Will basketball never stop its invasion of the arts? Not content with inspiring a massive novel and an award-winning play (SCORECARD, May 29), it is now daring the Olympian heights of TV drama. Or series. Or whatever they call those weekly visits to the same people. This one, tentatively scheduled for presentation in 1973, has the working title of Junior Harlem Globetrotters and is about five black youngsters, their basketball coach and his wife. Will it be any good? All we can do is wait and see.
WHEN IN ROME
The muted traditions of tennis—polite applause for a good shot, considerate silence for an error—are not known everywhere. In Pikesville, Md. the high school baseball and tennis teams often travel to out-of-town contests together. Usually the tennis players finish their match first and then go root for the baseball team. But on one recent trip the baseball game ended first, and the infielders, outfielders, catchers and pitchers trooped over to the tennis court to reciprocate in kind. Except that they cheered the way you do at baseball games.
"They applauded whenever we scored a point," said Tennis Coach Jerry Miller, "but, unfortunately, they also cheered when the other team made a bad play. How were they to know? They had never finished their game first before. I had to explain the customs of tennis to them, and then I spent the rest of the match giving them cues. I'd nod my head 'yes' or shake it 'no.' They were O.K. after that."
All right. George Allen of the Washington Redskins, wheeling and dealing draft choices for veteran players, got into a bind when it came out that he had traded the same draft choices to different clubs. Allen had to back and fill, and compensatory arrangements had to be made. The NFL eventually slapped an official reprimand on the Washington coach and a $5,000 fine on the Redskins for their careless ways at the trading table. Life moved on.
But a question remains: How could the league have allowed such duplication to take place and then not catch up with it until months later? Surely, the league must keep records of who gives what and who gets what. Surely, all trades and transactions must clear the league office. They do, they do, says the NFL. Except that in this case the man who usually handled such things had left to take another job and in the changeover there was an unfortunate slipup. Could it ever happen again? "No," snapped Commissioner Pete Rozelle.
You can bet it won't, especially since Allen, who apparently believes you can get away with the same thing twice, has been similarly careless in the past. But the fact remains: His club was fined $5,000 for a mistake Allen presumably could not have made if the league office had been more efficiently run.
Willie Mays' amazing (the only acceptable adjective) play after joining the New York Mets prompted the repeated comment, "He has a young body." Dr. George Sheehan, the sportsman and physician, disagrees. "He has a 41-year-old body," Sheehan observes, "and he has a lot more going for him than most people suspect. First of all, he is in superb shape, and any cardio-pulmonary physiologist can tell you that a well-trained and fit 40-and-over can perform at the level of an average man 10 years his junior. The heart and lung functions that are quickest to deteriorate are also the easiest to reestablish through hard work. Second, nerve conduction and reaction time decrease extremely slowly and are still 85% of normal at age 85. Mays could well be hitting for the cycle when he goes on Social Security. Third, 'Exercise is the best preservative we know,' says Dr. Alex Comfort, the British expert on aging. He cites ballerinas, orchestra conductors, runners, cyclists, weight lifters. He may add Mays to the list. Finally, Mays has motivation. Critic Elizabeth Hardwick says, 'When great creative artists are granted a long life they appear to find some vital source within themselves that can set the decrepitudes of age at a distance.' Mays found that vital source, and his heroic feats as a Met have set the decrepitudes of age at a distance not only from him but from all us aging also-rans and never-weres. He is the greatest boost to our morale since Balzac said that 52 was the age at which men were most attractive to women."
A man like Mays, accustomed to being a hero, carries it off with style. Lesser men sometimes have trouble. Running around the bases after hitting a home run should be the easiest thing in baseball, but with the Chicago Cubs, for specific instance, it's different. I 'or the Cubs, home runs are dangerous. Earlier this season Billy Williams waited to welcome Ron Santo after the latter's home run. Santo came in, gleefully jumped on home plate and then stepped on Williams' left foot, cutting his big toe. Last week Jose Cardenal hit a home run, tapped hands with teammate Glenn Beckert at home plate and turned toward the dugout. As he did, Beckert took a quick practice swing and accidentally whacked Cardenal in the head.
Critics say the Cubs have been having trouble with fundamentals all season. Now Leo Durocher may have to give them home-run-greeting practice.
Golf promoters like to have as many stars in their tournaments as possible, but inevitably one big name or another elects to take a week off at just the wrong time. In an attempt to cut down on such absenteeism, the three major Texas tournaments—the Byron Nelson at Dallas, the Houston Classic at Houston and the Colonial National Invitational at Fort Worth—may put up a special incentive prize of $50,000 to go to the low combined scorer in the three events.
