ORANGE AND BLACK
Syracuse University, famed in past years for black stars like Jim Brown, Ernie Davis, Jim Nance and Floyd Little, is having profound trouble with its current generation of black football players. Last spring nine of the 10 blacks on the squad stayed away from spring practice; their action, they said, was the result of Syracuse's repeated failure to hire a black assistant coach. (A visit to the practice sessions by Little, now with the Denver Broncos, during which he criticized the attitude of some of the undergraduate black players, appeared to trigger the walkout.) John Corbally, chancellor of the university, who had been maintaining a hands-off attitude, instructed Head Coach Ben Schwartzwalder to hire a black assistant before fall practice began, and Carlmon Jones of Florida A&M subsequently joined the staff. Meanwhile, Schwartzwalder sent letters to the black athletes who had missed the spring drills, telling them, "If you have any interest in returning to football, it is essential that you see me personally before August 1. Your status will be discussed at this time."
How many blacks requested interviews is not clear, but most of them spoke to Schwartzwalder either personally or by telephone. When notices were sent to players to report to fall practice, only two of the nine rebelling blacks were on the list; the other seven were not invited because of their "attitude." They then filed a complaint against Schwartzwalder and the coaching staff with the local Human Rights Commission.
White players on the squad were generally in sympathy with Schwartzwalder's action. Joe Ehrmann, a tackle, said, "Sure, we're going to miss them, but they more or less brought it on themselves. There wasn't a racist issue on the club. It was just a separatist attitude: blacks and whites doing what they wanted, by themselves." Ray White, another tackle last year, said, "Most of us were for Ben's choice. The idea was that we weren't against the demands of the blacks. It's just that they quit."
Greg Allen, one of the blacks who had been invited back, said, "All summer I've prepared myself to play football. I want to play. But I don't know all of the present situation. I thought we had a justified complaint. We had been told that we would have a black assistant coach at spring practice. I feel the whole problem would have ended, now that there is a black coach, if the seven had been permitted to play this fall."
Chicago and New York have both talked about building artificial ski slopes for city dwellers out of compacted garbage and solid waste. It sounds fairly gamy but, assuming land is available and costs not extreme, Garbage Mountains make a lot of sense, since they provide a symbiotic solution to two pressing urban needs: garbage disposal and recreation areas. And you wouldn't be skiing through tin-can moguls or down bed-spring slopes. Dirt covers the waste and the deodorized and disinfected junk, and grass covers the dirt. Snow, of course, is another problem.
GET YOUR COLD BEER
When vendors at Milwaukee Brewer games in County Stadium are out of Schlitz, they're out of beer—or almost. After getting complaints from readers that the vendors were refusing to sell Pabst and Miller, two other Milwaukee beers, The Milwaukee Journal had a young reporter apply at the ball park for work as a beer hawker. He was hired and, according to his account, was instructed to sell seven cases of Schlitz for every two of Pabst and one of Miller. Checkers under the stands kept track of the cases of beer each vendor took out to sell to the crowd to make sure that of every 10 cases taken seven were Schlitz. The reporter was told, "If they ask you for Pabst, tell them we don't have enough cooler space to cool as much Pabst."
The arrangement is not as arbitrary as it sounds. Robert A. Uihlein Jr., the president of Schlitz, is one of the owners of the ball club, and Schlitz is a major sponsor of radio and television broadcasts of Brewer games. Allan (Bud) Selig, president of the club, freely granted that Schlitz had a favored position. "It is a basic fact in the baseball business," he said, "that when a brewery makes a deal for radio and TV rights, the beer sales in the stadium go along with it."
And the arrangement violates no laws. The Brewers' contract with Milwaukee County specifies that no product shall be sold on an exclusive basis. Almost exclusive doesn't count.
This summer Ann Landers ran a letter in her advice-to-the-careworn column that warned against cutting open golf balls to see what is inside. The letter said that a neighborhood child had done just that and was horribly injured ("I don't want to go into detail, but the boy will never look the same"). The letter went on: "Kids don't realize that the center of the ball sometimes contains sulfuric acid as well as zinc sulfide and other materials that can be harmful." Ann dutifully printed the letter along with a stern but gentle admonition to parents.
Well, now. In his marvelous book "Where Did You Go?" "Out." "What Did You Do?" "Nothing.", Robert Paul Smith reviewed some of the myths of childhood, among them the absolutely unquestioned one that if you cut into the center of a golf ball you would be horribly poisoned, just as you would automatically get lockjaw if you happened to cut the cord of skin between thumb and forefinger. Smith described the incredible day when the center of a golf ball was cut into. Sure enough, an ugly, poisonous-looking fluid oozed out... but nothing happened. Nobody dropped dead, nobody was poisoned, nobody was even disfigured for life.
Who is right, Ann Landers or Robert Paul Smith? Jack Havey, vice-president in charge of research at Wilson Sporting Goods, says, "When golf balls were first manufactured in this country, some of them contained an acid salt called zinc chloride in the center, which is harmful and corrosive, particularly to the eyes. For the last 30 years, however, no American-made ball has had any chemical irritating material in the center [Havey could not be as certain about foreign-made golf balls]. Our Wilson balls, for instance, have either solid or fluid centers, the latter either paste or water.
"But the fluid in the center of today's golf balls is contained in rubber at a pressure of something more than 2,000 pounds per square inch. If someone cut into a ball the sudden release of that pressure would be like a small explosion, and it could do damage, just as water from a fire hose would. The damage would be mechanical, rather than chemical, but it could be painful and possibly disfiguring. So, while there's nothing poisonous in there, children should be told not to cut into golf balls."
Especially new ones, fresh out of Daddy's bag.
