Comedian Jerry Lewis told a Texas audience: "Nixon is such a good loser they ought to make him coach of the Dallas Cowboys."
That huge daily-double payoff at California's Golden Gate Fields the other day left at least one racing expert on the verge of hysteria. Abe Kemp, veteran reporter for the San Francisco Examiner, asked Trainer Jimmy Sinnott if his horse, Oriolo, had a chance in the first race. Said Sinnott: "It would take a miracle." Then Kemp asked Jockey Roy Yaka if Covinan had a chance in the second race. "I have come to the conclusion," said Yaka, "that this horse is a bum." Of course, both horses won and produced a payoff of $8,711.40, third highest in North American racing history. "Would anybody," Kemp said later through his anguish, "parlay a miracle and a bum?"
TIP TO THE TOP
For 60 years undergraduates at Cambridge University have been sallying forth at midnight to climb all over the roofs of the institution's 19 colleges. It is the English equivalent of goldfish eating or crowding into phone booths. This night climbing, or stegophilia, has now received literary recognition in the form of a little book containing advice on footholds, drainpipe and chimneying techniques and many secrets about Mutton-hole Turret, Temptation Wall, Devil's Tower, 1834 Corner and other forbidding spots. The book limits itself to the rooftops of one college and is entitled Night Climber's Guide to Trinity.
The budding stegophile will find, for example, that there is ample finger room behind the first drain on the great gate, and "those whose drainpipe technique is adequate will reach the top without too much difficulty." The book warns that "the growth of undergraduate enthusiasm toward night climbing has evoked a proportional increase in official disenchantment," but "who would wish it otherwise?" It is true that some few climbers have fallen, damaging both themselves and the buildings. One gentleman climbed to the roof of the chapel after a riotous evening of drink and merriment and took the shortest way down, thus giving the spot its present name: Sandy's Drop. Some climbers say it is little hazards like this that give roof walking its allure. Others say they climb the roofs of Cambridge because they are there. Only the London Times has given the dedicated stegophile a full measure of understanding: "His goal is pure and innocent, and his purpose the sublimer fellowship of sky and stars: which who would thwart must surely be lacking in true nobility of soul."
THE INSIDE TRACK
•When the Kefauver subcommittee reopens its boxing hearings early next month, one surprise item will be the payola lavished on sportswriters by promoters to insure good press relations. "This is not just a case of an occasional bottle of whisky or a free weekend at a resort," says a committee source. "Our reports show that some managers and matchmakers have paid out as much as $250,000 a year to writers."
•One of Olympic hero Jack McCartan's handicaps in winning the Rangers' goal-tending job was his U.S. citizenship. Canadians dominate the NHL and, proud of their national sport, resent "outsiders." When McCartan was sent down to the Eastern League recently, one NHL player remarked, "He'd better take out Canadian citizenship papers if he wants to come back."
•Illinois Athletic Director Ray Eliot is simmering over the U. of Missouri's football recruiting efforts in his state. Missouri has 17 Illinois boys on the freshman squad and its scouts are out digging for more.
•The Sally League, oldest Class A baseball association in the nation, will play without a Georgia team next year for the first time in its 56-year history. Long gone are Augusta, Savannah and Columbus, and as good as gone is Macon, which will lose its franchise to Greenville, S.C.
•A year's experimentation has convinced the USGA: it is going back to its old two-stroke penalty for balls hit out of bounds. Under a local option, however, players can move the unplayable ball two club lengths and take a one-stroke penalty.
•Cassius Clay, pride of Louisville and Olympic light heavyweight champion turned pro, will use California as home base. There he hopes to interest Archie Moore in coaching him.
•Big Eight will poll the conference on barring Kansas Halfback Bert Coan, whose school is already on NCAA probation, from further play. Some members charge that Coan, a native Texan, received "excessive entertainment" from Houston Oilman Bud Adams, a Kansas alumnus.
Mellowing in the off season, Most Valuable Player Dick Groat of the Pirates revealed a secret of the Series and sweet revenge. Groat and some Pirate teammates once had a day to kill in New York and decided to take in a Yankee game. Breezing up to the Stadium gates, they presented themselves, expecting, like all major leaguers, to be waved on through. Not so at the home of the mighty Yankees. "Don't bother us," said the gateman. "We're busy."
Groat and teammates got hold of a front-office man, who gave them tickets. "There were about 12,000 fans there that day," Groat recalls, "but they sat us somewhere out in left field."
After the game the visiting Bucs decided to pay a call on former teammate Bobby Del Greco. They went to the Yankee dressing room, but the doorman barred the way. "Not now," he said. "You'll have to wait." Groat and company waited. The doorman watched them for a while, then snapped: "Look, buddy, I don't care who you guys are. Nobody hangs around this entrance. You go around the corner there."
"None of us said anything," Groat says, "and later we got to see Bobby. But I never forgot the rudeness. I made up my mind then, if I ever got a chance to return the favor for that Yankee treatment, I'd be more than pleased. I consider we're even now."
One thing about Australians, they're not afraid to challenge anybody to anything. Last spring they challenged the New York Yacht Club to race for the America's Cup in 1962, and the New Yorkers accepted. This posed an interesting problem. The rules specify that the race must be sailed in the complex, highly tuned, superexpensive 12-meter sloop. The Australians have no 12-meter sloops of their own (they had to charter John Matthews' venerable Vim to get acquainted with one). They never have had any 12-meter sloops. And they never have raced anybody else's.
Since the sloop must be designed and built in the country that challenges, all this puts quite a strain on Australia's only professional yacht designer, 39-year-old Alan Payne. Payne came to the United States recently to study 12-meter-sloop design and test six tank models he brought along. At Stevens Institute in New Jersey he tried some of his pet ideas. "They were," he said, "some extreme things, freaks really, and I've satisfied myself that nearly all were not good ideas. Besides, it seems impossible to improve on what's already been done in the 12-meter class." Already painfully thin and dodging an ulcer, Payne, however, is not giving up. "Some people believe the Australian challenge will turn out to be a fable," he said, "but by golly we'll be there."
For a fellow with strong masochistic tendencies, there's nothing like goal tending in the National Hockey League. You catch hell from the opposition, from the fans and very often from your owners. It is a regular tub of tears, and this season it has not been any easier. Montreal's Vezina Trophy winner Jacques Plante is under abuse from the Canadiens' fans and Coach Toe Blake. Detroit's Terry Sawchuk, a bundle of talented nerves, has given way to rookie Hank Bassen. Chicago's Glenn Hall has started leaking goals like a sieve, and recently in Boston was conked on the head by a thrown light bulb at the same time he was giving up the tying score to Bruin Don McKenney.
The latest victim is Boston's Don Simmons. Demoted to Providence and replaced by 22-year-old Bruce Gamble, Simmons has announced his departure from hockey. "I have a little bit of pride," he said. The Boston management, he declared, had traded away the team in the last three years, and now was trying to make him the goat. "I've been pushed around," said Simmons. "There's little justice in the world." Spoken like a true goal tender.
A French entomologist named Lucas, working in the best traditions of Pasteur and the Curies, has made an important scientific breakthrough. He has discovered exactly how Mexican jumping beans jump. M. Lucas explains: "By anchoring his hind legs on one end of the bean and recoiling, the worm inside the bean jumps forward. He strikes the other side of the bean with his head, and that's when the bean itself jumps." Sunlight, M. Lucas goes on, encourages the worm to jump higher, or farther, or wider, or something. Often the jump is so powerful that the bean wall is ruptured. The worm seals off the break with a silky secretion, then resumes jumping. The worm has 16 legs. He has a red head, which figures.