Specialists in the Interior Department, meeting with representatives of sport and commercial fishermen, addressed themselves to the urgent problem of long-line ocean fishing (SI, Jan. 31) at an all-day conference last week, and emerged burning for action. The trouble is, action takes money, and since the Administration is slashing departmental budgets these days, both to redeem Great Society promises and Vietnam commitments, that money is scarce.
First of all. Interior wants to make a definitive study showing precisely how many of the tuna and billfish now being hauled in indiscriminately by the long-liners can be harvested without endangering the supply. American commercial and sport fishermen are united in their desire for the study, but estimates of its cost range as high as a million dollars. Interior is likely to have a rough time getting the money. "It's an emergency," a department spokesman said, "but then most of our conservation projects are."
Many Congressmen have become concerned (Senator Brewster of Maryland entered the SPORTS ILLUSTRATED article in the Congressional Record). More should be concerned—and will be if readers write them urging action.
THE TWIRLERS' REVOLT
Frontline dispatches from the University of Maryland indicate that it will be a long war between the marching band and the seven-girl majorette corps. The girls were told by Band Director Acton Ostling Jr. that they will be dropped from performances at football games next fall. He wants a band marching with military precision and feels that the twirling of batons by majorettes would be at odds with the new image. Linda Davis, majorette corps captain, charges that the band wants to get rid of them simply because they are girls. Ostling, according to Miss Davis, keeps girl musicians out of the band and has it in mind eventually to do away with—by nonviolent means, of course—the girl color guards. The majorettes have considerable support on the campus—both from other girls and from boys, who like looking at girls at football games or anywhere else. Student leaders have hinted that help from the student government funds may be withheld for band activities unless the girls are included. Ostling thinks that baton twirlers are a distraction from the manly business of football. He has, however, agreed to allow two twirlers at basketball games—but only if they wear long pants.
PUTTING PRESSURE ON THE FOULER
April unfailingly brings intimations of spring, the anticipation of baseball and suggestions for changing basketball's personal foul rule. This year is no exception. Kermit Anderson, assistant executive secretary of the Minnesota State High School League, comes forward to propose that the player who commits the foul must take the foul shot. If the fouling player sinks the shot, the opposing team gets one point; if he misses, they get two. Sink or miss, his team then gets the ball out of bounds.
"This shifts the pressure to where it belongs," says Anderson of his wonderfully simple idea. "Under the current rules it is the innocent man who has been fouled who is on the spot. This new plan puts the pressure on the player who committed the foul and would certainly cut down indiscriminate fouling."
It might at that. Now all someone has to do is figure out how to work all these points-in-reverse into the box score.
TURNABOUT AT NORFOLK STATE
Norfolk State, a predominantly Negro four-year college in Virginia, is launching a campaign to recruit white athletes for its football team. "We are going to fight fire with fire," says Coach Bill Archie. "We can't get the top-rated Negro athletes in the area, because the white colleges outbid us, especially for the good students. We have lost five or six promising Negro athletes, and therefore we are going after the good white boy who has promise as an athlete and as a student."
Norfolk State has several white students among its total college enrollment of 2,567. and a number of white teachers on its faculty, but its athletic teams have never before been integrated. "We are a sleeping giant in a metropolitan area," says Coach Archie, "and we have much to offer outstanding athletes, white or colored."
BIG THINK IN ATLANTA
When season tickets for the Atlanta Falcons went on sale, the management had to face the standard beef of football fans. All the first-day buyers—16,000 of them—expected seats on the 50-yard line and were not to be placated with blarney about mathematical impossibilities. For a while the Falcons toyed with the idea of trying to enlarge the number of 50-yard-line seats by making two fields instead of one. The stadium in Atlanta is circular—and the idea was to have one field running east and west, the other north and south. The fields would be switched every quarter, or at least at half time, with the spectators keeping their seats. For part of each game, the reasoning went, more people would be in the desirable locations. But nobody could figure a way to make it work. Rankin Smith. Falcons' owner, explained: "Having to hold up the game at the hall to mark a new field would just take up too much time." If the fields were marked before the game, Smith said, it would mix up the players, who might find themselves making a dogleg and scoring in the wrong end zone. It was a grand idea while it lasted, though.
THE BLISS BUSTERS
Golf instruction has progressed mightily since the days when a devotee could improve his game only by studying a book or taking lessons from a grumpy old Scot in knickers. Consider two new teaching devices. One is a portable video tape recorder, called the VR-7000, which will film a golfer's swing and play it back instantly. The other is golf's first correspondence course, offered by the Famous Golfers School of Marietta, Ohio. The cost of tuition ($499) at the Ohio institution includes an 8-mm. movie camera with zoom lens and a slow-motion projector. The student learns to hit a variety of shots by having himself filmed in action and then sending the reels off to Marietta, where the) are examined by members of the school's faculty, pro golfers with teaching experience. The films are returned with a detailed critique plus a reel of some top tournament players demonstrating how the shot should be hit.
