President Nixon has signed an executive order establishing the Environmental Quality Council. The President is chairman, and the Vice-President and six Cabinet members comprise the rest of the council. With Dr. Lee A. Du Bridge, the President's science adviser, serving as executive secretary, the council is to attack the threats to "the availability of good air and good water, of open spaces and even quiet neighborhoods."
We applaud the President's interest, but we have reservations about his approach, as we did about Mr. Johnson's "National Beauty" program, which we felt was superficial (SI, Dec. 11, 1967). The problems facing the council are complicated, and it simply does not have the ecological expertise to deal with them in depth. Further, some government agencies are in the vanguard of despoliation and it seems unlikely that the problems they have created will come in for full and frank criticism, much less correction.
We think an environmental council should be composed principally of scientists who have shown concern for man and his environment, men like Rene Dubos of Rockefeller University, Lionel A. Walford of the Fish and Wildlife Service and Paul Sears of Yale. Such a council should have the means and the freedom to conduct complete inquiries, and the right (even the duty) to make its findings and recommendations public. Once the council had spoken, it would be up to the President, his Administration and Congress to take action.
LADY WITH THE YIPS
Ben Hogan and Sam Snead may be interested to learn that you can get the yips in other sporting endeavors as readily as you can when putting (currently, Snead makes his short putts with a weird croquet-type swing, and Hogan doesn't make his at all, most of the time). At any rate, Mrs. Nancy Vonderheide Kleinman (SI, June 25, 1962 et seq.), twice winner of the women's World Target Archery championship, has been smitten with the Snead-Hogan syndrome while trying to put arrows on target. You would think that such uncertainty on the part of an archer might worry a spectator more than a contestant (a stray arrow tends to hurt more than a stray golf ball), but Mrs. Kleinman wasn't that bad. She just wasn't winning. "I built up this afraid-you're-going-to-miss attitude," she explains. "I had the freezing problem so bad I couldn't let go of an arrow [and doesn't that sound like Hogan over a five-foot putt?]. It was completely psychological."
Most archers and golfers who have the yips either give up or, like Hogan and Snead, hang on and doggedly keep trying. But Mrs. Kleinman did something entirely different. She switched over and began shooting arrows left-handed. And her bold experiment seems to be paying off. She recently won a major tournament in Brown County, Ind. and appears to be as good as she used to be right-handed. She is aiming now at her old world championship, which will be held in August in Ohio. If she wins, you might hear that Ben and Sam are out shopping for left-handed putters.
GAMES PEOPLE PLAY
Adult nonsense continues to dominate children's games (SCORECARD, May 26). In Glen Ellyn, Ill. a dispute between two boys' football leagues (for kids from 9 to 14) came to a head when an official of one group allegedly punched the president of the second group in the mouth. What was the squabble about? Recruiting, for God's sake.
For a couple of years now representatives of the two leagues have been competing for players to the extent of visiting boys at their homes to argue the advantage of one league over the other and even, in the case of a particularly glittering prospect (say, a bruising 12-year-old running back), promising a football jacket if the boy signed with the right group.
Last month league officials met at a park board meeting where the radical suggestion was made that all recruiting be halted. Instead, boys would come to park offices, pick up literature extolling the leagues and, on a specified day, register with the one they preferred. Under the plan, a $500 bond would be forfeited if "solicitous recruiting" occurred. (It was not suggested at the meeting, but perhaps Walter Byers and the NCAA could be recruited by the leagues to supervise things.)
The rival officials left the meeting together, discussing the proposal. One thing led to another and ended with a fat lip. That may have been unfortunate, but it did set a good example. You know what football recruiters say about a choice prospect: he loves to hit.
Before a night game at White Sox Park in Chicago, three Minnesota Twins players and Coach Vern Morgan hopped in a cab outside their downtown hotel and said, blithely, "To the ball park." They settled down in deep conversation and paid no attention to where the cabby was taking them until they realized that they were approaching Wrigley Field, which is about eight miles north of White Sox Park. It seemed an unhappy but explainable error: the ballplayers are used to playing in one-team cities where the ball park is the ball park, and in two-team Chicago the cabby just happened to pick the wrong one. Except, as a chagrined Vern Morgan said later, after the cabby had pocketed $6 for what is ordinarily a $2 ride, "I asked him if he had ever heard of anybody playing night ball at Wrigley Field."
THE JUDGE TELLS IT TO 'EM
The old problem of people living in houses next to golf courses came up again recently in Cleveland. Mrs. Julia Patton of Rocky River, Ohio took the Westwood Country Club into court, asking that the club's golfers be enjoined from hitting balls onto her property, which is adjacent to the 15th hole. She lost her case and appealed, but the Ohio Eighth District Court of Appeals upheld the lower court. Its opinion, written by Appellate Judge J.J.P. Corrigan, who was obviously using every club in his bag, said in part: "It is generally known that the average golfer does not always hit the ball straight. See Gardner vs. Heldman (1948, 82 Ohio App. 1). One less than the Mosaic decalogue, the adjurations enjoined by acroamatic golf professionals, upon the millions of votaries of the royal and ancient sport, in interpreting the esoteric principles of the golf swing are: don't slice, hook, push, pull, sky, sclaff, smother, top or shank."
