ARMS AND THE GAME
College football traditionally evokes images of lovely autumn afternoons, falling leaves, pretty girl cheerleaders, bands, excitement, a good time. Now fear has become part of the mixture. A staff member on another assignment attended the Nebraska-Army game and came away with this reaction: "It had been a year since I'd seen a college game, and the change was chilling. Here I was in grass-roots America, Lincoln, Neb., and there were two police helicopters almost constantly circling the stadium. City policemen, highway patrolmen and sheriff's deputies were evident everywhere, both in the stands and down on the field around the AstroTurf. They were not at all the relaxed policemen you see lounging in seats at Shea Stadium, but men whose eyes moved constantly, alert for trouble and afraid of it. I asked a college administrator if the precautions were because Nebraska was playing the Military Academy. He said, 'No. We took the same precautions for Wake Forest, and they will be in effect at every game we play at home this year. We don't want to be caught with our pants down.'
"Among the precautions are: 1) the use of two shifts of Lincoln police, one for traffic and one in the stadium. When the traffic detail is finished it is brought to the stadium to beef up security. 2) Elaborate plans to deal with bomb threats and demonstrations. The university will not reveal details, but a school publicity man called a 'bomb briefing' to tell the press that plans were in force. 3) Guarding the AstroTurf night and day, with added men put on duty 24 hours before a game. Lights are left on, and there is campus talk that dogs are used. 4) Watching pep rallies. The Army game rally mustered only 200 students on Friday night, but was accompanied by three squad cars with flashing lights and four policemen in enclosed motorcycles. I asked a public-relations man why all the police? He said they were guarding the students. It occurred to me that perhaps the place where police force is most evident these days is at football games."
The Seven Eagles restaurant near Chicago, unhappy with the Second City's second baseball team, is offering a new drink to its customers. It's called the White Sox Cocktail because, the proprietors claim, it's a steady cellar.
A football fan named Bill Pryce won an Ask the Coach contest run by The San Diego Union by asking why football doesn't have a rule requiring a player who incurs a penalty to identify himself by raising his arm, as in basketball. "This would let fans know who the guilty party is," argued Pryce, "and it might help to reduce the number of penalties, far too large now."
Coach Charlie Waller of the San Diego Chargers commented, "I think it's a good idea. I'm constantly trying to find out who committed the foul, too. When it's something like pass interference you know who the offender is, but when the foul is in the interior line you never know who is guilty."
The Boston Marathon, up to now a prestige event for impulsive, spur-of-the-moment athletes as well as for the finest distance runners in the world, is changing its complexion. Until last year, anybody could enter the marathon just as long as he passed the physical examination and was not a woman (which did not stop some ladies from running anyway, as unofficial participants). In the past decade the entry list grew wildly, year by year; last April, despite the introduction of some restrictions, there were more than a thousand starters. It was simply too much to cope with, argue harried Boston officials, who now will approve an entry only if the would-be contestant meets these requirements: 1) he must have run an AAU-sanctioned marathon in 3½ hours or better at some point in his career; or 2) during the past year he must have completed a 10-mile race within 65 minutes, a 15-mile race within 1¾ hours or a 20-mile race within 2½ hours.
It is all very logical and sensible, and one hesitates to criticize the people who, after all, have the annual problem of coping with the hordes of one-day-a-year athletes. But seeing the Boston Marathon change from an exuberant extravaganza into just another athletic event is somehow depressing.
A LOT OF CRUZEIROS
Soccer has failed to catch on in the U.S. as a big-time spectator sport, but those of us who are impressed by the bales of money that winning professionals cart home after the Super Bowl ($23,000), the World Series ($18,000) and the NBA playoffs ($9,000) should be aware of the payoff at soccer's top level. Each player (and the coach) on the Brazil team that won the World Cup in Mexico last summer (SI, June 29) has received awards totaling about 133,000 cruzeiros (which figures out to $28,000), plus shares of stock in the Brazilian Light and Power Co. and a license to operate an agency in a newly formed sports lottery. That ain't coffee beans.
Against the pleas of conservationists and sportsmen, Congress has approved a White House-sponsored measure that effectively takes responsibility for saltwater game-fish research away from the conservation-oriented Interior Department and gives it to the industry-oriented Commerce Department. The primary function of the Commerce Department is "to foster, promote, and develop the foreign and domestic commerce, the mining, manufacturing, shipping, and fishery industries...." Just how the Government can hold that such goals are compatible with the responsibility for managing and conserving sports fisheries and the natural resources of the sea is incomprehensible. Chalk up another defeat for conservation.