Dave Marr, a Houston resident who won the PGA championship in 1965, says, "I think the top golfers will go for the idea. All of them like to take periodic rests. I know Jack Nicklaus doesn't like to be away from his family three weeks in a row, but $50,000 might interest him enough to bring his family with him for part of the Texas tour. I've known Arnold Palmer to play five straight weeks, so why not three straight here? Listen, $50,000 has to get their attention, whether they're Jack or Arnie or anyone else. I tried to get Lee Trevino to play in Houston this year, but he was taping a TV commercial that week and couldn't. If you make it attractive enough, golfers would arrange their schedules so they could make it."
The three tournaments are expected to raise their combined prize money from $375,000 to $450,000 next year, with $30,000 a tournament for the winner. Conceivably, a blazing hot golfer could leave Texas with three first places and $140,000.
Women's golf is going upper-income, too. With the $25,000 Portland Classic added to the LPGA tour, the women now have 29 tournaments and slightly more than $1 million to shoot for. As of May 15, Jane Blalock, the leading money-winner, had $31,000 in purses stashed away, and four others had winnings of $22,000 or more.
If your daughter shows small aptitude for booming drives or delicate approach shots, you might buy her a horse and send her to William Woods College in Fulton, Mo. Up until now, all she could take at William Woods was a minor in equitation, but beginning next autumn the century-old four-year college for women will offer a Bachelor of Science degree in Equestrian Studies. Along with, presumably, instruction on how to achieve a proper seal, courses will include Fundamentals of Veterinary Medicine, History of Breeds, Farrier Science and Stable Management. We assume the latter includes mucking out stalls.
The Hudson River Fishermen's Association, Inc., whose members ordinarily go after striped bass and while perch, have hooked into quite a lunker: a U.S. Treasury check for $20,000, the largest ever given under the reward provision of the Federal Refuse Act of 1899. According to the law, anyone who reports a polluter of navigable waters can collect a percentage of the fine. Federal Judge Thomas F. Croake, who fined Anaconda Wire & Cable Co. $200,000, ruled that the Fishermen's Association was entitled to $20,000 for its complaints to Government officials about the pollution.
The association will give half the reward to one of its members, Fred Dan-back of Yonkers, N.Y., who was initially responsible for calling the violation to Government attention. The remaining $10,000 will he used by the fishermen to press action against other polluters.
OH, THOSE KENYANS
Kenya, whose runners won three golds, four silvers and a bronze at the Mexico City Olympics in 1968, has come up with a new track star. His name is Kip Korir and his feats, modest by international standards, have made him a hero in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, where he is a sophomore at Coe College. Coe scored an upset in winning the Midwest Conference track and field championship when Korir scored or helped to score 42 of Coe's 83 points. He won the 220, the 440, the javelin and the triple jump, tan anchor on the winning mile-relay team, was second in the long jump and tan a leg on the 440-yard-relay team, which finished second.
Korir has since returned to his home in Kericho, Kenya, and will try out for his country's Olympic team at 800 meters, his best event. Since Kenya has at least six half-milers who are better than he is, his chances of getting to Munich are slight. Coe doesn't care. Next year Coach Wayne Phillips intends to let Korir add the half mile to his college repertory and says he will try to find a ninth event for him when he is a senior.
Congressman William Whitehurst of Virginia, who has introduced a bill in Congress for the study of timber wolves, is up in arms over a Defense Department order for 250,000 fur-lined parka hoods. The specified lining is wolf fur, which is prized for its resistance to moisture and the formation of frost. The National Wildlife Federation estimates that 25,000 wolves (about 10 ruffs can be made from each pelt) would be needed to fill the order: that is half the wolf population of North America. And the animal is already on the Federal Government's list of endangered species.
"The wolf is a victim of its own mythology," Congressman Whitehurst says. "Laws protecting it are needed. We will be poorer for its demise."
In suburban New York, the East Yonkers Pee Wee League got off to a rousing start when Unique Hair Style edged Ed Siebert's Nine 118-28 in five innings. The Uniques scored at least 21 runs in each inning. One eager player, possibly left-handed, circled the bases the wrong way. Another caught a fly ball for an out after it had bounded off the head of a teammate. The Yonkers Herald Statesman put the story on the front page. Naturally.
THEY SAID IT
•Dr. Karl Kapp, of Basel University in Switzerland, at an international conference on the quality of life: "Had there been a computer in 1872 it would probably have predicted that by now there would be so many horse-drawn vehicles it would be impossible to clear up all the manure."
•Norm Miller of the Houston Astros on San Diego's bright yellow uniforms: "They look like ajar of mustard."
•Thomas Austin (Amarillo Slim) Pearson, after winning $60,000 in a winner-take-all "World Series" of poker in Las Vegas: "I have a wife, three kids and a dog. I've coached Little League, and I don't gamble in my hometown."