PACK UP YOUR TROUBLES....
It is understandable that when a society spends more than it earns, the government eventually must take some kind of action. To meet such a financial imbalance, a country can earn more or spend less. President Johnson has proposed that the U.S. take the second alternative. And one of the requests he will make to Congress is to impose a penalty on American travel to points outside the Western Hemisphere.
Since this is our annual discovery issue—one in which we seek to spotlight enjoyable and unusual sporting venues, either at home or abroad—we are especially conscious of the President's action. We know that Americans like to travel. We know, further, that they cherish the right to pick up and go where they please when they please.
It also happens that this is an Olympic year, and the Administration now finds itself in the peculiar position of telling sports fans that a trip to the Summer Olympics in Mexico City is fine, but seeing the Winter Olympics in Grenoble is, bluntly, on the unpatriotic side.
International sport has, for the most part, been a good thing for the world. Competitors and the enthusiasts who follow them abroad have, on returning to their own countries, helped form a reservoir of international understanding. That would seem to be a resource as much in need of expansion as the gold drain is of diminution.
The President's proposal to limit American travel to the Western Hemisphere raises the question: Just where can one go with a clear conscience? The Random House Dictionary of the English Language defines the Western Hemisphere as, among other things, "that half of the earth traversed in passing westward from the prime meridian to 180° longitude." Using this as a guide, one could serenely visit London, Dublin, Bordeaux, Lisbon. Madrid, Casablanca, Dakar, or going westward, the tip of Siberia, Tonga and certainly Bora-Bora (see cover).
THE DREAM RACE
If we have ever seen a made-to-order Mitty situation it is the little function coming up January 27 at the Sports Car Club of America convention in Atlanta. Sandwiched in among the usual dreary meetings and speeches is a slalom race in which any member can determine once and for all whether he can beat Dan Gurney.
SCCA calls it the world's first International Grudge Slalom and will stage it at the Peach Bowl Speedway. Racing star Gurney will enter, plus such other notables as Mark Donahue and Chuck Parsons, and tentative entries have come from world-class racers John Surtees and Bruce McLaren. To keep those mightys from blowing off the Mittys, all will compete in identical 1968 MGs. The entry flyer carries photographs of Gurney and Donahue, with a blank space provided for one to paste in his own picture and the promise that "if you wish, we'll keep your name secret so you won't scare them away." The whole thing starts at 9 a.m. and ends a couple of hours before the annual cocktail party and banquet. It is going to be a long day for Dan.
RAMBLING WITH GRAMBLING
When Eddie Robinson of Grambling College first attended coaching clinics he used to dread introductions. Robinson recalls, "Everybody would laugh and ask. 'What's that again, Gambling—or Grumbling?' "
Now, 26 years later, the football people who count—the pro scouts—know all about the predominantly Negro college in northern Louisiana. Nineteen of Robinson's athletes have gone on to play pro football—among them Tank Younger, Willie Davis, Buck Buchanan Ernie Ladd and Roosevelt Taylor. Currently, only one college, Notre Dame, has more alumni listed on NFL and AFL rosters.
This Saturday night in New York, Channel 7 will present "Grambling College: 100 Yards to Glory." The one-hour program, which is to be syndicated and shown later in other cities, is a remarkable sports production and a fine piece of social comment as well. Don't miss it when it comes your way.
ADRIENNE'S GREEN CARD
A widow with 11 children is currently Europe's most successful tout. Adrienne Cellario, 47, has set herself up in business in Monaco's post office building and is supplying a select clientele with "electronic predictions" on the results of the Tiercé, France's popular betting pool in which a horseplayer must name the first three finishers in a certain race. Mme. Cellario, who makes her predictions by using an IBM computer, has picked the winning combination in three of the four Tiercés that have been held since she launched her business last month. On the fourth occasion the computer recommended "abstinence" because there were too many horses with apparently equal chances of winning.
Customers who have followed the betting advice faithfully have risked $128 (which includes the $40-a-month subscription fee for the tipping service) and collected $227.
The morning of a Tiercé race, the computer is advised of scratches, the weather and track conditions. Then it assesses each horse's chances and usually proposes bets on the top eight horses. To get their tips, Mme. Cellario's customers must telephone Monte Carlo on the morning of the race, identify themselves by name and code number and pronounce a password. Although subscribers sign pledges not to pass on the computer's advice, the most effective deterrent seems to be each bettor's awareness that the fewer the players the bigger the payoff.
Last October, when the Red Sox won the American League pennant and played the Cardinals in the World Series, almost every politician in Massachusetts proudly stood up and told his constituents that he would throw his full support behind legislation for the sports stadium that Boston and Massachusetts needed so badly (SI, June 12). It certainly was the politic thing to say at the time, especially since every legislator was entitled to purchase four good Series seats in Fenway Park long before they were available to the public. Well, two weeks ago—12 weeks after the end of the season—those same legislators killed the proposed stadium bill in the top half of the first inning. So the Red Sox will continue to play in the ball park that is a monument to the 1930s, and the Boston Patriots of the AFL might just play their games in Birmingham or Tampa or Seattle. Massachusetts obviously does not want a winner—or deserve one.
ON THE TRACK
There are two new ski slopes in Taos, N. Mex., and Resort Owner Ernie Blake has invited the public to help him name them. The new trails are steep shortcuts designed to sidetrack hot-shot skiers and get them off the intermediate slope. Among the suggestions submitted so far are Black Friday (Blake says it is "too negative") and Dante and Faust ("too classical"). Locally, the sharp-dropping slopes are known as Bobby Baker and Billie Sol, but Blake says politics is taboo, which seems to limit the fun. Whatever the public comes up with, it will be hard to top the name that an inspired secretary gave to the beginners' slope a few years ago—Fanny Hill.
