TROUBLE IN THE SNOW
Divided in the political field since the war, Germany has shown precarious East-West unity in Olympic athletics. It formed united teams for competition at Tokyo and Rome, and they worked out reasonably well. But lately international athletic federations have been recognizing East Germany as a separate country. In cycling, skating and track the Germans now field two "national" teams. When the International Olympic Committee met in Lausanne last week, there was on the agenda a formal request from 24 of the 26 international sports federations (basketball and track were absent) for the IOC to recognize East Germany as an Olympic nation.
It was a development that threatened to cost the French city of Grenoble the 1968 Winter Olympics. France is bound by a NATO regulation not to issue visas to "representatives of East Germany." If the French respect the rule they will forfeit their right to be hosts at Grenoble. The IOC position, says Avery Brundage, its American president, is that "no city will be assured an Olympic event where all athletes recognized by the IOC are not able to participate."
Three winter resorts in Canada, Japan and Finland (Banff, Sapporo and Lahti) telephoned the IOC in Lausanne to say that they were ready to replace Grenoble. But the cost of travel to such areas, even Lahti, is considered too much for the European Alpine competitors, who must go to Portillo, Chile in 1966 for the FIS world championships as well.
If the IOC disqualifies Grenoble, Davos in Switzerland, a country that does not belong to NATO, is considered the strongest candidate.
DAVIES SERVES AN ACE
The difference between a professional and an amateur tennis player, as is well known, is whether his money is paid him above or below the table. Few in the sport have been willing to say so publicly. But last week Mike Davies, former British Davis Cupper, now a pro in Jack Kramer's California tennis school and also on the French Riviera, was called upon for a few words at a Boston luncheon to boost the U.S. Professional Grass Court Championship to be played at the Longwood Cricket Club, July 15-18. He followed Earl Buchholz, who had bemoaned the paucity of "new blood" in professional ranks and had observed that the last prominent amateur to turn pro was Rod Laver in 1963.
"The reason amateurs are not turning pro," Davies said, "is that they are making good money—very good money—as amateurs. There is little rule enforcement in amateur ranks. Many of the top players are listed as 'public relations experts' for cigarette companies. The foundation of amateur tennis is based on the quicksand of illicit operation."
BOOKKEEPERS VS. OUTDOORSMEN
Citing "savings" that could be accomplished, the Bureau of the Budget has marked for reduction or disposal 11 waterfowl refuges in 12 states. Senator Lee Metcalf, Montana Democrat and member of the Migratory Bird Conservation Commission, stood up in his duck blind recently and knocked a few of the bureau's misconceptions out of the hot air. The "bookkeepers" in the bureau, he said, "would have Congress break faith with our duck hunters and others sincerely interested in the National Wildlife Refuge System."
The bureau had held that its program would save $210,000 and eliminate 11 jobs. In questioning the claim Metcalf pointed to the Piedmont Refuge in Georgia, where Budget Bureau officials claim abandonment would mean a "saving" of $44,000 and three jobs.
"Even if we discount wildlife and other values and deal only with dollars and cents," Metcalf said, "this is some 'saving' when you consider that in 1964 sale of timber alone from the refuge brought in $124,000—or almost three times the amount we will 'save' next fiscal year by eliminating the refuge." He said timber on the refuge is valued above $5 million and annual growth at some $300,000 and is increasing; wildlife populations have "skyrocketed"; the number of visitors has more than quadrupled in the past five years; and the income from the refuge in lieu of taxes to the counties in which the refuge is situated has more than tripled in the past three years.
Metcalf then introduced a bill providing that land must get out of the refuge system the way it gets in—by approval of the Migratory Bird Conservation Commission, not by "bookkeepers unqualified to make policy decisions."
DIET FOR AN UNTIDY LAWN
A few years ago Euell Gibbons brought out a book called Stalking the Wild Asparagus, relating his adventures in eating wild plants. Apparently he missed a few. Jaro A. Konecny of Strong, Maine, acting executive secretary of the Applied Naturalist Guild, reports in his latest newsletter that milkweed buds are just great in pancakes and that tender shoots of birch enhance the flavor of a beef stew or soup. The inner bark of birch or white pine can be dried and ground into flour, he says, and reindeer moss can be made into something that resembles shredded wheat.
The thing that fascinates us most, though, is that Konecny is looking forward to the crabgrass season. He says it is delicious.
Though Peter Snell is entered in this Saturday's Penn Relays in Philadelphia, the world mile and half-mile records will be in no danger. This Peter Snell is no New Zealander but a plebe at the U.S. Naval Academy, and his running, if he does compete, will be confined to a quarter-mile leg in the freshman mile relay.
Snell took up running as a high school freshman in Melbourne (Florida, not Australia) shortly after his famous namesake won the 1960 Olympic 800 meters. A specialist in the sprints and 440, he never has run a mile in competition. And his best half-mile was 2:01.9, almost 17 seconds slower than the New Zealander's world record.
