THE EASY WAY
After its narrow victory over Oklahoma State last Saturday, Nebraska's football team announced it had accepted an invitation to play in the Orange Bowl on New Year's Day. The hasty decision was apparently made by "the kids," as coaches like to refer to their troops. The kids preferred the Orange Bowl and Miami to the Cotton Bowl and Dallas, and it's hard to blame them if it's a holiday they're after. But it must be remembered that if Notre Dame beats Michigan State then Arkansas and Nebraska, barring an upset, will rank first and second in the country. If the Nebraskans are still chasing the No. 1 position that their coach, Bob Devaney, thinks they deserve, why aren't they going to Dallas, where they could meet Arkansas on New Year's Day and do something positive to prove their right to that lofty rank?
$25 GOLF BALLS
Goodness gracious, what they are doing to golf! The Professional Golfers' Association announced recently that any golfer who so much as dares to throw a ball to the gallery after winning a tournament will be fined $25 for such an outward and tawdry display of jubilation. The PGA suggests that people will be injured scrambling for the ball, although no recent casualty lists have been presented. One of our golf writers, however, rather likes the ruling. "It's the first positive decision the PGA has made in years," he says.
TROUBLE IN SUMTER
The way things have been going for the New York Yankees lately they would end up in the wrong half of their class in a television toothpaste test. Last week Del Webb, who sold his share of the Yankees to CBS last year, brought up a point that is not going to make Yankee fans very happy, the club seems to be in trouble with Bobby Richardson, the best second baseman in baseball. Webb said he doubted that Richardson would be back for the 1966 season. Bobby has hinted that he might stay home in Sumter, South Carolina either to study for the ministry or go into youth work for the YMCA. His desire to quit is not a ploy to gain a raise in pay. "We offered him $60,000 to play last season," said Webb, "and there's something funny about that. Bobby said he wasn't worth that much. Maybe $40,000 or $45,000. He said he didn't want to appear to be dictating terms, but maybe we could give the $15,000 or $20,000 to some worthy cause and keep him in mind for a scouting job or something later on." Webb did not say whether the Yankees complied. Del may find "something funny" in Richardson's attitude but, if Bobby does indeed retire, we doubt that the Yankees will.
MY MOTHER, THE COACH
A Dallas high school coach had, he was sure, a great idea: the players' parents could sit with them on the bench for the big homecoming game. "You can have either your mother or your father sit next to you with your number on a card on their backs," he told them. "How would you like that?"
A voice from the rear of the locker room said: "We got too many coaches on the field right now. We sure don't want 40 of 'em down there."
If one is willing to throw out some of those grand old "heavyweight championship" fights of the past—such as those pitting Floyd Patterson against Pete Rademacher, Roy Harris, Brian London and Tom McNeeley—history leans heavily toward the underdog in title fights when the participants are meeting for the first time. Patterson himself, for example, beat Archie Moore as a 6-to-5 underdog; Ingemar Johannson won over Patterson at 4 to 1; and Cassius Clay defeated Liston with a price of 7 to 1 against him.
Last week Jimmie (The Greek) Snyder, dean of the Las Vegas oddsmakers, issued a bouquet of odds on the Patterson-Clay fight (page 34). At fight time Snyder believes that Floyd will be a 3½-to-1 underdog. He further suggests odds of 5 to 1 against Patterson winning on a knockout and even money that the fight does not go eight rounds. Here are Snyder's proposed knockout odds on either fighter round by round: 1) 20 to 1, 2) 15 to 1, 3) 12 to 1, 4) 10 to 1, 5) 8 to 1, 6) 6 to 1, 7) 4 to 1, 8) 3 to 1, 9) 15 to 1, 10) 15 to 1, 11) 15 to 1, 12) 25 to 1, 13) 25 to 1, 14) 35 to 1 and 15) 50 to 1. Just in case you are wondering about that tempting 50-to-1 price in the 15th, the last time it happened was way back in 1931 when Max Schmeling stopped Young Stribling.
IT'S A RAID!
Sears, Roebuck is advertising a combination pool table and sofa in its Christmas catalog. When a game is over, the bed of the pool table flips over and down and becomes the vertical back of an "elegant Danish Style Sofa." Just like in one of those old George Raft movies on the late show. Out this way, Blackie, quick!
THE NECESSARY PREDATOR
Several years ago, in an admirable effort to preserve its magnificent wildlife and, more than incidentally, to foster a tourist business based on it, Kenya set aside the huge Tsavo National Park as a wildlife preserve. Hunting was prohibited, and poachers—who were killing an estimated 1,000 elephants a year—were effectively suppressed. Unhappily, this policy has resulted in an uncontrolled increase in the elephant population, with the result that the Tsavo, a pleasant region of doum palms and baobabs along the rivers and of dry nyika scrub forest elsewhere, is in danger of turning into near desert. In brief, the elephants, which rip small plants and grasses out by the roots, are eating themselves out of board and baobab.
A. P. Achieng, Secretary to the Kenya Ministry of Natural Resources and Wildlife, blames the excessive pachyderm population on misguided overprotection, adding that it is an understandable, though erroneous, response to slaughter elsewhere. "There is a sort of park mystique," Mr. Achieng told the East African Standard, "in which we try to place nature under a protective spell, a sort of white man's expiatory juju magic, to compensate for all the sins we have committed against nature in the past."
