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People are seldom so grim as when they discuss the proper use of leisure time. A pleasant exception is the Duke of Edinburgh, who spoke on this spiky subject last week at the University of California at Los Angeles. His good humor and good sense saved him from sounding like that classic killjoy, the resort recreation director whose mission is to make sure that no one ever has a minute to himself. Said Prince Philip: "I must confess that I am interested in leisure in the same way that a poor man is interested in money. I can't get enough of it. Furthermore. I have no problem whatever in filling my leisure time, and I worry not at all whether what I do is good or wise or likely to improve my character or likely to help me become a "whole man.' " Pretty bold, that: the man thinks it is all right to enjoy one's self.

Having disarmed solemnity, the Prince went on to discuss the very real problems facing societies like those of the United States and Great Britain whose achievements in technology are creating an ever larger leisure, not alone for a privileged elite but eventually for almost everyone. Prince Philip is not alarmed by the prospect. Although he notes a remnant of the rigid Puritan ethic with its adage, "The Devil finds work for idle hands," he believes that human resourcefulness will go the Devil one better in finding ways to make creative—or at least nondestructive—use of time away from bread-and-butter jobs. Already, according to Prince Philip, signs are around that it is no longer the kinds of jobs we have that determine status. "Leisure occupations," he said, "cut across status at work or status in the community. A common interest in skiing, for instance, or sailing washes out all other differences." More and more, Prince Philip argues, people will measure their success or failure not by the importance of their jobs or the amount of money they earn but by the emotional fulfillments of their leisure time. A dull job—by this logic—is not slavery: it is a quid pro quo, bearable because the drudgery pays for the freedom to follow one's inclinations when the workday is over. The university, said the Prince, "needs to stimulate a social conscience about leisure in the same way that the social conscience of the 19th century had to be stirred about poverty."

When Prince Philip heard the news of the death of Abe Saperstein last week he sent a telegram of sympathy to Saperstein's widow. More than once the Prince had enriched his own leisure time viewing the expert antics of Saperstein's Harlem Globetrotters, and he counted their founder among his friends. If there was a touch of Napoleonic vanity in Saperstein's nature, it was effectively blended with more than a touch of P.T. Barnum acumen. Said the Globetrotters' Meadowlark Lemon: "He took basketball to remote places that would never have started the game if it hadn't been for him."


"Fans, that move by Elgin Baylor for his 40th point was one of the most incredible he has ever made," said Chick Hearn, broadcaster of the Los Angeles Lakers games, reporting from New York. "He came in from his right, went by the basket and came back overhead with a reverse spin shot off the boards."

Dr. Robert Kerlan, listening in at his Brentwood, Calif. home, may be excused if a wisp of a smile crossed his face. In a playoff game a year ago, Baylor had collapsed after throwing a soaring jump pass, his left kneecap literally torn apart. Dr. Kerlan, who has treated Sandy Koufax and Tommy Davis of the Dodgers, Golfer Tony Lema, Bowler Don Carter and Jockeys Walter Blum and Johnny Longden, had not been sanguine about Baylor, but here he was scoring 46 points against the Knicks.

"Few men had Elgin's electrifying excitement back about three or four years ago," Dr. Kerlan said. "After surgery, the best we could anticipate would be for Elg to be able to hold down a place on an NBA club. To expect him to become a superplayer again—that would have been overly optimistic. But Elgin convinced me in a game last month that he was back. That night in New York convinced everybody else. I'm amazed at the man."

We find Dr. Kerlan equally amazing—not merely for his medical skill but for a cheerful concealment of the pain caused by his own severe arthritis—and we wish him continued good listening.

In Fort Smith, Ark. members of the ninth grade English class at Van Buren High School were asked to write letters to celebrities as a class project. Replies came from such eminent men and women as Dwight D. Eisenhower, J. Edgar Hoover, Hubert Humphrey, Archbishop Makarios, Barry Goldwater, Princess Grace of Monaco and Luci Johnson. "Perhaps the most famous signature," said the Fort Smith Southwest American report of the project, "came from Coach Frank Broyles of the University of Arkansas."


Progress boils on in Houston. They have just laid a $500,000 carpet of artificial infield grass in the Astrodome. This Astroturf, as it is called, consists of a half-inch rubber mat sprouting quarter-inch green tufts. It has "the resilience of a hairbrush" and can be patched in worn places as easily as a rip in a bush leaguer's uniform.

To complement their synthetic grass (and conditioned air), the Astros will have a portable pitching mound. This will make it easy to convert the field for other events by simply tossing the mound to one side and rolling up the grass.

"Everything about the Astrodome is unparalleled and trailblazing," says Judge Roy Hofheinz, the owner. "We feel the addition of this new playing surface, a product of chemistry, should launch a new and wondrous era in recreational system-engineering."

