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Original Issue


Apparently impressed by Charles de Gaulle's unflagging pace as he toured the Soviet Union for 12 days, a Tass reporter asked him for his thoughts on sports. De Gaulle drew himself up to exemplify the virtues of his long and serious walking, then drove hard for his point. "When the Order of Merit was created in France, among the first recipients were two athletes, Michel Jazy and Christine Goitschel. That's because in sports as in life one must learn to win!" And that's final.

The vacation setting was the stilly wilderness of northern Idaho, but with 14 kids and 17 other grown-ups along for company (including Everest Scaler Jim Whittaker and Earth Orbiter John Glenn) Bobby Kennedy's 100-mile drift down the Salmon River was a long way from regulation R&R. The children scraped rattlesnakes off the canyon walls, the Senator negotiated 42 miles of white water in a kayak and the general exuberance of all overflowed into such episodes as daughter Kathleen dumping Bobby abeam (below). Even Blanche Whittaker, eight months pregnant, was undismayed by the isolation of the backcountry "because John Glenn was along." Said she: "Astronauts can do anything, rise to any situation, meet any emergency. Delivering the baby would have been a cinch for John."

He was the only sheriff (one ventures to say) the U.S. ever had who rode a surfboard instead of a horse. But now, even though Duke Poao Kahanamoku unpinned his star some time back after 13 terms as sheriff of Honolulu County, he has wound up with at least half a horse. Which may well be enough for Hawaii's great Olympic swimmer (1912-1932) and surfer. A 50% interest in the horse, a high-flying hunter held in good repute in the eastern show circuit, was a gift to the duke from friends for his 76th birthday.

Elbows in and head down, Utah Basketball Coach Jack Gardner was at the top of his backswing in Salt Lake when a runaway golf ball plummeted from the sky and nicked him on the ear. Steady as she goes, Gardner brought the club head down in a perfect arc and with the well-hit shot went on to birdie the par-4 hole. Said the man who has coached Utah to seven conference championships: "I learned a long time ago to switch off the outside world—at the free-throw line."

At first base there's religion, he's stood the test of time.
At third base there is brotherhood, a stalwart of the nine.
Your left fielder is ambition, don't ever let him shirk.
Right fielder is a husky man, you'll find his name is work.

Whence the inspiration for these compelling lines of uplift? "Me, of course, in 1959," says James Timothy (Mudcat) Grant of the Minnesota Twins. Improbable as it may seem, someone else is claiming authorship. Mrs. Helen Wonser of Los Angeles has hit the pitcher with a $50,000 suit, charging him with plagiarism of a poem she wrote and entitled Life Is Just an Old Ball Game. Grant, who has recited a 54-line ode called The Game of Life in his off-season nightclub act, is threatening a $200,000 countersuit for defamation of character.

As a truck-sized fullback for the Minnesota Gophers and the Chicago Bears, Bronko Nagurski, they used to laugh, was the only man playing the game who ran his own interference. But that was a long time ago and Bronko, who got no bonus in the primitive days when he turned professional, is now pumping gasoline in a Pure Oil station in International Falls, Minn. "It's a living," says Bronko, whose contacts with the rest of the world are a little desultory. "I get calls from sports-writers occasionally," he says. "Especially when somebody dies."

Most baseball people have seen enough of one another by the end of the interminable season, but such antisocial behavior does not apply to John Roseboro of the Dodgers and Jim Piersall of the Angels, who have cooked up an eight-day postseason golf tour of the Hawaiian Islands for all "players, fans and booster club members." Helping the two zealots is a Los Angeles travel agency not yet fully in tune with baseball argot. A note from the agency, for example, speaks of a distance driving contest between a golfer using a club and a ballplayer using a "fungus" bat. The event will be unique, it is promised superfluously.

With a tongue hanging out like that (below), the man figured to be a Lyndon Johnson aide. But as it was, Presidential Press Secretary Bill Movers was off duty and was running himself ragged merely for the good name of Washington's White House Press Corps in a seven-inning softball game against the San Antonio Chamber of Commerce. Still, because he turned in such a sterling performance at shortstop ("He covered the ground like a West Texas sandstorm," said an opponent) and because he collected four hits and three runs ("He was as busy as a one-legged man in a kicking contest," said another) Moyers was named the corps' most valuable player, even as the journalists went down to an 8-6 defeat. Said one admiring teammate: "I just wish he talked as much in a press conference as he did out there on the field."