs is common. The puzzling thing is that the drug the Danes received was Roniacol—which is not a so-called pep pill. On the contrary, in fact.
"Roniacol," says one New York doctor, "is a form of nicotinic acid, which is one of the vitamin-B complex. It is used to increase circulation in the limbs. Roniacol, similar in effect but milder than nicotinic acid, is used for the same purpose-to dilate the blood vessels. Blood pressure is lowered because more of the blood is put in use. Thus, the output of blood from the heart is increased, and the heart is forced to work harder to circulate the blood."
This is the same effect that exercise alone has on the blood vessels in the muscles. "It is entirely conceivable," the doctor adds, "that the blood-vessel-dilating effect of the drug, combined with the blood-vessel-dilating effect of the exercise, caused the Danish cyclists to go into shock—a state which can result in death."
The various pep pills, on the other hand, have their most direct effect on the brain, causing a sense of increased energy and physical capability. They also have a tendency to constrict the blood vessels. In any event, if amateur athletes are to be given drugs medical professionals—clearly—should prescribe them.
CAST OF CHARACTERS
Texas rumors say Oriole Manager Paul Richards wants to manage the hoped-for major league team in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Not so, says Richards, who is justifiably happy where he is and who is in an income tax bracket where a big raise in salary might hurt more than it helps....
St. Louis heavyweight Sonny Liston, who fights Eddie Machen in Seattle September 7, has been subpoenaed by Senator Estes Kefauver to tell whether or not he is managed by "underworld figures." The answer probably is "yes," but—like many fighters before him—Sonny may be the last man to know....
On the radio in Dallas these days a young lady frequently says: "I am Jane Murchison, and I am a fan of the Dallas Texans." The young lady is an employee of Lamar Hunt, owner of the AFL pro football team. She is out to sell tickets and knock the NFL Dallas Cowboys, largely owned by Clint Murchison Jr., who happens to have a daughter Jane (no kin and no coincidence)....
Overheard in a mildly sporty bar on Sunday: She: "What happened in the Olympics today?" He: "Nothing happens on Sunday." She: "It's a good thing—we'd have finished second in church."
OVER THE IRISH SEA—THE HARD WAY
Florence Chadwick, 41, trim and attractive as ever as she relaxes here after a workout, will wade into the icy, white-capped waters of the Irish Sea in a few days and will attempt a 30-mile crossing no woman has ever accomplished. The stretch Miss Chadwick chose to tackle, from Donaghadee in Northern Ireland to Portpatrick in Scotland, has been conquered only once—in 15 hours, 25 minutes by an Englishman in 1947. Ten years ago Miss Chadwick broke (by one hour 11 minutes) Gertrude Ederle's English Channel mark from France to England, which had stood for 24 years, and subsequently she established an oceanful of world swimming records. Now she thinks she can better the Irish channel mark, and so does SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, which will sponsor her attempt.