For months New Zealand fishermen have argued the question of whether largo-mouth bass should be imported from the U.S. and planted in the islands' trout-teeming waters as an alternative game fish—at the possible risk of harming the trout. The antibass boys, contending that the trout food supply might be severely depleted by heavy-feeding bass, seemed to be in the majority. But now it appears that an anonymous (fortunately for him) American may have resolved the question. "Some unnamed American serviceman stationed in Christchurch with the Deep Freeze Antarctica operation," charges The Press of Christchurch, "brought in by Globe-master, privately and illegally, bass ova and fry which are even now living in lakes and rivers in both the South Island and the North Island." The American, the paper contended, had decided to prove what a magnificent sport fish the bass is by letting New Zealanders see for themselves. William Scott, New Zealand's Minister of Marine, has ordered an inquiry.


Britain's climate is notoriously unsatisfactory for outdoor courting; no sooner have proceedings reached an agreeable point than a beastly shower or a dank mist sends the couple scurrying inside.

Thanks to the ingenuity and broad-mindedness of Mr. Francis Cheetham, curator of Norwich Castle Museum, the youngsters of Norfolk County, at least, are now able to clinch in surroundings barely distinguishable from the great outdoors and without risk of inclement weather. Those who pay sixpence for admission are permitted to flirt freely in the semidarkness of the museum's Bird Room, right next to some lifelike stuffed rough-legged buzzard or bar-tailed god-wit. Only the absence of trees and actual birdsong makes it any different from some bosky dell in Norfolk's countryside.

"It is one of our jobs to provide a public service," says Mr. Cheetham. "Courting couples are some of our best behaved visitors. They have no time for vandalism." Moreover, says the curator, the practice expands interest in East Anglian birds.


If we could have our way, the winner of the Dick Tiger-Emile Griffith fight for the middleweight title on April 25 would be matched immediately with Luis Rodriguez, the former welterweight champion—especially if the winner is Dick Tiger, since Rodriguez and Griffith have already met three times. A Cuban expatriate of large energies and cheerful disposition, Luis is one of our favorite athletes—a fighter who fights. Luis lights with equal facility as a middleweight or welterweight. He is undefeated in his last 15 bouts—or since he met Griffith the last time—and 12 of these victories were over middleweights. A fortnight ago in Philadelphia Luis scored a 9th-round TKO over George Benton, a strong middleweight. It was a flashy victory; Benton is always at his best in a home fight and had not been beaten in Philadelphia since a six-rounder in 1950.

Luis is a man very hard to lose in a crowd, for he has deep horizontal furrows in his brow that make him look like a piece of Mayan sculpture. Below the brow are a confident eye and a heroic nose. "Cassius Clay is the greatest," Luis says, "but I am the best."


More remarkable than the percentage of the 945 students at Dallas Baptist College who are excellent basketball players is the number of those players who have three or more parents. This unusual ratio was discovered by coach Dennis Walling when his team won 23 games, went to the national junior college tournament and attracted much attention from senior-college recruiters.

The whole problem is that Dallas Baptist is becoming a four-year college next year, and Walling wants to keep some of his players. Alas, even after a polite message to recruiters whom he has been helping for years, Walling had to tell his players not to talk with anyone except close relatives.

That slowed the swarming coaches not at all. "After games," Walling moaned, "they rushed on the court and claimed they were mothers and fathers. Why, it wasn't even safe to leave players on the bench during a game. You looked around and saw strangers sitting on the bench talking to the players."

Educators who deplore the narrowing effect of specialization in the schools may well see Jimmy Horn of Snook, Texas as a sort of Renaissance man. He is the basketball coach of the high school there and also teaches American history, chemistry and general science. The population of the town is 145, and the school's male enrollment 30. Horn's team has won the Class B state basketball championship two years in a row with 78 straight wins. "During basketball," Horn says modestly, "they hire a man to take my place driving the school bus." He adds, "They treat me good here," indicating that he has not yet been co-opted to teach English.

Our familiar enemy, the television commercial time-out that interrupts the flow of a sports event, reared up again last week in the last minutes of a Knicks-76ers basketball game. The teams were only a point apart in a match crucial to Philadelphia in its drive toward the Eastern title when the officials, at a signal relayed from the TV director, stopped the game. The time-out was called with the Knicks in possession, and the 76ers went on to win, so there was no bloodshed. But as usual in such circumstances, the spectators were let down and the outcome of the game itself jeopardized by this senseless interference.



•Stan Hack, ex-manager of the Chicago Cubs, now manager of their Dallas-Fort Worth farm club, describing his home town, Grand de Tour, Ill., "It's so small we don't even have a town drunk; everyone has to take a turn."

•Ernie Ladd, 6 foot 9, 300-pound tackle for the San Diego Chargers and off-season professional wrestler, asked his favorite hold: "I don't have a name for it. I just grab them and keep the pressure on until they stop wiggling."

•Cazzie Russell on why he chose to go to Michigan to play basketball: "I used to watch Michigan play on TV, and they were so terrible I knew they really needed help."