Conservationists can find little immediate reason to be encouraged by the appointment of Walter Hickel as Secretary of the Interior. Most of the men who had been mentioned as prospects for the post had had some association with efforts to conserve the open spaces that have helped make and keep America an open society. Mr. Hickel's major interest in American land so far has been that of a real-estate developer, a builder of subdivisions.
"Mr. Hickel is a very strong personality," says Robert Weeden, president of the Alaska Conservation Society, "and he could be a very effective voice for conservation if he wanted to be. However, if a conflict arose between conservation and economic interests, I think he would definitely favor the economic interest. On the local scene, for example, he was an active proponent of Rampart Dam."
However, it may well be that Mr. Hickel has an abiding love for the unspoiled kind of land—Alaska, in his case—in which a penniless young man, such as he once was, can discover himself. The Senate, before it confirms Mr. Hickel's appointment, will presumably want to be assured that he does have such a feeling and intends to act upon it.
IMPROVES WITH AGE
Strat-O-Matic Pro Football, a new board game, is available to Christmas-shopping followers of either professional league. The NFL set costs $11, the AFL set $7.50.
EVEN THE LOWLIEST
In the "Dogs and Other Pets" ads in The New York Times last week, there were the following seasonal offers: "Collie Pups AKC, Ready for Christmas"; "English Springer Spaniel Pups, Just in Time for Christmas"; "German Shepherd Puppies, Reserve Now for Xmas"; "Labrador Retrievers, Will Hold Until Christmas"; "For a wonderful Christmas gift, buy your child something extraordinary, buy a Hungarian Puli, the most lovable and intelligent dog you can buy"—and, finally, right down at the end, "DONKEY—Animal of Christmas. Dear little donkey, all shaggy and brown. 201-879-5806."
The donkey's name, we have learned, is Napoleon. He is 8 years old, 36 inches high and a full-blooded Sicilian, lives in Chester, N.J., loves children, requires only a windbreak by way of shelter, eats a bale of good timothy a week and is for sale for about $500.
Oakland Oaks Coach Alex Hannum has confirmed speculation that the American Basketball Association as a whole will try to buy Lew Alcindor when he graduates from UCLA.
"I've talked informally to most interested parties in the league and I think we're willing to pool resources for Lew," said Hannum. "We can raise the million with deferred payments, annuities and insurance policies."
But how will Lew know which basket to shoot for?
The dancing girls won. That is the result, at long last, of the tiring intramural squabble between the PGA and the touring golf pros. The players are the dancing girls, of course, from the remark by one of them during the heat of battle: "They've got the stage hands but we've got the dancing girls, so who do you want to pay to see?"
Peace came to professional golf when the PGA gave the touring players what they've been wanting all along—the authority to run their own business within the IGA. When swarms of tour sponsors flocked to the side of the players in the dispute, it was inevitable that the PGA would have to give in or else lose all connection with the glamorous part of the sport.
At one point in the dispute a lot of club pros said, well, by gum, they just wouldn't stock their shops with equipment autographed by the stars. The tour celebrities laughed. "Can you imagine," said one, "what an influential member would say to a pro who wouldn't sell him any Arnold Palmer irons? There'd be a new pro the next day."
The tour will now be run by a 10-man board, consisting of four players, three PGA officials and three businessmen chosen by the players. Two of the businessmen are George H. Love, president of Laurel Valley Golf Club (Arnold Palmer's club), and John Murchison, who took part in a recent business venture with Palmer.
ATTA TANGENT, WILLIE!
Dr. Seville Chapman, of the Cornell Aeronautical Laboratory in Buffalo, has demonstrated that it is scientifically feasible, after all, for an outfielder to judge a fly ball.
In a recent issue of the Journal of Applied Physics Dr. Chapman takes issue with Dr. Vannevar Bush, who in his book Science Is Not Enough writes: "Willie Mays, at the crack of the bat, will take a brief look at the flight of the ball, run without looking back, be at exactly the right spot at the right time, and take the ball over his shoulder.... How he does it no one knows, certainly not Willie Mays. Nor could a whole team of physicists and psychologists tell him."
Chapman says he can tell him. "The fielder has played this game many times and has a good memory of fly-ball experiences," he points out. "He knows what a long hit sounds like. His sensory elements are well coupled to his built-in computer, developed by the good Lord over the millennia.... The question is, what information must the fielder sense in order to know where the ball is going?"
Well, we will not attempt to reproduce Dr. Chapman's formulae, since we hate to see proofreaders cry. Suffice it to say that Mays, or any other seasoned ball hawk, can tell whether or not he is already in the right place to catch a fly ball, because if he is, says Chapman, "the tangent of the [ball's] elevation angle increases uniformly with time." And if he is not, he "will arrive at the right place at the right time...if he runs at the only constant velocity for which the rate of change of tangent of the elevation angle of the ball and the bearing angle of the ball both remain constant."
Got it? If you have, let's hear you holler something.