The two Snells have corresponded and discovered that both their ancestors came from the same town in England in the early 17th century.
"I think he's terrific," says Plebe Snell of the other Snell. "In fact, he's my favorite athlete, along with Roger Staubach, of course."
After 40 years of reporting schoolboy sports for the Philadelphia Bulletin, Jack Ryan will retire next month with the heartwarming distinction of never having reported a boy's error, fumble or other mishap, no matter how costly or important to a game. To sports editors who in the beginning argued that this was scarcely adequate journalism, Ryan argued back fiercely—and in time successfully—that his concern was for the heartbroken boy who lost the game.
"None of us can look at these kids from the sidelines and size up their emotional makeup," Ryan has explained. "When they get older they'll be able to bring their mistakes into perspective, but at high school age recording that mistake in a newspaper can lead to all sorts of damage."
Last month Ryan became the first newspaperman ever to win the John B. Kelly Award (Connie Mack is one of his illustrious predecessors). On May 3 he will be given a dinner, and many of those there to pay tribute to him will be former boys he used to write about.
HAPPY HUNTING GROUND
Quite possibly the biggest bargain the outdoorsman can hope to find is in West Virginia, whose Department of Natural Resources and Department of Agriculture put out a directory of farms where food and lodging is available to hunters and fishermen at wonderfully low rates.
Take Doddridge County, for instance. Plenty of deer, squirrel, grouse, rabbits and coons. Good fishing for bass, muskies, bluegills, catfish, crappies. Ancel Smith of West Union will put you up for $3 a day including meals, $2 without meals. The same rates prevail at C. L. Hartman's place near Fort Seybert, Pendleton County, where trout, walleyes, bear and turkey are added attractions.
The brochure, entitled Food and Lodging for Sportsmen on West Virginia Farms, lists 76 other lodging farms around the state and may be obtained from the Public Relations Division, West Virginia Department of Natural Resources, Charleston, W. Va. 25305.
POETRY IN THE CORRAL
Spring-cleaning a cluttered office, one of our writers browsed idly through a months-old issue of Horse World, a magazine dedicated to show horses. Her eye was caught by an advertisement offering the stud services of Carbon Copy, the champion walking horse for which GLL Farms of Collierville, Tenn. paid $125,000. We herewith reprint, without charge to GLL Farms, a section of the ad that was in verse:
Coal black and shiny, he has managed to enthrall
Audiences everywhere—they love him best of all
Retired from competition to benefit the breed
Bred to sire the very best—a Champion indeed
Overstocked with winners, his pedigree can't miss
Never has a Walking Horse had bloodlines fine as this
Costing us terrifically to buy this Show Ring Great
One hundred and a quarter grand it took to pay the freight
Perhaps you'd like to visit us when romance fills the air
You can set up an appointment—and be sure to bring your mare.
You will note that the initial letters form an acrostic, spelling out the name of the horse—CARBON COPY. This sort of verse used to be called doggerel. How about horserel, just this once?
CALL FOR ACTION
The ruination of American health, according to Dr. Jean Mayer, associate professor of nutrition at Harvard, is to be found in devices that make walking and other forms of labor unnecessary. At the 49th annual meeting of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology, he urged the abolition of "those damn [golf] carts" and of school buses for third graders or older students who live within two miles of school. He would also lower the status of such sports as football and basketball, since only heavier and taller boys can hope to make the teams, and substitute carry-over sports like tennis, swimming and "brisk" golf.
Obesity, he reported, is not always a question of eating too much but more often of doing too little. In a study of 28 overweight teen-age girls, matched against 28 lean girls, Dr. Mayer found that the obese girls actually ate less than the skinny ones. The latter were just far more physically active. Playing tennis, the fat girls moved about only when it was necessary, as in hitting the ball, while the lean ones were active virtually all the time.
One other thing. Dr. Mayer reported that girls with long, tapering fingers almost never become fat.
RIGHT HAND, MEET LEFT HAND
Specialization is common enough in pro football, but Elroy Hirsch of the Los Angeles Rams has a specialty that may be unique. His exclusive front-office job (other than speechmaking and similar public-relations chores) is signing veterans to their contracts. Another department handles the acquisition and signing of new players.
One can only guess at the principal reason for the split in negotiators, but it might be that Hirsch can "honestly" tell a veteran that he does not know what kind of bonus or salary a rookie is getting, and the men who approach the rookies can "honestly" say they are ignorant of what the veterans are getting—"that's Hirsch's department."
THEY SAID IT
•Joe Pepitone, Yankee first baseman, on "firsts" in Houston's domed stadium: "I got the first error there by an Italian."
•Brigitte Bardot, after making a movie in Mexico City, advising Olympic athletes who will compete there in 1968: "Get there early. Rest a few days. Train carefully, and cut down on your romance until used to the altitude."
•Willie Mays, on why he has watched only one baseball game in his life, when he was 15: "It makes me nervous, seeing too many things go wrong."