TURNING ALI OFF
Muhammad Ali, the man who, as he points out, still has the championship belt worn by Jack Johnson and Jack Dempsey, is anxious to do his thing one more time before the Supreme Court decides his fate—and a great many people would like to watch him doing it. But time is running out on him.
Last week Ali was turned away by the mayor of Columbus, Ohio and a tribe of Indians. He appeared in Columbus at the invitation of promoter Bill (Bubbles) Holloway, who announced that he would fight someone there November 11. Holloway told Ali he would be welcomed by Mayor Maynard E. Sensenbrenner.
The mayor's welcoming speech went like this: "I am not in favor of any draft dodger appearing in the city of Columbus." Ali left town saying, "I don't want to go where I'm not wanted." The next day Benny Hinds of Tempe, Ariz, reported he had signed Zora Folley to fight Ali on the Gila River Indian Reservation in Sacaton. The Arizona Athletic Commission, which had turned down an Ali-Joe Frazier match last month, appeared to have been outflanked; the commission has no jurisdiction over the reservation.
But the Gila River tribal council does, and it decided that receiving a draft resister would be disloyal to Indians who had died for their country. Also, the bank that employs Hinds called him in and told him to stay away from Ali.
The Supreme Court convenes October 7, and by mid-November Ali will know whether the court will hear his appeal of a U.S. District Court's decision sentencing him to five years. A payday would defray the mounting court costs—but "most of all," he says, "I want to climb in the ring and get turned on."
WHAT'S IN A NAME?
The name Edgar Lacey is well known among basketball fans. Lacey won fame in high school and added to it during four outstanding years at UCLA. Last week he furthered his career by signing a contract with the Los Angeles Stars of the American Basketball League.
He signed it Edgar Lacy.
"Why did you sign it that way?" the Stars wanted to know.
"That's the way it's spelled," he said.
"Well, then, why has it been spelled with an e all these years?"
"I don't know," said Lacy. "It's a mystery to me."
A leading London bookmaking house, Ladbroke's, had Humphrey listed at 7 to 1 last week and Wallace at 12 to 1 (50 to 1 the week before), and was handling a steady flow of American money on Nixon at 1 to 10—including one wager of $3,280. Considering Britain's betting tax, you'd have to invest 200 shillings on Mr. Nixon to win nine.
DON'T TOUCH THAT DIAL
Howard Cosell, the outspoken sports-caster and critic of bland television reporting, is going to the Olympics as ABC-TV's "troubleshooter"—to cover, among other things, any demonstrations or disorders that might arise in connection with the Games. What, then, would he say if he were accused—as television was accused after the Democratic Convention—of attracting trouble?
"That's just silly," is what he says. "The mere thought that we shouldn't be there because somebody might see a television camera and therefore cause a disturbance would absolutely debar the integrity of the operation which we, all the media, jointly represent.... We will hit on the spot, we will hit with the maximum instant wisdom and discretion we can apply. I will muster all my resources, my mind and emotional equilibrium, and make the instantaneous adjustments required.... TV has become a sitting duck for people whose own lack of creativity and diminishing importance has put them beside themselves.... Television is part of the American way of life.... Are you going to do away with television?"
What a thought!
GETTING THE BIRD
If someone in your community is trying to lure the Air Force Academy's falcon down out of the sky, tell him to stop.
The falcon, named Tawalki, was supposed to serve as the half-time attraction of the recent Air Force-Florida game at Tampa. He was to sweep down from the press box and strike a lure being twirled by a cadet on the field. A falcon lure is a piece of sponge rubber wrapped in black leather, on the end of a 10-foot rope. It is twirled rapidly about the head, and the twirler must whistle.
At the beginning of an Air Academy falcon's training, meat is put on the end of the rope. Later the meat is replaced by the lure, and the falcon is fed as soon as he strikes it.
At the Florida game Tawalki, with the lure twirling below him and twice 52,667 eyes upon him, took off directly southward from the press box and disappeared. His loss was widely reported. The next morning golfer Ken Vennett flushed a large bird from the rough at Rocky Point Golf Club, two miles from the stadium. "I knew immediately what it was," he said, "because of the band on his leg."
Soon the bird was being trailed by three city policemen, two security men from MacDill Air Force Base, three bird experts and a number of golfers in golf carts and a Land-Rover. Someone called Air Force Coach Ben Martin, who said he was sure glad the bird had been found, and the way to catch him was to tie a piece of meat to a rope and swing it around your head and whistle. This the rescuers did, all Sunday and Monday, back and forth across the links, as the whole community watched, hoping the unresponsive Tawalki could be saved.
Then late Monday someone called the Tampa Tribune to say he thought he had seen some cadets capture Tawalki Saturday afternoon after the game, in a parking lot south of the stadium. Colonel James C. McIntyre, officer in charge of the academy's mascot program, was called. "Oh, yes," he said. "We got him about 6:30. It was the heat that made him fly away. They do that, you know." It hadn't occurred to Colonel McIntyre to notify Coach Martin, or the folks in Florida.
