ANOTHER PART OF THE FOREST
Here is a small, cheerful note from the racial front. At the Johnstown (Pa.) annual Christmas high school basketball tournament, the tournament's hostesses, all but one of them white, selected Ed Searcy, a black star from New York City's Power Memorial Academy, as the most popular player. And when A. D. Eisenhower High defeated Bishop McCort in the consolation round, Eisenhower's white coach, William Werkiser, had five black players on the floor most of the time, while McCort's black coach, Don Ferrell, used five white players the whole game.
Los Angeles Baptist College, a church school, has a starting forward on the basketball team named Dennis Lord. And one of the team's reserves is Claude Heavens.
The American League attendance figures for the last couple of seasons (SCORECARD, Sept. 8) have been based on the number of tickets sold for a game rather than the crowd actually in attendance. The league defends this practice partly on the grounds that when it comes time to split the gate with the visiting team it is only fair to include all tickets sold for that game. We agree, but we still question whether attendance figures can include people who are not present.
For instance, the Kansas City Royals reported a 1969 season attendance of 902,183, and this figure was duly carried in the published table for all teams in both major leagues. But at the end of the year a small item appeared in The Kansas City Star concerning the rental the Royals paid to the city for the use of Municipal Stadium. The item noted that the turnstile count at the stadium—which means the actual paid attendance—was 788,319. That was higher than any K.C. season attendance since 1959, but it was still almost 114,000—or more than three capacity crowds—fewer than the official American League figures.
Hypoing the attendance this way is a little like calling walks base hits in order to inflate batting averages.
Maybe the American League would do better in the attendance department if it took inspiration from the Christmas card sent out by the Chicago White Sox, who drew fewer than 600,000 people to spacious White Sox Stadium last season. The White Sox card showed the Star of Bethlehem shining over the stadium with the notation, "O come all ye faithful."
PLENTY OF ROOM
For that matter, do the White Sox really think they have attendance problems? Hah! A soccer game in West Berlin on a cold Sunday in December between VIB Neukd√∂lln and Hellas Nordwest, two teams in the top class of the amateur soccer league, drew a crowd of exactly three paying customers.
You may recall the flap in 1968 when it was disclosed that $72,000 raised in Dallas for the U.S. Olympic Fund never got to the U.S. Olympic Committee. One of the fund raisers, Mrs. Joyce Dodson Tate, a striking looking girl in her late 20s who had shown phenomenal skill in getting donations, was subsequently arrested (SI, April 15, 1968). The other day in Dallas she pleaded guilty in state court and was sentenced to two years in prison (to be served simultaneously with a five-year federal sentence in connection with the same offense).
Before she went into the courtroom Mrs. Tate quietly insisted that she had never received major benefits from the Olympic Fund and had none of the missing money, but in court she told the judge, "I am pleading guilty because I am guilty." Afterward, as she discussed plans to serve her sentence in the shortest possible time, she was asked how she could remain so calm in the face of going to jail.
"Why cry?" she replied. "It just ruins your makeup."
The country's moral fiber was threatened for a brief moment during a Jack Twyman TV interview with Willis Reed of the New York Knicks, between halves of a game that the Milwaukee Bucks and Lew Alcindor eventually won by 13 points from the league leaders. Twyman and Reed were discussing the superb game Alcindor was playing when the following dialogue ensued:
Reed: Lew has done a hell of a job on us.
Twyman (nervous laugh): A little colloquialism there, eh?
Reed (deadpan): Yeah, he's done a real good job.
One of the world's best goose fighters is a Tennessee farmer named Baxter Burdette, whose 115 acres are bordered on three sides by the Blythe Ferry Goose Preserve. Burdette says that geese which dropped in from the preserve ate 100 tons of silage last year that he needed for his dairy cattle. To keep it from happening again Burdette strung yards and yards of slow-burning fuses around his farm, with firecrackers attached and timed to go off at 15-minute intervals.
The ingenious system worked, and Burdette's silage stayed goose-free. But the State Game and Fish Commission and a host of hunters were not amused. They felt that the firecrackers were scaring the geese on the preserve and making them gun-shy. Burdette shrugged. Personally, he explained, he liked geese and wouldn't harm a feather on their heads, but he had to keep them off his farm. It was a matter of economics. The only alternative, he said, would be for him to take his cows in and have them graze on the hunters' lawns.
The NAIA, the athletic association that comprises the so-called little colleges and universities, has come up with its own All-Star football team. It is a 24-man All-Pro squad made up of NFL and AFL players who spent their college years at NAIA schools. The list is impressive:
TE Jackie Smith, NW Louisiana (St. L.)
SE Warren Wells, Tex. Southern (Oakland)
T Charlie Cowan, N.Mex. H'lands (L.A.)
T Lane Howell, Grambling (Philadelphia)
G Ken Gray, Howard Payne (St. L.)
G Gene Upshaw, Texas A&I (Oakland)
C Randy Rasmussen, Kearney State (N.Y.)
