ANOTHER WAY TO LOSE
Now you, too, can own part of a horse or horses for only $3. Turf and Paddock, Inc., a Delaware corporation, is offering to the public without guarantee (and with due warning that horse racing is a risky business) 100,000 shares of stock at the fixed price of $3 a share (par value 1¢ a share).
Turf and Paddock says it will "purchase, sell, hire, assign, transfer, train, breed, raise and race Thoroughbred race horses throughout the United States on a year-round basis." It does not represent that its horses will win purses in stakes, allowance or claiming races. The company already owns 15 horses of which 12 have won purses.
So far Turf and Paddock, Inc. is licensed to race in the states of New Hampshire and Maryland. We suggest to state racing commissions that applications for licenses by corporations be carefully scrutinized. Corporations selling stock to the public (and keeping huge batches of it for their officers at 1¢ a share) could introduce an unsporting element into racing. Such a corporation someday might easily fall under control of a mob, which could thereupon get its hands on a dozen or so stables, racing to win or lose as it pleased. The proper way to meet this new threat to racing, and to protect the public, is for all racing commissions to keep a tight checkrein and a close watch on all corporate racing speculatively arrived at.
Virgil Webster of Albuquerque has been awarded $17,500 damages as a result of a ski accident. He was looking at outboard motors in a store when a water ski fell off a high display and hit him on the neck. If one is going to engage in sports, one must be aware of the dangers.
Faced with another losing season, the 3,610 stockholders of the community-owned Vancouver Lions of the Canadian Football League (record for the year one win, two ties, 12 losses) have authorized an inquiry. They have nominated eight men who in turn are to nominate three men who are to investigate the team's 24 directors whom the 3,610 stockholders elected in the first place.
FUMBLE BUMS AND DRIBBLE DUDS
In January the NCAA will vote on a plan to tighten up eligibility standards for college athletics, an action long overdue. The plan has many good points, but we are particularly pleased with those proposals that would help to make extinct the Fumble Bum and the Dribble Dud.
The Fumble Bum is usually found in mid western or southwestern colleges, having migrated to them from other schools or having been neatly hidden for several semesters in those notable game preserves called junior colleges. The Fumble Bum sometimes makes three or four cross-country flights during his career and is always drawn to those training tables that have the thickest steaks (and gravy) to offer. He never (well, hardly ever) studies.
The Dribble Dud normally comes and goes as he pleases, is most visible at night and can often be spotted in clumps with gamblers or running at high speed from district attorneys. Both the Fumble Bum of football and the Dribble Dud of basketball are close relatives of the Tennis Bum (usually found in the thickets around Forest Hills) but no relation to the Ski Bum, who gropes for food, clothing and protection without hurting the general population. The Dribble Dud and the Fumble Bum have an uncanny perception that enables them to find their way to schools that are building strong teams on a foundation of weak morals.
The NCAA proposals would stop the Fumble Bums and Dribble Duds from participating in varsity sports for two years after committing themselves to one school and then flying the coop to another; would make an athlete expelled from one school for academic or disciplinary reasons sit out two years at his new school before participating in varsity sports; and would make these birds sit in a cage of inactivity for one year when they transfer to another school. All hail.
John Fulton Short, one of several Americans who recently have been seeking Ultimate Truth in the bull ring, made his first appearance in Madrid the other day. Madrid is to la fiesta brava what the Palace once was to vaudeville, and toreros fortunate enough to appear there usually are in their best clothes and on their best behavior. Not John Fulton Short.
Short wore a suit of lights of canary yellow, a color almost never seen in any bull ring (bad luck). He had it trimmed in silver, a metal usually reserved for banderilleros (and Luis Miguel Dominguín, who makes his own fashions). But if Short's taste in clothes proved poor, in justice it must be said that his performance was worse. He drew the third and sixth bulls, both large, determined animals. The third he handled fairly well ("He had luck," said one critic). Ah, but the sixth! Short set up the sixth bull with modest skill, then took the sword and began jabbing away. After 11 pinchazos (pinpricks made at a distance mutually safe for stabber and stabbee), Short managed two estocadas—deep sword thrusts that, unfortunately, failed to hit anything critical. By this time the crowd was whistling (Spanish for booing), and the bull, depressed but not destroyed, had lowered its head in shame.
Short exchanged his sword for a descabello, also a sword but one used for stabbing depressed bulls in the back of the neck. The crowd and the bull endured 10 jabs with the descabello (that's 23 altogether) before an official ordered a loud trumpet blast, meaning throw the bum out. They did, and somebody else killed the bull.
We think the crowd (and the officials) showed remarkable restraint. Five stabs should be out. In this case, the bull should have been awarded both of John Fulton Short's ears—and, possibly, his coccyx.
DUE AND PAYABLE
Bill Sharman, who performed so brilliantly for the Boston Celtics for years, earned $3,400 as his winner's share in last season's National Basketball Association playoffs. Now the NBA refuses to pay him.
