GARDEN LOSES ON POINTS
Though it seems like yesterday, it is in fact six years since Federal Judge Sylvester J. Ryan dissolved the International Boxing Club (James D.Norris, president) and ended sport's tightest monopoly (SI, July 1, 1957). The Supreme Court of the United States upheld Ryan. Norris was forced out of Madison Square Garden and, to all effect, boxing.
Key to the old Norris monopoly was its practice of signing champion prizefighters to exclusive contracts. If they did not sign they got no fights. But if they did sign they could fight for Norris or nobody. That tidy arrangement was dissipated by the Ryan decree.
Now Judge Ryan has made another decision. To the reorganized Garden's plea that it be permitted to sign a fighter for more than one bout in a single contract, the judge last week said no. "Competitive conditions in the industry," he said, "do not prevail."
The judge is right once more. The Garden controls the only nationally televised boxing show—and it is a poor thing. Because of the greedily destructive pattern originally designed by Norris, small fight clubs have all but disappeared, and the supply of tolerable talent is scarcely enough to fill a single night's card. Whatever might be done to restore the sport's old prestige, the Garden's solution is not the one. It could only accelerate the descending spiral.
THAT'LL SHOW 'EM, BO
Since the Los Angeles Angels shunted a reluctant Bo Belinsky to the Hawaii Islanders he has won a couple of baseball games, and this has brought him out of what, for a time, looked like a case of the surly sulks. But Bo is talking again, pretty much as usual. Hawaii, he says, is too relaxing.
"It's tough to be ambitious here," he explained. "You have to kick yourself in the tail to play baseball."
It is so relaxing, indeed, that he finds himself going to bed before midnight. Falling asleep, he schemes of ways to confound the Angels. He has one pretty good idea already.
"I'd like to get a photographer to come down to Waikiki," he said, "and take a picture of me on a surfboard to send back to the mainland. They supposedly sent me out here to suffer, but if the picture went back, they'd see how much you suffer in Hawaii."
In other words, Angels, Bo is still insufferable.
TRAGEDY ON THE LAKE
A Star class boat is a racing machine, with 281 square feet of sail driving a low-slung and extremely sensitive hull. Star sailors are a tough and free-thinking breed. Last week the Cleveland Yachting Club held a series of five races, the winner to qualify for the World Star Championship scheduled for Chicago next month.
On Tuesday the weather bureau predicted winds up to 25 knots, with small craft warnings. The eager skippers and crews in the 19 Stars jockeyed impatiently while the race committee delayed the start for an hour, waiting for a squall to blow over. At 2:30, with the winds at 25 mph, the starting gun sounded. Soon afterward the winds suddenly increased, hitting 50 mph and building six-foot waves. Fleet Captain Charles Judd saw one Star foundering. Aboard, bailing out the tiny cockpit, was an experienced Great Lakes skipper, Bill Andersen, 46, a captain in the Coast Guard Reserve and an attorney specializing in admiralty law. His crewman, Robert Jacob, 28, was a poor swimmer, so Andersen told him to put on a life jacket. Then the mast went over. Judd's launch arrived in less than five minutes but the sloop, with insufficient flotation material, had sunk. Jacob was floating in his life jacket—and Andersen was gone. Andersen had not followed his own advice. He wore no life jacket.
SUITABLE IDEAS FOR SWIMMING
One of the nation's big swimsuit makers, Rose Marie Reid, is showing an electrically heated suit at the annual Western Electronics Show convention in San Francisco's Cow Palace next week. It uses carbon cloth, a space fabric that is strong, flexible, chemical-resistant and flameproof. Heat is supplied by a battery. Object: to prolong the swimming season and eliminate pool heaters.
There are, however, bugs. The battery weighs about a pound and is cumbersome. But Designer George McCormick is trying to work out a pouch arrangement or belt to hold several tiny transistor batteries. Even so, the material costs $12 a yard and, beyond that, will not take a dye, thus limiting it to its natural gray color—not too salable a hue.
Bugs or not, we have faith in Miss Reid. She is the lady who engineered the first built-in bra for swimsuits.
An old Massachusetts law required that hotel keepers maintain accommodations for their guests' horses. It is not too much enforced these days. We do not know what the law in Texas, east or west of the Pecos, might be, but there seems to be a trend. The Dallas Continental Inn—with swimming pool, restaurant, thick carpeting and TV—is admitting, in addition to tourists, horses.
There are now four stalls, each costing as much to build as a regular unit in the $1,750,000 motel. The stalls are of rough-sawed redwood. Red cedar shake shingles give a western touch. The rate: an inhuman $3 a day, single occupancy.
Manager Quincy Taylor has had few equine guests so far, but he expects more when the big horse shows start in September and the state fair comes in October. He also expects there will be more such motels as his.
"It is very bad on horses to go over 400 miles a day," he explained. "They get nervous. You have no idea what problems this can entail."
There are no problems for horse owners who stop at the Continental. Porters at the Inn give horse guests any specific attention requested—feeding, spraying, grooming and even bathing. People don't get those extras.