QB Randy Johnson, Texas A&I (Atlanta)
RB Carl Garrett, N.Mex. H'lands (Bos.)
FB Robert Holmes, Southern (K.C.)
FL Bob Hayes, Florida A&M (Dallas)
K Don Cockroft, Adams State (Cleveland)
E Deacon Jones, S. Carolina State (L.A.)
E Rich Jackson, Southern (Denver)
T Buck Buchanan, Grambling (K.C.)
T Gary Larsen, Concordia (Minnesota)
T Jethro Pugh, Elizabeth City (Dallas)
LB Garland Boyette, Grambling (Houston)
LB Al Beauchamp, Southern (Cincinnati)
CB Willie Brown, Grambling (Oakland)
CB James Marsalis, Tenn. A&I (K.C.)
S Lem Barney, Jackson State (Detroit)
S Eddie Meador, Arkansas Tech (L.A.)
K Mike Eischeid, Upper Iowa (Oakland)
A LONG WAY, BABY
Joggers and runners are clogging up the highways and the byways something terrible these days, and there seems to be no limit to their age or sex. The youngest, full-fledged, verified runner we've come across is Maryetta Boitano, who recently ran in the Petaluma Marathon in California—which is sanctioned by the Pacific AAU—and completed the official 26 miles, 385 yards in an admirable 4½ hours. Maryetta is 6. She has been running in distance races ever since she turned 5.
Her father, John Boitano, a co-owner of a San Francisco machine-tool company, runs, too, as does his wife. On Maryetta's running, he says, "I've heard it pro and con from doctors. Some say it is all wrong about Maryetta running at this early age. But they can't tell me why. Others object, too, but they admit frankly that they have no scientific evidence against it. Our own doctor checks her out frequently and says she's in perfect health. He says that running is fine for her, physically, and advises cutting back on it only when she loses interest." Like when she's a sophisticated 8?
The pole vaulters tried something new at the All-American Games in San Francisco last Saturday night. Instead of following the tradition of having all vaulters try three times to clear one height before raising the bar to the next height, each man was given a total of six vaults, each at any height he wanted.
Bob Seagren, the 1968 Olympic champion, had been one of the first to suggest the new system, but it backfired on him. He picked 17' for his first vault, made it, then missed once at 17'3" and, in an attempt to equal his indoor record, missed four times at 17'6". Meanwhile Sam Caruthers of San Jose State picked 16', made it, moved up to 17', made that, and then missed four times at 17'3". He and Seagren were thus tied for the best height of the evening—17'—but under the complicated rules of pole vaulting Caruthers'earlier 16' vault gave him first place.
If Seagren had elected to lower the bar on his last try to 16'6" and cleared it, he would have won. The crowd applauded when he ignored the chance for a cheap victory and continued to shoot for 17'6", but spectators generally expressed disappointment because they did not see enough successful vaults. Seagren cleared the bar only once, Caruthers twice and the two weakest vaulters in the seven-man field did not clear the bar at all. When they jumped for the first time the competitive heights had already gone beyond their reach, and for them the experiment was pointless.
Seagren said he found another weakness that he had anticipated but had not realized would be so pressing. "In normal progression," he explained, "you can conserve yourself, maybe take an hour's rest between vaults, while slowly peaking toward your highest mark. In this kind of event you have to keep warm all the time. You may start high, as I did, but then you have to be ready to go higher on every attempt.
"I'm not ready to say the system is good or bad—it's just an idea. But maybe it needs some refinement."
Until recently about the only thing ever invented to help the wintertime golfer was the red golf ball, for use when a dusting of snow on the fairway makes a white ball all but invisible. But in Texas they have at last come up with something besides the standard hip flask to help keep the cold-weather golfer warm. At San Antonio's Windcrest Golf Club golfers can ride in electric carts warmed by $45 portable butane heaters. The heaters come with a spare bottle of fuel and can keep two golfers warm for 18 holes. "You don't even need the spare bottle," says Homer Webb, the pro at Wind-crest who hit upon the idea. "We ran the heater full blast for 18 holes and didn't use up the first one."
Golf carts at Windcrest ordinarily rent for $5 a round, but carts with heaters go for $6. Webb, who even installed a heater on a pull cart to see how that works, says the heater has an advantage beyond comfort. "It makes a better putter of the golfer on a cold day," he says. "You can warm your hands before putting, and that really helps."
These days there is no hotter item in his pro shop, claims Webb.
THEY SAID IT
•Bill Fitch, Minnesota basketball coach, exiled from his home by quarantine since mid-December (SCORECARD, Jan. 5) after his third and last daughter came down with chicken pox: "If the dog doesn't get it I can go home in two weeks."
•Chuck Burkhart, Penn State quarterback, after the Nittany Lions beat Missouri in the Orange Bowl: "If we're not No. 1, we've got to be No. 1-A."
•Derek Sanderson, long-haired center of the Boston Bruins, after boarding the team bus without a tie—a violation of team rules that calls for a $50 fine—on being offered a conservative necktie by Coach Harry Sinden: "Gee, Harry, can't I take the fine instead?"