As things stand now, Kathy Kusner, a quiet little brunette who has beaten plenty of men in horse shows, will have a chance to be the first woman to beat them in major flat races.
The U.S. Olympic equestrienne's application for a jockey's license was turned down by the Maryland State Racing Commission, after stewards decided she rode high, "bounced in the saddle," and did not give "the impression of strength and authority," but Prince Georges County Circuit Court Judge Ernest A. Loveless has overturned the commission's decision. It had been prejudiced, the judge concluded, against Kathy's gender—a term he suggested after the word sex had been bandied around the courtroom a great deal.
The commission may appeal the ruling, said Chairman D. Eldred Rinehart. "She is an able rider, in certain respects, but if she were allowed to ride in regular races...who'd be to blame if she were hurt?"
Kathy herself just went on training with her teammates on the U.S. equestrian jumping team. But Judy Johnson, a hardy trainer of jumping horses who was licensed to ride among men in steeplechases during World War II and whose case was cited by Kathy's lawyer, said she thought girls weren't meant for "breaking out of the gate on a racehorse." In a steeplechase, she said, for one thing, "You don't get hit in the face with dirt."
Maybe so, but opinion is no substitute for performance. Miss Kusner is to be applauded for her perseverance.
K. C. INCENTIVE
When Charles O. Finley's Athletics inhabited Kansas City, one of his complaints was that he could not sell enough season tickets. So he moved to Oakland, where he is not selling enough season tickets.
Ewing Kauffman, whose Kansas City Royals are replacing Finley's failure, has already sold 6,334 season tickets for 1969 in less than three weeks of effort. In 1967, Finley's last year, only 3,411 season tickets were sold, and the most he ever sold was 5,700 in 1966.
For Kauffman, who has become a multimillionaire as president of the Marion Laboratories, the key to success in baseball as well as in pharmaceuticals is "incentive." He has set up a point system, with one point for each season ticket renewed and additional points for new ticket purchases. Everyone who scores 100 points—36 Kansas City businessmen so far—is made a member of the Royal Lancers Club. A Royal Lancer and his guests are entitled to exclusive restaurant and lounge privileges at the park, a pass to all American League games and a jet flight at Kauffman's expense to Fort Meyers, Fla. next winter for a look at the Royals in spring training. The Royals will also recognize BankAmericards for ticket purchases. People in outlying towns can charge tickets at their banks and pick them up at the ball park before the game.
Kauffman predicts a sale of 10,000 season tickets during his drive, and he probably won't even have to bring in a mule.
CHAINING THE CLOCK
Last year two and a half hours was a pretty long college football game. In the first week of this season several games stretched out beyond three hours, and coaches in most parts of the country reported that their teams spent 10 to 15 more minutes on the field and got in about that many more plays.
One of the reasons for the general prolongation was obvious: more passing and more scoring, which meant the clock was stopped more often. A less obvious but perhaps more significant factor was a new rule, which kills the clock after every first down. Time is out while the chains are moved—which can take as long as 15 seconds on a long first-down play.
In some conferences there was concern that longer games would tire fans out. The Pacific Eight sent a bulletin to officials after the first weekend "encouraging" them to speed things up by blowing the whistle as soon as the scrimmage-line marker is set, rather than waiting for both chain men to get situated. Elsewhere, however, there were no complaints. "I don't know yet whether I like the rule," said Ohio State's Woody Hayes, "but the fans sure should. They get to see that much more football."
The more time-outs, the more plays; the more plays, the more scoring and passing; the more scoring and passing, the more time-outs. This year college football may never end.
Just for the information of those who may be making a study of right-and left-handedness—or who may be having trouble hitting a golf ball very far:
Six Australian Davis Cup stars of the '50s and early '60s have now taken up golf. The three who play left-handed tennis—Neale Fraser, Rod Laver and Mervyn Rose—are right-handed golfers. The three who play right-handed tennis—Ashley Cooper, Mal Anderson and Roy Emerson—are left-handed golfers.
The principle, presumably, is the same that makes a right-handed thrower in baseball (Mickey Mantle, for instance) hit with more power left-handed. The stronger arm leads the swing.
THEY SAID IT
•Randy Matson, shotputter, conceding that a world record is possible in his event at Mexico City: "I've heard the shot travels one-sixteenth of an inch farther at 7,300 feet than at sea level."
•Jerry Krause, former University of Minnesota tennis star, now a specialist-four with the Army and the new Fort Leavenworth post tournament singles champion after eliminating a colonel, a lieutenant colonel and a captain: "I expect orders for Vietnam any day now."
•Mickey Lolich, motorcyclist and the Detroit Tigers' No. 2 pitcher, after Organist Denny McLain won 30 games: "How could I be a 30-game winner? How could I ride a motorcycle on the Ed Sullivan Show!"