There is a danger, however, that these devices contain the seeds of their own destruction. The duffer lives in bliss who has never seen himself in action. He stays with the baffling game only because he thinks his form is probably just line and lower scores will come with more frequent play. Allow the average amateur one good look and all his illusions could be shattered in a single screening.
FRENCH A LA MODE DE GREEN BAY
If some Milwaukee high school students speak their French wit ha Canadian accent and a notable emphasis on sporting imagery, the Green Bay Packers can claim the credit. In French-speaking Quebec. National Football League games are all the rage, and for the past five years Radio Canada's Channel 2 in Montreal has been carrying play-by-play and color commentary from south of the border. Some years ago Announcer Jean Seguin was approached just before a Green Bay-New York game in Milwaukee by a high school teacher carrying tapes and a tape recorder. He explained that he was having difficulty communicating with students enrolled in his French classes and thought by taping Radio Canada's French-language broadcast and then replaying it in class he could get through to his sports-minded scholars.
Seguin and the broadcasting team said fine. The teacher subsequently came back for more. The results had been wonderful, he said, but his students had memorized all the plays and he needed fresh material.
It is a pleasure to know that sports can be an effective teaching device, but what permanent use Milwaukee highschoolers are going to be able to make of such phrases as le ballon est échappé (fumble), hors bloquer (off tackle) and le quart arri√®re est harcelé (red-dogging) remains to be seen.
A golden eagle was widowed not long ago by someone who shot her mate. The gunman may not have known—or cared—that there are not many golden eagles left. Her nest, with two eggs in it, is in a cottonwood snag high on a precipice in the mountains near Carson City, Nev. The widow is trying to hatch the eggs, but it's doubtful she will ever see her eaglets. The nest is located just above a favorite swimming hole for nearby teenagers, and the surrounding area makes a pleasant ground for picnickers. Various people in the Carson City area are concerned about the eagle's predicament. Some local boy scouts have set up a guard along the dirt road leading to a spot where the nest can be seen. They ask people not to go too near, lest Pauline be scared off from any attempt to hatch her eggs. They call her Pauline because of the perils she has been through and those that may lie ahead. She has to leave the nest to look for food, and sometimes she leaves simply because, like all her breed, she's shy of human beings. For some reason or other.
A ROOKIE WRITES
It may not have the drama of the Koufax-Drysdale approach, but Don Porter's way of discussing money has a stateliness that would do credit to John Maynard Keynes. Porter is a first baseman and outfielder from Mississippi State who was offered a contract in the Houston Astros' farm system. He wrote to Pat Gillick of the Astro front office, saying in part: "What salary do I desire for the 1966 season? Pat, I feel I would be unduly presumptuous to answer that question ad hoc.... Presumably, you are primarily guided by an overall budget, the law of diminishing returns and an individual assessment of worth in each case.... Realistically. I'm guided by those same principles.... I must weigh the question of my worth and decide where the principle of diminishing returns asserts itself in relation to my efforts and their rewards. Using this guideline, I conclude what I have in mind is considerably more than your initial contract suggested."
Sad to report, the Astros said nope, and now Porter is an unemployed Keynesian first baseman.
The national forest rangers have found a new way to thwart the compulsive pests who draw their own black hearts in red paint on rocks in the wilderness. In the Greenhorn District of Sequoia National Park the rangers are using a liquid plant food that stimulates the growth of lichen and moss on rocks. In no time at all it covers over with a permanent growth all the rude words and intertwined initials. The plant-food method is cheaper than sandblasting or painting over in colors to match the rock. The vandals may have been there—but the moss will hide their mischief.
THE SIX-SHILLING SCHUSS
The most exclusive ski club in the world is now preparing for its new season. Nearly five years old, it has so far admitted a total of only 90 members—some American, some New Zealanders, and none of them women. No woman is permitted within 600 miles of the area (because of "inadequate facilities"), and that sanction is enforced by the U.S. Navy. The sole fee is 84¢ or six New Zealand shillings for a life membership, and this is assessed mainly to defray cost of the club badge—a penguin wearing a red scarf, with the legend, "Scott Base Ski Club, Antarctica."
Besides being cheap and uncrowded, the ski area has other advantages. The rope tow, powered by a gun-carrier, is fast, snow is plentiful and dry and the nearest obstacle is 20 miles away.
THEY SAID IT
•Luther Lassiter, world pocket billiards champion, who claims he has never worked since he carried groceries for 8‚Öì¢ an hour when he was 15: "I like to ride bicycles, walk in the woods, just walk around, sit on the curb. Like the old Greeks, I want to contemplate life. Let the women do the work."