A POX ON TAXES
Like most fighters who have made fortunes in the ring and lost them in Internal Revenue offices, Ingemar Johansson is understandably irritated about it all. "All" is a tax system that makes charges against boxers' rare bonanzas quite as if they were salaried workers whose earnings are spread over 40 years or more. Not that Ingemar is destitute. He is, in fact, wealthy, and was comparatively rich before he ever fought Floyd Patterson or sang with Dinah Shore.
Still, some rather intemperate remarks were attributed to him not too long ago in the Swedish evening newspaper Expressen. According to Expressen, Ingemar said:
"I don't care two pins about Sweden or America. I have enough money in Switzerland. The dividends are so large that I could not spend them all whatever I did.... There are as many gangsters in tax establishments in the U.S. as in professional boxing.... The Americans can search with binoculars for my tax money. I haven't the slightest idea of using my money in Switzerland to pay taxes in the U.S. The money I have in the U.S. can go to tax...perhaps 2 million kronor. I have been sentenced to pay 5 million. The 3 million lacking they can consider themselves cheated of."
Ingemar has about $350,000 in escrow in the U.S., and his tax bill is a bit more than $1 million. He insisted later that the quotes were "cursed lies" and "gross misunderstanding."
Well, even though his indignation may have been overstated, you can't blame Ingemar for being mad about the tax deal. Fighters are especially handicapped by our tax laws—as, for instance, Joe Louis. They are entitled to rant somewhat. More than a few of us loyal Americans will, on the eve of April 16, do a little snarling, too.
A VOTE FOR NO VOTE
With the firing of Coach Buster Ramsey by the Buffalo Bills last week, it can be said that the American Football League is gaining some of the more dubious elements of maturity. Ramsey became the fifth AFL coach to be fired within the last four months and, as we all know, when bad teams lose, even good coaches must depart. Ramsey followed Eddie Erdelatz of Oakland, Lou Rymkus of Houston, Lou Saban of Boston, Sammy Baugh of New York and probably precedes Frank Filchock of Denver in the AFL's ever-lengthening list of deposed coaches. One thing to be said for the AFL's owners: not one of them gave his coach a vote of confidence the day before he fired him.
THE LATIN HERO
David Brinkley's Journal, which made its first appearance on television 14 weeks ago, last week examined Antonino Rocca, the most famous wrestler currently performing in America. Brinkley presented Rocca not merely as a pro wrestler but as the idol of hundreds of thousands of Puerto Ricans living in the continental U.S.
Brinkley described Rocca (who is, incidentally, an Argentine) and the Puerto Rican adulation of him in subjective detail: "The second-raters, the bums and the freaks have been in the ring and warmed up the customers, and now it is time for the Latin Hero. He will appear—all muscle and animal vigor—and the audience will sit there and watch him act out their dreams. He may lose the first fall, but in the end his great strength and noble purpose, like virtue, always wins. They watch this act repeated over and over and never tire of it. If anyone tells them it is planned, they don't care. They like the show and like the way it turns out; and if it takes some planning and arranging to make it turn out right, that's the way it is in everyday life, and nobody cares. And for the Puerto Ricans, Tony Rocca is the man who fights their battles, takes on the Anglo-Saxons, who are always villains, and wins for them. They see him as a strong, simple and honest hero with a strong, simple and honest heart."
As a matter of fact, Rocca does have an honest heart, strange as that may seem in a wrestler. Brinkley took pains to point out that Rocca does not carry Latin-Saxon hostility out of the ring. Instead, he spends a good deal of his free time talking to school assemblies in Spanish Harlem on an old but noble theme: "Respect your teachers, obey your parents and love your country! Viva America!"
NEW BAD GUY
It has been seven seasons now since the National Hockey League first uncaged Lou Fontinato and allowed him to spill blood on assorted rinks from New York to Montreal. In the seven years that Fontinato has been in the NHL, six with the New York Rangers and the current one with the Montreal Canadiens, he has never been much of a scorer and, come to think of it, never much of a defense-man either. Fontinato has been good for something besides drawing blood—drawing fans. This season, however, hockey has a new "bad guy," 24-year-old Howie Young of the Detroit Red Wings. He is drawing a little blood, and it is expected that fans will shortly follow.
Young came to the Red Wings in the middle of last season, and in just 40 games managed to spend 138 minutes in the penalty box. In fact, counting his minor league play at Hershey and his Red Wing play during 1960-61, Young was penalized five hours of playing time. This season he sits second in NHL penalty minutes, with 73 in 28 games. Fontinato still leads the league with 107 minutes in 33 games.
Recently Sid Abel, the coach of the Red Wings, and Jack Adams, Detroit's general manager, tried to get rid of Young because he was hurting his own team, in addition to other teams. No one would buy Young and no one would trade for him, so Detroit decided to keep him. Everyone realizes that Young is a terrific skater and stickhandler, but his philosophy runs away with him. His philosophy: "I just like to get my shoulder into somebody."
THE INSIDE TRACK
•Leading students at seven of the eight Southwest Conference schools—Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, Rice, Southern Methodist, Texas Christian and Baylor—recently directed a resolution to the presidents of these schools, urging that "capable athletes of all races" be allowed to join in any and all forms of intercollegiate sports.