Mr. Achieng recommends periodic cropping of the elephant population through controlled hunting. It seems harsh, but such programs have proved successful in neighboring Uganda and Tanzania. And once again it demonstrates that where man is the only effective predator against a species, it upsets the balance of nature to remove him totally from that role.
For several months now the American Contract Bridge League has been offering S&H Green Stamps to its tournament winners. The stamps are redeemaable directly for ACBL merchandise (trophies, cards, duplicate boards, books, records, etc.), or they may be lumped with stamps picked up in the local supermarket and applied toward merchandise in the S&H catalog. Members are generally pleased, but one views with misgivings the possibility that the plan might spread, say, to tournament golf. Under the ACBL system Gary Player would have been the recipient of 18 million green stamps, or 15,000 books of green stamps, for his win in the World Series of Golf. Jack Nicklaus would have earned, to date, 53,280,000 stamps, or everything in the catalog from teacups to trips to Bermuda almost four times over. There may be something to be said after all for what one bridge writer has referred to as "the good old cash."
The empty-saddled bronc bucked wildly through the ring as the bugler played taps. All eyes were focused on the unusual sight, and the audience of 5,000 sat silent.
The scene was the Farm Show Arena in Harrisburg, Pa., where a rodeo was being held. The Rodeo Cowboys Association was mourning—rodeo style—the death of one of the greatest rodeo performers of all time, Bill Linderman, who was killed in the plane crash in Utah.
The usual sports-luncheon diet of overcooked chicken and half-baked clichés was off the menu when Tulsa Football Coach Glenn Dobbs addressed the Kansas City Byline Club the other noon. "Good sportsmanship," Dobbs started, "is one of the most overrated things around. If you spend a lot of time on sportsmanship, you're going to spend a lot of time losing.
"I don't try to fool anyone by saying we're playing our games one at a time, either," Dobbs added. "We're trying to win 10 games so we can get into a bowl."
Dobbs shot down speed and agility in the line, too. "I'm satisfied to use big interior linemen even if they are slow," he admitted cheerfully, "because it's hard to run through them. If a team can run up the middle on you, the coach has to think about traps and all that other stuff, and I don't like to stay up late at night worrying about such things."
Dobbs's last sally had the Byliners choking on their dessert. "Defense," said the Tulsa heretic, disdaining football's standard gambit of singling out the hardnoses as Saturday's real heroes, "is something you play while the offensive players rest."
At long last someone has laid the blame for the soring—or deliberate mutilation—of Tennessee Walking Horses where it partially belongs, on the judges. In a recent issue of Horse Show, the official publication of the American Horse Shows Association, H. Karl Yenser, chairman of the Walking Horse committee, spoke his mind in an open letter to the judges. "[Exhibitors] are getting tired of being the recipients of criticism which is constantly being leveled at them. In their opinion we, the judges, are doing more to perpetuate the 'sore horse' problem than anyone—and I agree! Far too few judges are judging in conformity to the rules. Overweight boots are overlooked. Raw or bleeding sores are condoned.... The card you hold as a Walking Horse judge ... requires that you judge in accordance with the rules. If you won't abide by the rules—then turn in your card.... We don't need you and we don't want you."
We agree with Mr. Yenser. We hope he can convince the sore-horse crowd to change its practices. An even stronger deterrent is the current AHSA campaign of using veterinarians to inspect horses in the ring during a show. Vets at the Pennsylvania National in Harrisburg and the American Royal in Kansas City netted several offenders who are up for hearings in December.
Remember that Seattle fellow, Ted Griffin, with the obsession about killer whales? Remember that killer whale, Namu, with the fixation on people? Well, they're still getting along fine, but Griffin is a little worried: he thinks it's time for Namu to meet some nice whale girl.
Recently, matchmaker Griffin has been chasing killer whales all up and down the north Pacific coast, looking for the right girl. Helicopters, tranquilizer harpoons, fishing boats, double seine nets and all, Griffin's best attempts have been frustrated. One whale died apparently from an overdose (it's very hard to prescribe the proper dose of tranquilizer for a whale), several got away in fog (still, presumably, wearing orange-buoyed harpoons as stickpins), and one turned hysterical and thrashed herself to death in her pen. Finally, Griffin settled for a 2-year-old child bride. In front of hundreds of welcoming spectators and a dozen photographers, Namu took one look at his prospective mate, sniffed, and headed back toward shore and his human friends.
THEY SAID IT
•Blanton Collier, coach of the Cleveland Browns, commenting on an opinion that Jim Brown is a poor blocker: "Man o' War was a fabulous racehorse. Undoubtedly he could have pulled a plow, too, but his greater talent was running."
•Gene Tunney, on the decline of the manly art of boxing and the increase of hoodlums wielding knives: "A fellow with a knife is a namby-pamby, anyway. A man will get up and use his fists."
•Gail Goodrich, the little giant of the Los Angeles Lakers' backcourt, when asked if he could see around Wilt Chamberlain of the Philadelphia 76ers: "Man, I couldn't see past his knee pads."