What with the end of the year and all, it's been a time for cleaning closets. The other day the Pinkertons at Aqueduct sorted out the items that had been lost and found at the track in recent months. There was the usual assortment of wallets, coats, hats, pawn tickets, etc. But a few noteworthy things turned up, such as a saxophone, a vacuum cleaner, a $1,700 bracelet and a lady's shoe. The shoe eventually was claimed by a woman who said, "I didn't notice that I'd lost it until I got home."
At that, the year's finds hardly measure up to those of past seasons. Once, for instance, the Pinkertons came upon a shoe box containing $118,000 worth of jewelry. And another time, an artificial arm.
The head of the Bavarian Sports Association has suggested that the city of Munich, which will play host to the 1972 Summer Olympics, build a mountain and become a winter-sports capital as well. The city is in the process of constructing a number of underground transit lines, and it could use the dirt that has been piling up to, uh, to make a mountain out of a moleway.
The bitter cold in Green Bay the day of the NFL title game produced its share of jokes, including the one by the TV announcer who said he was going to stop for a moment and take a bite of his coffee. But the 13°-below-zero weather was no laughing matter. Four Dallas players suffered frostbite, which is similar to a second-degree burn.
Perhaps there are limits to the weather in which football can be played, but events at Green Bay are no excuse for moving the NFL Championship to a comfortable neutral site in California or Florida. "We will work to get the game moved," Commissioner Pete Rozelle said last week. Well, stop working, Pete. The title game belongs to the home town fans. Pro football was played in cities like Cleveland, Chicago and New York long before Miami had a Beach. Part of the game's attraction is the hardy attitude of the fans, who have a season-long emotional involvement in how their team fares. Perhaps a Dallas man seen leaving Lambeau Field after the championship put it best: "Fans fool enough to sit through a football game in 13-below weather deserve the title."
As for the Green Bay players, they were maintaining a stiff upper lip. Defensive Tackle Henry Jordan said after the game, "The only time I noticed the cold was when I had to stand around and wait for the TV commercials to end."
A notice in the lobby of the Chicago Athletic Club reads: JOIN OUR FENCING TEAM—WE NEED SOME NEW BLOOD.
John Mulgrew, an assistant pro at the Wishaw golf club in Lanarkshire, Scotland, has been trying to teach a group of 5-year-olds the game. In the process, he has had to develop some rather imaginative descriptions to get across the proper technique. Consider his instructions for a bunker shot: "Pretend the ball is a little man. Now let's cut his legs off with the clubhead."
Linda McGill, the brassy Australian who wanted to make history by swimming the English Channel nude but settled instead for setting the women's speed record, was recently made a Member of the British Empire. A few days afterward "Lady" McGill, as she is now dubbed, easily defeated six men in a race in Australia—so easily, in fact, she took time out near the finish to change into a "more glamorous" swimsuit. Gulping a beer as she collected the $1,120 prize, the 38-26-36 blonde said, "It touches your heart to be able to do something like this after the Queen has held you in such high regard."
THE LIVE ONE
The heavyweight championship muddle precipitated by Muhammad Ali's refusal to accept induction into the armed forces, followed by the unilateral decision of the self-styled World Boxing Association to run a tournament to choose his successor, was acceptable enough if one conceded the proposition that boxing is historically, and perhaps inevitably, committed to misrule and confusion. But now it has turned to anarchy.
Madison Square Garden, promoting its first boxing card in its new sports market atop Pennsylvania Station, has designed a March doubleheader: Emile Griffith vs. Nino Benvenuti in their third go-round for the middleweight title, and Joe Frazier, who has stood aloof from the WBA series on the sound theory that sooner or later the WBA winner will have to deal with his independent self, and Buster Mathis, who is unranked by either the authoritative Ring magazine, or the WBA.
Presented honestly, the card would be quite a good one, but the Garden, dreaming of a $100 top for true ringside seats and a fashionable audience in stiff shirts (or white turtlenecks) and evening gowns, got nervous. It felt it had to justify the price, and so it came up with something as spurious as a Going-Out-of-Business sale. It persuaded Eddie (Death) Dooley, famed old Dartmouth quarterback in the days of the drop kick, currently New York State boxing commissioner, and a rube in the world of prizefighting, to declare the Frazier-Mathis bout a contest for the world heavyweight championship. The ludicrously naive Dooley, who kept referring to Buster as "Buddy" in making the announcement, obediently went along with this silly gag, one calculated to make any boxing fan gag in earnest.
The Minnesota North Stars of the National Hockey League have a minor league farm team called the Memphis South Stars.
THEY SAID IT
•Tom Kuchel, U.S. Senator from California, on O. J. Simpson: "It might be said that he exhibits a rare facility for observing and threading the interstices of the opponents' defensive line, employing every artifice and demonstrating superlative equilibrium at the approach, rendering himself compact and thoroughly elusive at the moment of passage into the secondary, and then accelerating in his chosen direction with such a burst of velocity and seeming abandon at the faintest indication of an unobstructed field that the antagonist is left, as it were, without recourse."
•Norm Stewart, Missouri basketball coach, on the experimental use of three officials in a game: "It's just one more referee to yell at."
•Debbie Meyer, 15-year-old California swimmer who set four world records last summer and was recently named Russia's Sportswoman of the Year, when asked what was the happiest day of her life: "I can't pick one. But I can tell you the saddest day—when we moved away from Haddonfield."