REMEMBER THE RED....
Just when it looked—much to the consternation of the nation's conservationists (SI, April 1)—as though Kentucky's majestic Red River Gorge was a goner, along came a new cause for hope: Governor Louis B. Nunn visited the Red River area recently and came back so impressed with the Gorge's "fantastic beauty" that its survival became "a matter that's on my conscience." Perhaps if government officials made it a practice to look at natural splendors before deciding to obliterate them, they would see that more were protected. The governor is now investigating ways of saving the Gorge, while still providing flood protection and water supplies for central Kentucky towns. That would mean junking the current plan of building a dam at a point that would flood most of the Gorge. We hope some way will be found to relocate or to do without the dam. It's at least refreshing to know that the governor gives one.
CROSS IN THE COUNTRY
During the recent Western Athletic Conference cross-country championships at Tempe, Ariz., even WAC Commissioner Wiles Hallock picked up a few points. In trying to get a better view of the race, he jogged into a cactus.
How sharper than a duffer's hook it is, say the club pros of America, to have a bunch of thankless touring pros. The club men, who give lessons, sell equipment and go home at night, say they have trained, advised and hosted the touring pros, who travel about making headlines and big money, down through the years, free of charge, and now the touring boys have abandoned them.
When virtually all the top money-winning pros split off from the PGA to form the APG and run their own show, the club men were left behind. Some of them are now setting to work to train more young players and build the PGA back up to where it can challenge the upstart APG. Others are more interested in spiting the deserters. Some of these, taking APG to stand for Arnold Palmer Go, are refusing to sell Palmer equipment. Others are saying that they will no longer extend the traditional courtesy of letting the touring pros play their clubs' courses free of greens fees. One San Francisco club's board of directors recently voted to authorize the home pro to charge any touring pro, and other clubs are expected to follow that lead.
Such official bad relations may be ironed out in meetings this week and later between APG and PGA representatives. But it will be a long time before many club pros extend any heartfelt welcome homes to the stars they view as prodigal sons.
Wilt Chamberlain has been criticized for many things in his 10 turbulent years of professional basketball, but never—until this, his first season with the Los Angeles Lakers—for not being high enough. Or, more specifically, for not playing a high-enough post.
The Lakers, now employing three superstars, have risen, as expected (SI, Oct. 14 and Oct. 21), to the leadership of the NBA's Western Division. But they have not been nearly the juggernaut they oughta. The trouble—not completely unforeseen—is that Elgin Baylor and Jerry West have always played with centers who work on or around the foul line—the high post. The high-post center's job is to pass to, and then screen for, men moving past him toward the basket, or to turn and shoot from near the line. Chamberlain, however, is the prototype low-post center. He likes to station himself near the basket, where he can either pass to teammates revolving around him or take one giant step to the basket for dunks, and where he can also get plenty of offensive rebounds. In that area he creates too much congestion for Baylor or West to drive through handily.
Coach Bill van Breda Kolff hasn't resolved the issue for good, but so far he has been asking Wilt, rather than the others, to give. Reluctantly, Wilt has spent more and more time in the high post. "If the coach wants it that way, that's what I'm willing to do," he says. "But it definitely hurts my rebounding game. My feeling is negative, but I fight it down in the best interest of the team. I must go along until I feel that I can't."
So far it is Chamberlain who has been chided by the press, but he is also the one who has made all the compromises. Those most sympathetic to Wilt charge that he is being asked to become an imitation Darrall Imhoff (the merely semiheroic high-post center whom he replaced). There are those observers who expect Wilt to reach the can't-go-along point before much longer.
JUST A LITTLE TIP
W.T. Overton of Dallas shot a nine-foot bear on a recent hunting trip in Alaska and had it mounted, all of it, on all fours, for his office. But when it arrived he found it was just a little too long to go on the elevator, either head on or sideways. Overton departed town on business, leaving the manager of the office building holding the bear.
Someone suggested renting a crane to hoist the bear up to a window. But the going rate for cranes, the manager learned, was $250 an hour. So he telephoned Jonas and Powers, the Denver taxidermists who had mounted the bear, and offered to pay someone's way to Dallas for consultation. Out of professional pride a representative of the firm did come, all the way from Denver. He took one look at the elevator and the bear and suggested, "Why don't you tip it?"
They did, the bear fit fine that way, and the taxidermist took a plane back to Denver.
NOT SO FAST, THERE
In sports, the race—or the sprint, at any rate—is almost invariably to the swift. But the pass may not be, if the swift get any faster.
Those were roughly the sentiments of San Francisco 49ers Quarterback John Brodie and his coach, Dick Nolan, the other day on learning that Jimmy Hines had been signed by the Miami Dolphins as a receiver, after running the Olympic 100 meters in 9.9.