•CBS-TV, encouraged by the high ratings and excellent critical comment its coverage of the 1960 Winter Olympics at Squaw Valley received, will telecast four games of the World Amateur Hockey championships at Colorado Springs in March. Viewers will see Russia-Canada, March 10; Czechoslovakia-U.S., March 11; Canada-U.S., March 17; and Russia-U.S., March 18.
•With Missouri and Colorado currently under investigation by the NCAA for questionable recruiting practices, Kansas on probation by the NCAA and Oklahoma only recently taken off it, there is growing sentiment in the Big Eight for athletic de-emphasis. Some faculty representatives are opposed to the renewal of the Orange Bowl football contract, which ends in 1964, and two Big Eight basketball coaches, Dick Harp of Kansas and Tex Winter of Kansas State, would like to abolish the Big Eight's Christmas basketball tournament. Harp and Winter are also in favor of starting the basketball season on December 15 instead of December 1.
MR. SCHINE, MEET MR. MOTO
There seems to be a compulsion these days to do things without actually doing them. In Buffalo, where it does nothing but snow, G. David Schine, who won fame of sorts as an ideological ferret for the McCarthy subcommittee, will soon open the world's first indoor snowless ski resort. That's right; indoors, in Buffalo. That's really all one should have to say about that idea. But for the record, as well as the curious, Schine has set up nine Ski-Deks in one of his old theaters. A Ski-Dek is a wide sort of conveyor belt made of slippery white nylon and pitched at about a 15° angle. You strap on the skis, G. David starts the motor and you hop aboard to ski endlessly to nowhere—as the nylon slides uphill under your skis—safe from such depressants as fresh air, sunshine and mountain scenery. Oh, yes. To give that feeling of speed and free flight, he has electric fans at the bottom blowing back up at you.
In Japan they are working a slight switch on the Schine gimmick. Twenty-five miles outside Tokyo some Oriental mind has set up the world's first outdoor-indoor ski resort. The slope itself is a real hillside; but the skiing surface is powdered ice blown onto the slope from two huge ice crushers. Overhead there is an immense corrugated tin roof that shields the slope and the customers from sun, rain or whatever. The only possible hazard seems to be the ice blowers; anyone unlucky enough to ski past when they are turned on may come out looking like a Scotch mist.
A LOT OF BULL
To two generations of American aficionados, Ernest Hemingway's Death in the Afternoon has been the holy writ of bullfighting. But Hemingway and his little old lady are no match for Los Tows, a four-volume treatise in Spanish that weighs about 25 pounds and sells in the U.S. (if you can find it) for around $50. Volume Four, published in 1961, completes a job that was begun in 1943. Author of all four volumes is José María de Cossío, who has long been Spain's foremost bullfight writer. The volumes are handsomely designed, studded with colorplates and bound in what appears to be bull hide. In analysis and historical content they put American sporting encyclopedias to shame. (For example, Volume Four carries 10 pages of biographical sketches on bullfighters named García.)
Se√±or Cossío devotes ample space and praise to contemporary heroes Antonio Ordó√±ez and Luis Miguel Dominguín but pays his highest tributes to the somewhat tarnished (by Hemingway) image of Manolete. "By his life and by his death," writes Cossío, Manolete is "a symbol of the greatest virtues of bullfighting and the bullfighter." Papa would not have agreed, but Cossío is the authority.
When Chicken Little first yelled, "The sky is falling!" there was no time for discussion, and everyone panicked. The chicken world is more mature now. Game Fowl News, dedicated to the fighting cock, says calmly: let there be fallout shelters—but Game Fowl News is shrewd as well as scientific. It takes a long view, thinks beyond the immediate problem. If there is no war, it asks, "What then would become of the expensively built shelters?"
Game Fowl News then gives the answer! "We can think of no better purpose than to convert them into underground cockpits. With all their modern conveniences the fall-out facilities could be readily converted into pits that would be a boon to cockers all over the nation. So we say, if we are to have fall-out shelters, let's have good ones that can be converted into facilities for the pleasure and recreation of a sports loving public."
Some might argue for bowling alleys.
THEY SAID IT
•Jack Price, the owner of Carry Back, on his plans and hopes for the 1961 Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner: "From now on we'll be running mostly in handicaps, and in those you can expect to get beat. The romance of the Triple Crown is over. It's like after the honeymoon when you settle down to the routine of married life."
•Sonny Grandelius, the 31-year-old Colorado football coach whose team lost to LSU in the Orange Bowl: "When I lose, I go home and take a long shower. Then I get down on the floor and I play with my kids. It reminds me that football isn't everything to me, that I'm going to quit in 1966 and be all through with it."
•Mrs. Lyndon B. (Lady Bird) Johnson, wife of the Vice-President, on the pageantry of the Cotton Bowl in Dallas: "It's so nice to come here and see all the people. It's lovely to see old friends. I enjoy seeing all the pretty dresses worn today. And you get a little rush of the heart when they make a long run or receive a long pass out there."
•Widely traveled Basketball Referee Charley Eckman, disagreeing with those who say this is a vintage year in basketball: "All over, the teams don't appear to be as strong as they were last season. After Ohio State and Cincinnati, there's not much to choose."
•Paul (Bear) Bryant, Alabama football coach, to Arkansas Coach Frank Broyles after Arkansas' president had paid a flowery tribute to Broyles: "Frank, that business of loving you just as much if you lose, don't you believe a damn word of it."