After more such discussion of golf cum law, including a discourse on a slice belonging to a fellow justice, Judge Corrigan finally got down to hitting the ball. He ruled that since Mrs. Patton had built her house after the golf course had been established, she had "come to the nuisance," so to speak. Conditions had not worsened, as she claimed, and the club had tried to alleviate the situation. Further modifications, he wrote, getting back on the legalistic fairway, would be "of doubtful efficacy."
Hell of a round, Judge.
Bob Seagren, the 1968 Olympic pole-vault champion, thinks vaulting competition should be changed. As it stands, the pole vault is usually the first event of a track and field program to get under way, and it is not at all uncommon to find the vaulters still at it when everybody else in the meet has packed up and gone home.
Seagren wants his event conducted the way the long jump is, or the shotput or discus throw, with each competitor getting a specific number of attempts, rather than having the entrants eliminated one by one as the bar climbs higher and higher. "I think each vaulter should get, say, six or seven tries," Seagren says, "maybe in two rounds of three or four each. He could have the bar set at any height he wants on each jump, and he would get credit for the best height he clears. Right now the pole vault and the high jump are the only events in which you can't set a world record on every try. But Bob Beamon set his long-jump record on his first attempt in the final round at the Olympics."
Seagren feels that his system, which would do away with the often interminable wait between attempts, would improve vaulting standards. "I've talked to most of the top American vaulters," he says, "and they all think it would be a good idea, or at least worth a try."
A recent medical study of professional pitchers states that about half of the 50 men examined had had elbow pain severe enough to keep them from pitching at various times in their careers and that almost two-thirds showed evidence of a pathologic condition in their elbows. The incidence of pathology increased with age: it was noted in five of the 12 pitchers under 21, in 13 of the 21 who were between 21 and 25, and in 14 of the 17 who were 26 and over. Grab a bat, kid. Stay off that mound.
SAD SALMON STORY
Fishing authorities in Great Britain are deeply concerned about the Atlantic salmon, which, they say, is in critical danger. A disease called Ulcerative Dermal Necrosis has reached epidemic proportions (in 1967-68, for example, 22,000 diseased salmon were removed from the Tweed River in Scotland, and this in a stream with an average rod-caught catch of 40,000). UDN has not yet been noticed on the western side of the Atlantic, but since North American and European salmon shoal together in their first year at sea the danger of the disease spreading is very real.
Beyond UDN, the salmon is also being threatened by widespread commercial netting, particularly off the coast of Greenland. And there are rumors that the Soviet Union and Japan, those giants of ocean fishing, have plans to begin netting operations in that area. Denmark, which governs Greenland, has apparently done little so far to limit netting operations. The Danes will be challenged on the matter this month in Warsaw, at an international conference of the nations concerned, but in the meantime the precipitous decline in numbers of a great fish continues.
We Americans like to cheer for the Crimson and White, the old Blue and Gold, the Maroon, the Big Green, but Pittsburgh Paints indicates that college football is falling behind the times. The company is selling 720 different shades of paint this year and very few are called anything as prosaic as red or blue. One green is known as Water Sprite, a blue is Riviera Surf, a gold is Ecru.
Of course, if the colleges do change their images with these "brighter, bolder" colors, the loyal fan will have a lot to get used to. For instance, Alabama's Crimson Tide could well become the Red Raspberry Tide. Georgia Tech's Yellow Jackets could be the Jonquil Jackets. The Big Red of Cornell might change to the Big Firecracker, which seems apt. The Syracuse Orangemen could be the Oriental Poppies, and turn on the entire student body.
Ohio State, no longer an old-hat scarlet and gray, would be the Sour Cherry and Old Linen. Notre Dame's Fighting Irish would trade gold and blue for Narcissus and Flax Blossom. And down in Durham they'd be yelling themselves hoarse for the Duke Daphne Devils.
On color TV an announcer would not say that Northwestern was in purple and Michigan State green. Instead he'd report, "That's Northwestern in the Grape Glace, folks, while Michigan State is in its traditional Glazed Mint."
Come on, you Narcissus and Flax Blossom!
THEY SAID IT
•Beans Reardon, former National League umpire, on the possibility of an electronic device someday replacing umpires: "It will never happen, because when you do that you've taken away all the alibis. Who can the managers blame losses on? Who can pitchers and hitters blame their troubles on? Believe me, the umpire will always be with us."
•Sam Jones, ex-Boston Celtics star, on the problems of youth: "I travel a lot and I see so many beautiful schools and play areas closed in the evenings. I see some of them closed in the summertime. We're not using these facilities the way they should be used."