A CALL FOR HELP
Not for the first time in history, Britain has decided to "go it alone," this time in the field of tennis. The momentous decision to remove the words "amateur" and "professional" from British rules was taken last week by the council of the Lawn Tennis Association. Out of 67 votes cast, 61 were in favor of restoring honesty to the game. Starting in January, all British tournaments, from the Wimbledon championships down, will be open to all who care or dare to enter. "Shamateur" under-the-counter expenses will cease. Agreed amounts will be paid openly. Cash prizes will become commonplace.
But Britain stands in all but utter isolation. Not one of the other 83 member countries of the International Lawn Tennis Federation has offered assurance of support, other than moral. There were cheers from South Africa, Sweden and Australia's John Newcombe, Wimbledon champion, who said that "at the moment" he favored playing at Wimbledon next year. But Newcombe is reported considering an offer to turn professional, anyway.
On the other side, Giorgio de Stefani, president of the ILTF, made it clear that any overseas amateur competing in British tournaments will face almost certain suspension in 83 countries. And the 84th country, Britain, must herself be suspended at the ILTF meeting in July, unless last year's overwhelming vote against open tennis changes to one of endorsement.
So Britain desperately needs allies. Even glorious Wimbledon could not survive more than two or three years with entries that are composed almost entirely of second-and third-rate home players plus a handful of top-line professionals like Rod Laver and Ken Rosewall. For such help, it is to the U.S. that British eyes now are turned. Since formation of the ILTF in 1913 Britain and America have exercised a profound and benevolent influence on the other, less-experienced and less-sophisticated tennis-playing nations.
Now shamateurism, to which they submitted for far too long, is undermining their authority, and Britain is bravely bidding to re-establish moral leadership.
It is up to the U.S. to recognize the inevitable. Soon it will be open tennis or none of any interest at all.
A hydroplane pilot and avid fisherman, Bob Schroeder of Buffalo, N.Y. was in Seattle for a race and wanted to avail himself of the good fishing there, but his schedule made it difficult.
So he devised a method of fishing by telephone. He baited a hook, tied his line to the bedpost, looped it around the telephone receiver and dropped it out the window of his hotel room on Puget Sound. The idea was that if he got a strike in absentia the tug of the line would pull the phone receiver off its cradle and, when he checked by calling his room, he would get a busy signal.
Which is just what happened. Schroeder rushed back to his room and hauled in a small shark.
Middle-aged golfers with backaches, take heart. Consider Ray Palmer, a 55-year-old Michigan industrialist who in the early 1950s was a scratch golfer and reached the quarterfinals of both the 1953 U.S. Amateur and Western Amateur, thereby earning himself a bid to the Masters, where he played (nervously and badly) in 1954.
But his back was giving him all kinds of agony, and the following year he had to give up the game completely when doctors discovered calcium deposits in his spine.
For the next eight years Palmer stuck to a rigid diet while dreaming of hitting 250-yard drives down the middle and sinking 40-foot putts. Finally, when spring arrived in 1963, he felt well enough to go out on the practice tee and try again.
"I played horrible," he now recalls, "but at least the back felt better."
Then, after a couple of years, the old shots began to fly off his club with greater consistency. This summer, with his handicap back to scratch, Ray Palmer at age 55 was eligible for a go at the USGA Seniors, held at the Shinnecock Hills Golf Club in Southampton, N.Y.
Battling a stiff northwester with gusts up to 40 mph, he shot a 74-79 in qualifying rounds to share the medal with two others. For the next four days he played five rounds of superb golf for a man with a bad back. Through a torrent of rain and wind in the semifinals, he shot a 72, two over par, on one of the toughest courses in the U.S. and on a sunny, windy Saturday morning, he met Walter Bronson of Oak Brook, Ill. in the finals. Palmer finished Bronson off 3 and 2 with a burst of birdies in the final holes.
Tall, thin Ray Palmer was overcome with emotion as they handed him the trophy.
"After 45 years at this game," he sighed, "I finally won something."
And his back felt fine.
SAVAGE BREAST UNSOOTHED
It happens every weekend at American football games, but Englishmen have their own firm ideas on what is proper for soccer.
The city fathers of Birmingham, concerned about outbreaks of violence at soccer matches, decided to enlist the miniskirt. The fans, they reasoned, would rather look at pretty girls than fling bottles at each other.
So at half time four young lovelies, one of them in a see-through microskirt, put on a hippie dance. The fans were not amused.
"Disgusting!" they screamed. "Revolting!"
"Get them off!" one yelled. "I mean the girls, not the dresses."
Still, for what it's worth, no bottles were thrown.
The numbered football shirt was the rage on campus last year. This year it's the dirty gray T shirt that says across the front: PROPERTY OF PODUNK U. ATHLETIC DEPT.
The men responsible for both are Norman Traeger, who was graduated from Indiana University in 1962 with a degree in marketing, and Mickey Monroe, Ohio State '62. As president of Varsity House Sportswear Inc., Traeger is marketing like mad these days.