LIFE FOLLOWS ART
After denying for years that it is one, while functioning as one of the most formidable ones in the country, the National Rifle Association has now registered with Congress as a lobby.
KEEPING ONE'S HEAD
Early this season Larry Csonka, the Miami Dolphins' 235-pound rookie fullback, suffered two brain concussions from being kicked in the temple. As a result, he had severe headaches and double vision and couldn't keep his balance when he tried to cut. It appeared that the Dolphins' No. 1 draft choice might never play again. But his health returned, and to preserve it the Dolphins got him a crash helmet. They had John T. Riddell, Inc., a sporting-goods company, fashion a special headgear that contained eight sponge-backed air cells at points where Csonka most needed protection. Before game time Csonka inflates each cell individually to conform to the shape of his head. Thus adjusted, the helmet fits so tightly it can't be knocked off, and it absorbs impact amazingly. "Before I got the new helmet," Csonka says, "I would put my head down to spear and feel the shock all the way to my legs. Now I feel no shock whatsoever, not even in my head."
The Dolphins say they are going to order 40 of the helmets for next season, and Riddell is working on an improved model for mass production. It will be rounder on the sides than the currently accepted models, and will contain not only the air cells but also, like the helmet developed by Gatorade Inventor Dr. Robert Cade (SI, July 1), liquid-filled cells. As impact forces the skull toward the shell of the helmet the head will first deflate the air cells, then flatten the hydraulic ones before reaching the sponge. When a man has a helmet like that, there is not much point in kicking him in the head at all.
The recent Oscar Bonavena-Joe Frazier fight in Philadelphia produced nothing but losers. Lou Lucchese, the nervy little promoter, put together a good show but took a $100,000 bath. Bonavena lost the fight and had his hotel room burglarized. And although Frazier won a 15-round decision, he left the impression that, despite 19 knockouts in 22 fights, he really can't punch.
That last conclusion is nonsense. Frazier is a two-fisted, hard-hitting fighter whose heavy handiwork was reflected in Bonavena's lopsided face. What the Bonavena fight did reveal was Frazier's lack of expertise. Frazier won by pressure—moving in constantly and punching nonstop. "He out-indomitables everyone," remarked a fight manager recently, and indeed Frazier may be the most determined, most competitive heavyweight ever. He is certainly the busiest.
This is at once his strength and his great weakness. He is so intent on getting the job done and so hard to deflect from his purpose that he is predictable. He moves in and out in a straight line. He is willing to take too many punches in order to land his own. In his last three fights he has been more impatient than ever. Rather than slip punches and move in behind the jab, or even try crudely to set up his opponents, he simply marches in and socks it to them. Bonavena kept his hands glued to his face and Frazier could not open him up. He tried change-of-pace punches and uppercuts and, finally, taunts: "Come on, Oscar, mix it. Mix it, Oscar. Punch, Oscar, punch." But Oscar knew better. "I was out there smoking," said Frazier ruefully, "but Oscar wouldn't fall."
"Beautiful," exclaimed Angelo Dundee, manager of WBA champion Jimmy Ellis, after watching the fight. "One of these days Joe Frazier will smoke himself to death. As everybody could see, a smart veteran who can punch can pick Joe Frazier apart. And I've got the man to do the job—Jimmy Ellis."
When? Not likely before the fall of 1969.
SQUARE AND HAIRY
The antihair-in-sports movement shows signs of fading. Not only is virtually every rumored candidate for commissioner of baseball considerably shaggier than General Eckert, but Yankee Manager Ralph Houk—formerly a major in the Army—recently made a statement on hirsuteness that might have been a Beatle's or Joe Namath's: "Sometimes I think we're getting a little too square about all this. All I know is every time I see a picture of one of my grandfathers or great-grandfathers, they all had hair coming down their back, and long beards, and they were pretty good guys."
Furthermore, Oregon Freshman Basketball Coach Frank Arnold, who had ordered his black players to stop letting their hair do what comes naturally, backed down last week—admitting the decree had been rooted in fuzzy thinking. "It is now clear to me that my requests for personal grooming were based upon my personal tastes," he said. Arnold's change of heart came after black students protested to Acting University President Charles Johnson, who ruled that haircuts have nothing to do with a student's right to participate in sports.
Judging from some of his photographs, by the way, James Naismith, the father of basketball, wore what might well be called a "natural" mustache.
THEY SAID IT
•Bill Callahan, sports information director at the University of Missouri: "I used to have the worst time remembering names. Then I took that Sam Carnegie course and I've been all right ever since."
•Paul Maguire, Buffalo punter, after averaging 45 yards on 11 kicks in the Astrodome: "I think I got a little more distance in the second and fourth quarters when I had the air conditioning to my back."
•Larry Smith, Florida's bashful 6'4", 220-pound fullback, at an All-Star gathering when a scantily clad Playboy Club bunny-hostess sat down next to him and asked if he was having a good time: "Yes, ma'am."