Behind thecurrent AAU-South Africa fuss are some simple facts and a simple solution.South Africa invited some of our track and field men to a meet there, and theAAU is now checking with these athletes to see if they would like to go. Thisis the way such international meets are normally arranged; the AAU does notchoose the athletes. The AAU cannot be held responsible for theinvitations.
Clearly, however,the South Africans are responsible. In the sprints, they did not invite FrankBudd, Paul Winder or Stone Johnson; they snubbed quarter-milers Otis Davis andTed Woods and high jumpers John Thomas and Charles Dumas. They ignored hurdlingand broad jumping, thus eliminating Lee Calhoun, Willie May, Hayes Jones, DickHoward, Bo Roberson and Ralph Boston. All of these men—no surprise—areNegroes.
The solution: theAAU should inform the South Africans that if they pick and choose among eventsand athletes in order to insure all-white competition, we will not send anyteam at all.
In their drivefor world superiority in sports, the Russians have been especially eager toachieve supremacy in basketball because it is the game Americans not only havedominated for years but one we originated. Their plans called for an Olympicvictory in Rome, and when the U.S. easily won its fifth gold medal there, theRussians started looking around for a scapegoat.
Last week in theyouth paper Komsomolskaya Pravda, Head Coach Stepan Spandarian was nominated aschief villain. One of Spandarian's assistants put the finger on him, using suchlanguage as "low level of discipline," "lack of courage,""inadequate tactical preparation."
The truth is thatSpandarian, a small, dignified man who insists on correct on-court behavior byhis players, has done a remarkable job of raising Russian basketball to arespectable level of competence. A country that had no basketball traditionjust a few years ago is now the second or third best in the world. It is quiteconceivable that Russia would be a genuine threat to the U.S. in the 1964Olympics if the continuity of coaching were maintained.
Now, undoubtedly,Spandarian will be fired. Russia's loss is our gain.
HOW TO SAKE ASNAKE
Bill Harney is a65-year-old Australian guide, outbacker, friend of the aborigine, bush cook andauthor who will, when hunger seizes him, knock over a goose, native-style, witha stick; dig turtle eggs from the beach; cut witchetty grubs from a tree orcatch a python. He tells how to cook these and other comestibles of theAustralian bush in Bill Harney's Cook Book, just published in Melbourne.
"If a snakeis killed and thrown straight on to the fire, it immediately twists and turnsinto a very disconcerting shape indeed," Harney writes. The approved mannerfor baking a snake requires a fire and two men. They sit, one on each side ofthe fire, and stretch the snake (dead) over the heat, passing it to and froslowly. "The idea of this, the natives say, is to throw the juices backinto the flesh and at the same time relax the muscular contractions."Harney admits that most people have an antipathy to snakes, but nevertheless"the flesh is excellent eating, as is the flesh of the goanna."
Other adviceuseful for cookouts in Westport or Milwaukee:
"All thekangaroo is good to eat." The legs, when cooked and skinned, look somewhatlike ham, "and if you wish to make them really tasty make incisions in theflesh and insert small pieces of bacon."
"In the earlydays, possums were caught, cleaned and cut up, put into a hollowed-out pumpkinwhich was then roasted—and a very tasty pie it was, too."
Harney's outbackfriends include The Wooden Owl, "so-called because he got on with hiscooking and said not a word to anybody," and Short Stop, "who, ofcourse, did not stop long in any one place." Sitting Shot got his namewhen, after being fired upon while lying in his swag (or sleeping bag), hecomplained that "the drover was no sport, to take a sitting shot at the oldbird in the nest." Blue Bob of Borroloola would cry out his "skin wascrackin' for want of a drink," and when he finally did get to town he ranup and down the street, "snorting like a horse and calling on the police to'yard' him."
Harney has alsoincluded the words from an old bush ballad which leave the impression that atleast one bush cook was not up to snuff:
Fair Australia,oh what a dump.
All you get to eat is crocodile's rump,
Bandicoot's brains and catfish pie.
Let me go home again before I die!
Harold Dinges, a vice-president of the Spencer Chemical Company of Kansas City,was out quail shooting the other day with J. C. Denton, the company'spresident. Dinges bagged several birds, Denton bagged none. Finally Dentoncaught a quail in his sights, fired and was pleased to see his bird plunge toearth. Vice-president Dinges quickly dispatched his new retriever, King Victor,to bring back the boss's prize. King Victor raced to the bird and—horrors—beganto eat it. Quickly, Dinges made a policy decision. He raised his gun and sent acharge of bird shot at King Victor's hindquarters. King Victor dropped thebird, Denton retrieved it and thoughtful Harold Dinges is still avice-president of Spencer Chemical.
•John David Crow,the Cardinals' All-Pro halfback, is considering a switch to the AFL. Crow's NFLoption expires after this season, and Houston Owner Bud Adams probably willoffer Crow the same high salary-private business deal he gave Billy Cannon.