He introduced the athletic-department shirt in Columbus, Ohio with 3,000 dozen last June. "Since then," he said, "we've sold over 360,000 pieces."
Traeger got the idea for the T shirt from his fraternity days.
"When I was in high school," he explained, "I was on the state championship swimming team. I didn't swim at IU, but I noticed a lot of guys would pay $3 to $5 to have the varsity swimmers steal the practice T shirts. I guess they wanted to take on the appearance of jocks."
Now, judging from his mail, it would appear that athletic departments, far from being angry, are grateful. The problem of theft has been reduced.
Projected sales for this year add up to $4.5 million.
FOR THE BIRDS-AND PEOPLE
Some revolutionary words were spoken at the 63rd annual convention of the National Audubon Society, which was created to protect wild birds but now has been forced to adopt a wider view. "We've got to create a grass roots demand for government that will be responsive to human needs," Roland C. Clement, a vice-president, told the 900 members and observers who attended. "And not that minimum government designed to give industry a free hand in resource exploitation."
They were words that reflected a growing militancy within the conservation movement—a militancy that bothers those who resent losing the chance to make a buck on a marsh or a tree or an alligator. The Audubons are of a mood now to take their causes to court rather than fight them with cries of outrage.
"A court of equity is the only place to take effective action against the polluters and despoilers," the convention was told by Victor J. Yannacone Jr., a lawyer who himself has brought successful legal action against the use of DDT in Long Island's Suffolk County.
The convention unanimously adopted a resolution urging a ban on the use of the pesticide throughout the U.S.
Secretary of the Interior Stewart L. Udall urged the society to establish a firm rapport with the younger generation. This, in fact, is already being done.
"We finally got our little boy to attend the Junior Audubon programs," an outdoorsy lady was telling a friend. "He thinks it's called the Junior Atom Bomb Club."
THE DEEPFREEZE GAME
The wind of Pebble Beach? The altitude of Broadmoor? The sand of Pine Valley? For a real challenge sometime, join Bill Joss on one of his golf courses in the Canadian Arctic.
Joss, a station manager for the Hudson's Bay Company at Holman in the Northwest Territories, lays a course over the ice each fall and, before it disappears in the spring thaw, plays countless games by himself and with visiting bush pilots and Royal Canadian Mounties. Temperatures dip to 34 below zero and steel-like gusts blow off the Beaufort Sea, but still Joss enforces his own made-up rule that the club must be gripped with gloveless hands. He paints the balls red with Jungle Glory nail polish so that they can be seen against the white snow and ice.
"Elderly Eskimos think I'm a little crazy," says Joss, "but the small fry can be depended upon to form a gallery whenever we tee off."
NOTICE TO GOURMETS
Buffalo meat may yet return to the dinner plates of North Americans. The National and Historic Parks Branch of Canada's Indian Affairs and Northern Development Department is advertising that some of its buffalo herds are available to commercial ranchers. It should be a reasonably profitable business, according to J. I. Nicol, one of the branch directors. Buffalo have been slaughtered and sold for meat before, but not on the hoof for breeding purposes. The Canadian government has not yet been able to supply the demands of people who want buffalo meat (it's delicious) from the government herds. And this year buffalo burgers were an especially big item at Expo '67, where millions got their first taste of the meat.
A few private herds of buffalo exist, but, mostly, the surviving descendants of the millions of buffalo that once ranged the Western plains live in controlled herds at Elk Island National Park, near Edmonton, Alta., and Wood Buffalo National Park, on the Alberta-Northwest Territories border.
Minimum price for a buffalo: $300. They are hardier than beef cattle and require roughly the same range. The main problem in raising them for meat is the need for strong fences.
"An electric fence is no good," Nicol said. "They'll charge an electric fence and get a good jolt as they go through, but in spite of that they'll break through all right."
For a start, the branch plans to sell one herd of 22 cows and three bulls.
WHEN THE BOUGH BREAKS
Some football coaches are marvels at persuading their players that they have a chance against a superior team. One of them is Dick Jones of Tamaqua High School in Tamaqua, Pennsylvania.
The week before Tamaqua was to play unbeaten Pottsville, Jones tacked this sign to a dressing-room wall: "If you hit hard enough, even a tree will splinter."
Then, to prove his point, he herded his players into a nearby forest, where they spent an entire session blocking trees. Smaller trees broke, bent and splintered, and a few nights later little Tamaqua tied mighty Pottsville 6-6.
THEY SAID IT
•Ray Perkins, Baltimore Colt rookie, on his operation for a severe skull injury: "It's just like a knee injury—except I had it in the head."
•Jake Kline, Notre Dame baseball coach, on Carl Yastrzemski, who signed with the Red Sox in his sophomore year before he ever played a varsity game with the Irish: "I never had a chance to ruin him."
•Art Fleak, Oklahoma State tackle, explaining his ferocious blocking: "I just imagine that the guy on the other side of the line is a professor that's been giving me a bad time."