MUTINY WITH A BOUNTY
But mark up a victory for conservation, too. When we left the Hudson River Fishermen's Association (SI, Feb. 16), the Penn Central Railroad had pleaded guilty and paid $4,000 in fines for discharging oil into the Hudson at Harmon, N.Y. Yet members of the HRFA, who had for years screamed about the railroad's violation of the 1899 Federal Refuse Act, were near revolt. A little-known clause in this seldom-enforced law says that half of any fine shall be paid to the person or persons reporting the polluter, but some federal officials were trying to pretend the HRFA had nothing to do with the case. Now justice has triumphed. U.S. Attorney Whitney North Seymour Jr. of New York presented the HRFA with a treasury check for $2,000. According to Seymour, a new appointee who himself urged the Government to pay up, this is the first time a private group has ever received the bounty ordered by Congress 71 years ago. Said a happy Richard Garrett, president of the HRFA: "We're going to use the $2,000 to fight other polluters, but what's really important is not the amount but the precedent. Now other people on any other body of water in the country can go after a polluter just as we did and collect a reward for their troubles."
The Southern California Darts Association reports that the First Annual North American Open Dart Tournament was held in Culver City, Calif. this summer, with staggering success. Vince Lubbering won the singles title (and a $1,000 first prize), Robbi Dobbs won the ladies' singles, Conrad Daniels and Joe Young won the doubles and a five-man group sponsored by William Pflaumer & Sons of Philadelphia, a beer distributor, flew all the way from Pennsylvania to Southern California to win the team championship. All this unquestionably is of gripping interest to darts addicts, but what catches the awed imagination of the casual follower of the sport, who can take darts or leave them alone, is an on-the-spot account of the tournament that says the players and spectators in Culver City consumed more than 5,000 bottles of beer, one ton of ice, 16 cases of liquor, 300 bowls of chili, 700 hot dogs, 300 assorted sandwiches, 28 cases of soft drinks and 15 committee-member straw hats. Mustard on the hats was optional.
When the football season began, the twin cities of Fargo, N. Dak. and Moorhead, Minn. had three local football teams with impressive records. Shanley High of Fargo, undefeated since 1964, was on a 54-game winning streak. North Dakota State of Fargo, the top College Division team in the country in 1968 and 1969, had won 20 straight, including two bowl games. Concordia College of Moorhead, which had lost a bowl game, had won 10 straight regular-season games. Then, on a Friday night in Grand Forks, N. Dak., Shanley's winning streak ended in a 0-0 tie. On Saturday night in Fargo, North Dakota State's ended in a 14-14 tie. And on Saturday night in Moorhead, Concordia's ended in a 20-20 tie. All within 24 hours.
Well, at least it wasn't a loss weekend.
Wimbledon will follow Forest Hills' lead next year and introduce sudden-death scoring to tennis. However, it may not be the system used this year by the Americans. Herman David, who runs Wimbledon, watched the U.S. Open championships at Forest Hills and came away dissatisfied with the idea of introducing the tie breaker after the score of a set reaches 6 all. "That's too early," he says. "Ultimately, it favors the weaker or older player, and stamina must play a part in the game. We'd prefer to bring in the tie breaker after 8 all or 9 all." Nor is he enthusiastic about the current method of using a best-five-of-nine-point game to break the deadlock (one player serves twice, the other serves twice, the first serves twice again and then the second serves three times—until one player wins five points). David argues that this gives too much advantage to the man with the last three serves. He prefers a conventional scoring pattern—love, 15, 30, 40, advantage in and out, etc.—but with single, alternating serves. "That seems fairest," he says.
But David agrees that the tie breaker is here to stay. "That's certain," he says. "Spectators won't stand for marathon tennis."
The Stanford-USC game has been sold out for weeks in the 90,000-seat Stanford Stadium. For the first time in years, scalpers are appearing on the college scene in California. The sellout also inspired an ad in a local paper from a real-estate firm, offering two 50-yard-line seats free—with the purchase of a house for $43,950. Now that Stanford has lost to Purdue, how about $33,950?
A fellow named Howard Mitcham writes a column in the Provincetown (Mass.) Advocate called "The Cape Tip Gourmet." Recently, he wrote about the delights of eating striped bass, that elusive game fish so frequently not caught in North Atlantic waters. The recipe section of the column was entitled, "How to Stuff a 35-pound Striped Bass," and the list of ingredients, which included oysters, clams, shrimp tails, scallops, salt pork, eggs, onions, mushrooms, peppers, celery, cloves, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco, French white wine, Portuguese bread, butter, Wesson Oil, salt and pepper, begins with "one 35-pound striped bass." Howard, we can get the other stuff, but we've had a little trouble finding that striper. Any suggestions?
THEY SAID IT
•Lionel Aldridge, Green Bay's 6'4", 245-pound end: "I'm not big enough any more. The game's outgrown me."
•Mayo Smith, deposed manager of the Detroit Tigers: "Detroit fans don't know anything about baseball. They couldn't tell the difference between baseball players and Japanese aviators."
•Al Kaline, veteran star of the Tigers: "I wouldn't want to keep playing if I thought next year would be like this one. How can anyone do his best in an atmosphere like this?"