•A sharp slump infootball interest threatens the life of the Missouri Valley Conference, one ofthe oldest athletic associations west of the Mississippi. Most serious blow isthe rejection of membership invitations by Louisville and Memphis State, bothfootball-playing independents. The conference is torn between football diehardsand schools like St. Louis which strongly favor basketball.
•Calumet TrainerJimmy Jones believes that in a few years 75% of the jockeys on North Americantracks will be Latin Americans. "If U.S. jockeys aren't riding your topstakes horse after six months," Jones says, "they figure you'remistreating them. We don't turn out any more great jockeys here. We're pennedin by school regulations, labor and insurance laws, the Jockeys' Guild and theattitudes of the kids themselves."
•Paul Pender andCarmen Basilio are close to signing for a 10-round bout at Boston Gardens, butBasilio wants a "warmup" against Don Jordan. Pender's camp is opposed,fearing a poor Basilio performance against Jordan would jeopardize a potential$150,000 gate.
•The TorontoMaple Leafs will make a strong off-season bid for ex-Montreal Goalie JacquesPlante, recently demoted to the Eastern League after a squabble over his use ofthat famous face mask. Asked whether he'd take Plante with or without the mask,Toronto's Punch Imlach replied: "Hell, Pd take him any way. He's the bestgoal tender in hockey."
•There will be anabrupt end to friendly relations between the NFL and the Canadian League if NFLCommissioner Pete Rozelle approves Sam Etcheverry's contract with St. Louis.Etcheverry, traded by Montreal to Hamilton last fall, claimed the deal brokehis no-trade contract and signed on with St. Louis. The Canadians claim the NFLcontract "means nothing"; but if it is approved, they warn, "we cango after players of theirs we'd like to have."
The Texaslegislature—and perhaps even Texas itself—will never be the same afterRepresentative V. E. (Red) Berry, a self-professed retired gambler, getsthrough with it.
Berry, speakingwith surprising candor of his reputation as a gambler and even of some brusheshe has had with the law, upset strong opposition in the Democratic primary andthen in the recent general election.
During hiscampaign, which was based on a platform of legalizing pari-mutuel betting inTexas, Berry was called into conference by a group of San Antonio ministers."They asked me what I was doing for the spiritual welfare," Berry said."I told them if they didn't infringe on my business, I wouldn't get intotheirs. I never heard of anybody getting legislated into heaven."
When Berry tookoffice last week, he informed the sergeant-at-arms he wanted a desk next to theHouse member most opposed to pari-mutuel betting. Rep. H. A. Leaverton of Evantseemed to qualify, and is now Berry's deskmate. "I figure so many peoplewill be coming by and asking me about my horse racing bill," Berry says,"that he will eventually get curious and ask me about it, and I'll be readyfor him."
Berry dressesmore like a banker or a preacher than a retired ("retired, notreformed") gambler. He lives in a huge San Antonio home which he says isworth about $200,000. It includes a private lake on the grounds. "It is anice house," he explains. "I won it off an old millionaire playinggin." He believes the return of horse racing would help solve Texas' taxproblems—his only interest in serving in the legislature.
"A good wayto get me out of the legislature," he retorts to those who criticize hispresence there, "would be to pass this bill."
NO PLAY, FORPAY
In December 1958Halfback Gene Gedman of the Detroit Lions injured his knee. This, it nowdevelops, may turn out to be one of the momentous injuries of all time, for theknee failed to heal properly, Gedman retired from pro football, and theMichigan state compensation department has ruled that the Lions must pay Gedman$33 a week for up to 500 weeks, or a total of $16,500.
CompensationReferee James Broderick based his decision on a 1912 state law that requires anemployer to pay an injured employee part of his salary and all of his medicalexpenses. "Gedman was a skilled employee," said Broderick. "Assuch, the law states that although he recovers from his injured knee, Gedman islegally disabled as long as he cannot return to his skilled profession—namely,football. He is entitled to payment of the difference between what he wasmaking at full physical capacity and what he can now earn"—that is, $33 aweek. (Since his retirement, Gedman has been earning about $11,000 a year as areal-estate salesman.)
Violentdisagreement with the decision comes, naturally, from Lions President Edwin J.Anderson. "We won't settle," Anderson says. "It's the precedentwe're concerned about. If this goes through, everybody who ever played forDetroit and got hurt could come back and collect."
The Lions insistthat Gedman, as an athlete, is not a workman but an independent contractor whonegotiates his own salary. Appeals by Anderson may delay a final decision inthe case for months. But if Gedman eventually scores a clear legal victory theeffect on professional sport could be staggering. In Michigan, and in manyother states, it will be far, far better for a lot of other athletes to haveplayed and been hurt than never to have played at all.
JFK VS. DDE
The announcement by Colorado Governor Steve McNichols last week that he hadpurchased the state's No. 1 fishing license for President John F. Kennedycaused consternation at the Game and Fish Department. Colorado's No. 1 fishinglicense was purchased in late December for President Dwight D. Eisenhower. Gameand Fish bases its hopes of avoiding a serious conflict on the reasonableassumption that JFK is more for touch football than for fishing.