The reason for the NBA's welsh is its squabble with the new pro group started by Abe Saperstein—the American Basketball League. Just as happened in football when a new league opened shop, there are charges and countercharges of tampering, contract-jumping and refusals to honor options. Sharman was given permission by the Celtics to join the new league as coach of the Los Angeles Jets but not to play for them. He doesn't see why he shouldn't be allowed to play. But all of these matters will shortly (or longly) be settled in the courts, and they have nothing to do with the $3,400. The National Basketball Association is merely harassing a working man by holding back. It should pay up—and grow up—pronto.
WHO DO? VOODOO!
There comes a time for even Palmer and Snead and Hogan when the devils have the last dance. Comes to you, comes to us. Came last week to Chuck Rotar, a 42-year-old professional out of Las Vegas, playing in the $20,000 Orange County Open in Costa Mesa, Calif. Rotar had hit his first shot on the par-3, 205-yard 18th. He had a good lie on the top of a small hill right next to the green.
But by the time he reached the ball, it was gone. Seems a small earthquake had shaken it down the hill and into a lake. Chuck played a new ball, charged himself one penalty stroke, took four more flustered strokes, and finished with a nice, round 6. He wound up one stroke out of the money.
THE INSIDE TRACK
•The freshly minted American Basketball League may have immediate financial trouble with its Hawaii franchise, thanks to overscheduling. Hawaii will be the scene of 10 ABL games in 12 nights. The Hawaii Chiefs meet the Chicago Majors nightly from November 24 to 28, rest on November 29 and 30 and then play the Washington Tapers from December 1 to 5.
•Heavyweight Cleveland Williams, 48 wins in 53 fights, is being considered for a spring or summer fight with Floyd Patterson. Patterson's manager, Cus D'Amato, is friendly toward Lou Viscusi, Williams' manager and also onetime manager of Patterson victim Roy Harris of Cut and Shoot, Texas.
•Boston University and the University of Buffalo are pushing the formation of an eastern football league that would also include Boston College, Holy Cross, Colgate and possibly Villanova. Most of these teams already play one another and have commitments to do so for years to come.
SENSE OF VALUES
The man who invented basketball 70 years ago now turns up on a postage stamp. Dr. James A. Naismith, who died in 1939, would probably have wondered what all the excitement was about. He thought wrestling was better exercise than basketball and preferred to teach fencing when he was a physical education professor at the University of Kansas.
In 1908 Phog Allen told Naismith that he was going to coach a basketball team. The inventor of the game was astonished. "Why, basketball is just a game to play," Naismith said. "It doesn't need a coach." He was even more bewildered later when his friend Phog tossed around such phrases as "the stratified transitional zone defense with man-to-man option."
Naismith went to all Kansas basketball games but never raised his voice and seemed to watch with stolid indifference. Discussion of changes in basketball rules bored him. He felt that every basketball competitor was law-abiding, that fouls were unfortunate accidents, and that the game was merely a game and not the end of the world. We feel certain that if Naismith were alive today, he would mail his letters with the conventional Lincoln stamp rather than the new Naismith one.
WHAT PRICE ROMANCE?
It comes as a shock to learn from Britain that the lower animals do not fight over mates but only over territory and social status. Adolf Portmann, in a book entitled Animals as Social Beings, explodes the romance theory. Reptiles, insects, fishes, crabs and birds, he writes, value their home turf and will fight bitterly to keep it from marauders. Take the robin. For part of each year the cock robin stakes his claim to a small part of a garden, and the hen robin has her little area. During the breeding season they merge in a community-property arrangement, as in California.
If another cock robin comes into this engagement ring he's apt to have his block knocked off by the master, while the female looks on admiringly. Because he is defending his own territory, the husband usually wins, and his mate stays with him. But he wasn't fighting for her in the first place, Portmann points out. She is already his and will stick with him, win or lose.
We admire Mr. Portmann's scientific skill in discovering these facts, but we wonder if he realizes he has taken a lot of the zing out of bird watching.
A METHOD OF GETTING EVEN
Sammy Millbanks, a 29-year-old jockey currently riding in England, last week continued serenely on with his record of 150 consecutive losers. "Unlucky?" he said. "Not a bit. I am lucky, really, because I don't let a thing like this worry me. I get paid just the same and I take everything as it comes."
For jockey-system players, however, things are not coming easily. Under the popular system of betting on jockeys wherein the $2 bettor keeps doubling his bets until the jockey finally wins, Millbanks' backers this week must step right up to the mutuel wickets and plunk down roughly one quattuordecillion, 430 tredecillion dollars, or $1,430,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000.
THEY SAID IT
•Norm Cash, Detroit first baseman and American League batting champion: "We're like cattle—get fat and they trade you off."
•Tom Nugent, Maryland football coach, describing his team's rain-soaked loss to North Carolina: "It was so muddy that when I went to congratulate the Carolina players, I discovered they were mine."
•Rudy Maris, older brother of Roger, telling about people who like to touch the lion's skin or get his autograph: "These old ladies—they're the worst. They come up behind him, look around, then reach out and touch his back, and then pull their hands back real quick."