BACK TO NATURE
On the theory that masses of people and wilderness are not compatible, a movement has begun within the National Parks Service to cut down on areas available to car campers. Backpack campers will be welcome, as always, provided they behave themselves, but the car-camping set has included too many of the type likely to douse a roaring fire with a bucket of kerosene, toss old underwear into the Morning Glory Pool and dump watermelon rinds into the sacred perfection of Rainier's Shadow Lake.
The aim is not to keep the car camper out of the parks but to confine him to "recreation areas" where beauty parlors, coin laundries, cocktail lounges and kiddies' playlands are available. Already camping sites at Teton's Jenny Lake have been reduced from 115 to 85. Next year they will shrink some more.
The service expects some howls, naturally, since only a tiny minority of those who visit the parks realize that they were set aside as nature sanctuaries to be preserved forever in their pristine state. There is something terribly unpristine about a discarded beer can.
"Thank God the season's short," said one ranger. "The parks need the rest of the year to recover."
SAME OLD FRONTIER
Traditional in the annals of Nevada history is the annual badger vs. dog fight—and just as traditional is the outcry its announcement produces. This year the uproar has been more tumultuous than ever. The Salt Lake City Tribune thundered: "Whatever happened to the Nevada Humane Society?" A reader protested to the Ely Daily Times that the event was "sadistic, shameful and a blot, not only on the good name of Ely [where the fight was to be held], but on all humanity as well."
So far the fight has been postponed several times but, you may be sure, it will go on. It always has. Reports have it that a 50-pound badger has been caught and dieted and teased into a state of red-eyed meanness. His opponent, the pit dog, is described as well-trained, strong and vicious. Odds favor the badger 8 to 5, mostly because he fights by flipping over on his back and using his long sharp claws and needlelike teeth. But this particular dog is said to have perfected a method of turning the badger right side up and grabbing him by the base of the skull in a hold which, a news dispatch reports, "could end the bout in short order by severing the head from the body."
The fight has not been without defenders, among them Reno's Nevada State Journal: "It is a shame that Nevada residents who are unfamiliar with the state's mores would go to the extent of protesting badger fighting, which has been recognized as a time-honored diversion at numerous important functions since early days."
The fight itself goes like this: a dog is held tightly on a leash as a big barrel is brought in. A volunteer is told that inside the barrel, which has its lid on, is the vicious badger. A heavy cord hangs out of the barrel top. The volunteer's duty is to yank the top out of the barrel and he is warned earnestly to run away fast, holding the cord, lest the badger mistake him for the dog. He takes firm hold, yanks and runs. Out of the barrel clatters behind him an old fashioned thunder mug.
It fools them every year.
SVENGALI IN THE TANK
Back in the late '30s Melio Bettina achieved New York State recognition as light heavyweight champion of the world, and not a little of the credit went to his manager, Jimmy Grippo, who hypnotized Melio before each bout. Before the second Sonny Liston-Floyd Patterson bout a hypnotist offered himself to the Patterson camp but was rejected. (So Liston put Patterson to sleep.)
The use of hypnosis in sport crops up sporadically. Now it has reared its somnolent head in Hinsdale, Ill., home of the state high school swimming champions, whose coach, Jerry Farmer, has employed a hypnotist to improve the performance of some of his charges. Hypnotism can instill self-confidence, ward off fatigue and relax an athlete, Farmer believes. Here is what the American Medical Association's Committee on the Medical Aspects of Sports believes:
1) Hypnotism in sport "can result in serious psychiatric disturbances requiring treatment in a hospital."
2) It can cause "panic reactions, depressive states, or psychotic symptoms."
NOW QUIETLY, TOUCHÉ!
For centuries fencers have shouted as they lunged to make a touch. Originally, the idea seems to have been to call attention to a hit. Now, with electrical weapons (when you touch an opponent a light flashes), there is no need for screams, and Lon Hocker, venerable St. Louis fencer, has been organizing a muffling committee.
"Right," says J. R. de Capriles, editor of American Fencing. "It is a flight of fancy to think that there is anything tactical to be gained by shouting. It merely helps a contestant with his timing and releases nervous tension."
The logic is impeccable, but one question: Who is going to convince the fencers, a few of whom complain, then play with vociferous, open-mouthed joy?
PENNY A PITCH
Automation, which began in bowling with the introduction of the automatic pinsetting machine, is making still further inroads on the game. Now under test in Los Angeles is a coin-operated lane that requires a quarter to start the pinsetting machine. The quarter provides 10 minutes of bowling, just about the time it takes to roll a game.
"It's the coming thing," says John Calamia, owner of the machine, which he calls a Clock-O-Matic. "It will eliminate checking score sheets, thus allowing bowlers to take score sheets home. It also will eliminate bowlers taking the liberty of free frames and curtail altogether the so-called 'walkout' bowlers who roll a line or two, then skip out without paying."
Now for a coin-operated ball that rolls strikes every time.
THEY SAID IT
•Dick Stuart, Boston Red Sox first baseman, who has a good chance at both the home run and runs-batted-in championships this season: "I suppose if I do win them, they won't give me full credit. Probably they'll add an asterisk saying Mantle and Maris were hurt."
•Dave Gudelsky, Michigan boxing commissioner, opposing women wrestling: "Would you like to see your sister wrestling?"