The coolly efficient, splendidly organized Germans would be the last people in the world you'd expect to get cute over the 1972 Olympics, right? Wrong. A bulletin from Munich says the official mascot for the '72 Games will be a dachshund. More than that, its name will be Olympia-Waldi, and copies of it will be on sale all over the place, in plastic, in soft cuddly rubber and in teddy-bear versions.
The real live Olympia-Waldi, a 3-month-old wirehaired dachshund with an illustrious pedigree, was presented to Monsieur Félix Lévitan, president of the Association Internationale de la Presse Sportive, by the Munich Organizing Committee, and that makes it official. The full-grown model for those hundreds of thousands of commercially viable mascots is named Chérie von Birkenhof. Its sire was world champion in a canine beauty contest, the committee said coyly, and the dam was a national champion in German sporting dog trials.
All right. It is too late to stop it now. Still, if they had to have a mascot for the Munich Games, the Germans appear to have goofed. Why not a German shepherd, kind of a big, reliable Rin Tin Tin hero image? Or maybe a fierce Doberman, the sort of dog that would patrol the track, ever ready to bite any non-German who dared finish first? Now there is a mascot's mascot.
A. J. Liebling once described high school football coaches as "a cross between plantation overseer and YMCA secretary," and it is unhappily true that many of this dedicated breed believe that their mission in life is to instill in their charges a curious combination of pseudo-religious zeal and abject obedience to coachly authority. A happy exception is George Davis, football coach at Willits High School in Willits, Calif. Every Wednesday during the football season Davis distributes ballots to his players, and they vote on the question of who will be in the starting lineup for that week's game. Last year, his first at Willits, was an edgy one for Davis. His small democracy in action lost its first four games and there were authoritative growls from the stands. But the team settled down, turned things around and eventually finished in a tie for the league championship, something no Willits team had done before.
The Davis system stems from his memory of college football when a teammate who later played with the San Francisco 49ers for five years was only third string. "I couldn't figure out why me and a couple of other guys were playing and he wasn't," Davis says. "I decided that if I was going to coach, I wouldn't make the same mistake. I decided to let the squad vote because there's less chance of 40 guys being wrong. I didn't realize at the time what a motivational factor it would be. In practice there is better concentration and more alertness. The players are learning about the entire team, not just one position.
"What it teaches is responsibility. I think many people—and I'm not necessarily limiting this to football coaches—feel that the human animal is motivated better by fear than by your belief in him. I think that's wrong. I have faith in their ability. They really become informed and involved, and they learn to choose correctly.
"I believe school is a preparation for life, and I think football is part of school. They learn more about democracy and the vote out on the football field than they do in history class."
GOOD SMALL MEN
Just about everything in Little League baseball, except for an occasional outsize pitcher, is scaled down to suit the general dimensions of the boys playing the game. Now Aaron Johnson, a junior high school teacher in Baltimore, has scaled down basketball. After comparing his young son with a 10-foot basket, Johnson devised a portable goal that can be adjusted to heights from 7½' down to 3½' from the floor. The backboard is 30" by 26", instead of the standard 72" by 48", and the hoop itself is only 12" in diameter, instead of 18", which is better suited to the six-or eight-inch ball a kid might want to use in place of a regulation basketball with a 9.6-inch diameter. Johnson has patented his invention, which can be used indoors or out, and has copyrighted two names for it: Mini-Hoopster and Mini-Dunker.
It sounds like a fine idea, but what would you be willing to bet that some towering 4-foot-high first-graders don't come along to stuff shots and dominate the game?
The Rev. Bill Frazier, a Baptist minister from Gadsden, Ala., who says he has always been a stock-car-racing fan, showed up at the Talladega 500 NASCAR race last week towing a portable church, complete with six pews, a pulpit and a sign on the side that said "The Chapel."
"You see Goodyear, Prestone, Grey-Rock and just about everything else you can think of at these races," the Rev. Frazier said. "I figured it was time the Lord got a little representation. I'm going to promote God just like the other guys promote STP." He said some of the drivers had been a little difficult to approach, possibly because "they're so close to death they don't want to think about it. But wives like the idea, and occasionally a driver will ask me to pray for an engine."
FAREWELL TO EAGLES
Another sad chapter in the continuing story of pesticides: bald eagles appear headed for extinction in Maine. Of 30 nests examined, twin birds were found in three, single eaglets in five and no young at all in the other 22, although the parent birds were still tending the nests in a futile, instinctive attempt to achieve reproduction. Studies show that unhatched eggs in Maine contain about 23 parts per million of DDT, an intolerably high level. Biologist Frank Ligas says, "Two of Maine's most polluted rivers, the Kennebec and the Androscoggin, flow into Merrymeeting Bay. The eagles in that area lay eggs every year but have not hatched one since 1963."
THEY SAID IT
•Alden Capen, general manager of Cool-front Recreation in Berkeley Springs, W. Va., telling the history of littering: "Back in the days when primitive man was still living in trees, he would peel a banana, eat it and throw the skin over his shoulder. There were some that would peel a banana, eat it and climb down out of the tree to bury the skin. Soon all of the early men that buried their skins were eaten by the lions and tigers and the ones that survived were those that tossed the skins over their shoulders. Therefore, we have a society that survived because they were litterers."
•Red Auerbach, general manager of the Boston Celtics, in comparing the NBA and the ABA: "All the good ABA guards are small. How are your little Kentucky guards going to do against the NBA guards, fellows like West, Robertson, Frazier and Havlicek? They'd just maneuver those little fellows inside and shoot over them."
•Bob Leonard, coach of the ABA champion Indiana Pacers, after hearing Auerbach's statements: "I don't think there are any guards in the NBA, either, who can guard West, Robertson, Frazier and Havlicek."