"They'd better not run much faster," said Brodie, "or a quarterback won't be able to throw that far that fast." Nolan, who used to be on the coaching staff of the Dallas Cowboys, agreed. "In Dallas once we lined up at the 50. Don Meredith took his usual drop, a three-count, and let the ball go. Bob Hayes, who had taken off at the snap, was running out of the end zone before the ball got there."
It sounds like a worse problem than the pitchers getting ahead of the hitters in baseball.
In the recent Philadelphia-Seattle basketball game in Boston Garden, the 76ers' 6'9", 240-pound Lucious Jackson scored on one of the most convincing stuff shots of our time. It tore down the rim and pulled a big chunk out of the shatterproof-glass backboard, ending its career. That must be what you call dominating the boards.
PLUMBING THE THAMES
Cockneys peered in puzzlement over the granite embankments of London's Thames last week. Among the heavy barges, in the shadows of Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament, they could actually see people fishing. It was part of an official experiment conducted by the Greater London Council: twenty-five crack coarse-fishing tournament men tried for four hours, from Battersea to Blackfriars, to see if there were any freshwater fish to be had in the heart of London. Huddled beneath huge umbrellas and swaddled in layers of sweaters, they sat on the decks of barges and offered down lobworms, brandlings, bread paste and gentles (maggots). Several bites were announced, but the weigh-in amounted to naught ounces.
For the past 20 years the Council has been trying to clean up the lower Thames, and now it is at least no longer necessary to have one's stomach evacuated after falling in. But a $42 million cleansing program is still insufficient to handle the 500 million gallons of sewage—mostly human waste—discharged into the river daily. Because of the shifting tides, it takes three months for an item of sewage to reach the sea.
The Thames used to be one of the best salmon rivers in Europe. Henry VIII's tame polar bear used to be let out on a chain to catch Thames salmon for his majesty, and as late as 1798 some 400 fishermen made their living on the river. In this century 100,000 salmon have been planted in the Thames, but the last recorded catch was in 1833.
BREAKS OF THE GAME
As the Oakland Raiders scored twice in the last minute to beat the New York Jets last Sunday, NBC-TV cut to two commercials and then a children's special. (Later, as a little crippled girl was crawling and struggling to walk, a bulletin showing the final score crept by just below her.) We were reminded that while there are hardships involved in going to a football game in person, at least it never plunges you into Heidi.
SPORTIF, OU NON?
One had assumed that the French through history had specialized more in a sound mind than in a sound body, notwithstanding the episode of Mlle. Bardot. But a recent poll conducted by the French Ministry of Youth and Sports suggests that France is veering in the direction of physical fitness. Almost twice as many adult Frenchmen (30%) practice a sport today, the Ministry has reported, as did five years ago. Swimming was found most popular, followed by "walking" and gymnastics. As for teenagers, almost three of four said they pursue some sport, especially cycling.
Paris' Le Monde, however, responded to the report with intellectual caution. "The bather declares himself a swimmer," the paper said in an editorial, "the stroller a walker, the leisurely bike rider a cyclist, and the father of a family who does a bit of corrective calisthenics on the beach calls himself a gymnast. In daily life the city dweller willingly considers himself 'sportif' if, instead of taking a bus, he walks six city blocks from the apartment to the office."
We are not saying anything. We know some American sportifs who sit around all afternoon and consider themselves quarterbacks.
STANDING ON SLIPPERY
It is fall again and "Slippery Rock" is heard throughout the land, followed by laughter. Each time a Slippery Rock score is announced at a stadium the crowd is convulsed: it is more surefire than Brooklyn. There are Slippery Rock booster clubs spread over the country, and the official pennant of the 4,000-student state college in Western Pennsylvania reads, "Yes, There Is a Slippery Rock."
"People hear such scores as Slippery Rock 14, Indiana 6 or Slippery Rock 7, California 6, and they say 'Sure, Ha Ha,' " says Slippery Rock publicist Joe Mancini. "But it happens that there are towns in Pennsylvania named Indiana and California, and they have colleges that we play." (This year, however, the scores were Indiana 44, Slippery Rock 15, and California 42, Slippery Rock 6. Over the past eight years, the Rockets have a 41-34-6 record in the Pennsylvania State College Conference.)
"We get all sorts of requests for pennants and T shirts and decals," Mancini goes on. "People will write in and enclose a check and ask for a sweatshirt and anything else it might cover. They say, 'Please send me five dollars' worth of Slippery Rock.' " As a matter of fact, the school is thinking of pursuing such business seriously, with the proceeds to go to the athletic department. "It is an amusing name," Mancini concedes, "and it would be foolish for us to fight it."
THEY SAID IT
•Dan Devine, Missouri football coach, on hearing that tickets for the Nov. 23 game with Kansas were being hawked by scalpers for $35: "If that's true, my wife has just lost her ticket."
•Vince Lombardi, general manager of the Green Bay Packers: "A real executive goes around with a worried look on his assistants."