TERROR IN MUNICH
The murder of the Israeli athletes in Munich is a disaster of a kind that must not be repeated, and one way to ensure that is to abolish the Olympic Games.
If the organizers of the Games cannot prevent them from becoming a political arena, there is no sporting sense in holding them. Recent evidence is that the organizers are unable to do just that. The Olympics represent too attractive a forum for political action, ranging from the parade of national prejudice to blackmail of nations deemed undesirable, from the cynicism of small-time politicking to its most extreme extension: war and terrorism.
The object of a demonstrator, rioter or terrorist is to draw attention to himself or his cause, and how can he better achieve that than by choosing as his turf the Olympic Games, which now must be the most widely covered, regularly staged event in the history of the world?
A less drastic solution would be to sectionalize the Games. World track championships could be held in one place, world swimming elsewhere at another time, and so forth. Each championship would be a briefer and less important affair, consequently less of a temptation to exploitation. Another approach might be to revise the nationalist structure of the competition so that athletes no longer primarily represent their countries.
The International Olympic Committee has a new president, Lord Killanin of Ireland, and the IOC's first order of business must be reform of the Games, if not their abolition.
SEA CHANGE IN THE BIG EIGHT
A startling change of opinion about the Big Eight football race and national rankings has taken place. In July regional media people voted Nebraska the preseason favorite for the conference championship. Nebraska got 40 first-place votes, Colorado was second with 29 and Oklahoma, picked for third, got 19.
Since then another poll of writers and broadcasters has been announced, this one undertaken after 34 of them had visited all eight training sites. Now Oklahoma has been given 24 first-place votes, Nebraska only nine and Colorado three. Kansas State was chosen fourth, Iowa State fifth, Kansas sixth, Oklahoma State seventh and Missouri eighth.
This poll, in turn, is at variance with the national Associated Press poll, which put Nebraska first in the nation, Colorado second and Oklahoma sixth.
Many of those voting in an AP poll have no personal knowledge of most of the teams. But the Big Eight area writers have just had an opportunity to see all teams in practice, and their surge to Oklahoma seems significant enough to pass on to you.
And Nebraska lost, 20-17, in its season's opener against UCLA.
USED CAR MARKET UP SHARPLY
Ever since high school days in Lockport, N.Y., "years and years ago," Charles R. Wood had wanted to own a Duesenberg. Now he has one, none other than a 24-foot-long, shiny maroon Doozy that once belonged, in 1933, to Greta Garbo. Cost: $90,000.
Wood made his buy at an auction held during the second annual Auburn-Cord-Duesenberg Festival in Auburn, Ind. Four persons started the bidding, but it soon dwindled to a two-man affair between Wood and Darrell Harper of Cincinnati. Harper stopped at $89,000, after a nudge from Mrs. Harper.
Wood now has 23 cars in his antique car museum at Lake George, N.Y. He says the Duesenberg, reputedly able to do 110 mph in second gear, will be the queen of his collection and will be named, naturally, Greta.
SOMETHING FOR A RAINY DAY
Even with plenty of towels it has been impossible to keep footballs suitably dry during a game on a rainy day.
Now comes Clarence C. Beadle Jr. of Berwick, La. He has been awarded a patent for an electric drier, portable so that it can be carried along the sidelines. The drier, shaped somewhat like a football except that it is larger, is designed so that the ball can be put inside and then, after a blower and heating coils have done their work, taken out and reintroduced to the game.
The dry ball is exchanged for a wet ball from the playing field, and the cycle starts again.
BUNNY BAITS BEAGLES
Early this spring a snowshoe rabbit took up housekeeping under Lewis H. Giroux's barn in Winslow, Maine. One day she hopped out from under the barn with six little ones trailing her.
Giroux, though he is a hunter and beagle enthusiast, enjoyed watching them until one of the young bunnies began annoying his four dogs. It took to relieving itself directly in front of the beagles' pen, to their consternation and disgust, which they expressed with loud noises. Giroux grew tired of awakening at 5 a.m. to shoo the rabbit away. And it did no good, since the rabbit would return in a matter of minutes.
Giroux livetrapped the rabbit and twice tried dropping it in remote spots. Each time the rabbit returned to resume its baiting of the beagles.
It took a little thinking, but Giroux finally outsmarted the rabbit. He turned the dogs' pen around so that it faced the woods instead of his lawn. The rabbit still returns to its favorite spot, but the dogs don't care. They now look the other way.
NOTE TO PARENTS
For your son's financial future, if he is athletically inclined, consider basketball.
According to the Professional Football Players Association, which may be prejudiced, a National Basketball Association player has an average salary of $50,000 a year. Major league hockey is next at $32,000. Baseball averages $31,000 and there, down at the bottom of the heap, lies the poor old football player, averaging $28,000.
SLIM CHANCE FOR ELI
ELI's comin'. He is a sports-minded cousin to Hal, the talking computer in 2001: A Space Odyssey. ELI, for Electronic Line Indicator, was developed by a Houston firm headed by Fred Karsten, a tennis umpire for more than 25 years. Karsten's idea is to eliminate human error in calling ins and outs in tennis and, for that matter, in other sports, like baseball (balls and strikes) and football (first downs and field goals). No more Leo Durocher confrontations at the plate on a bad call by an umpire. No more flung rackets at the stands at Forest Hills. Electronics tells all.
ELI tells whether a tennis ball has nipped the tape or has just missed it, which is something few linesmen are capable of doing with infallibility.
"ELI eliminates the possibility of human error," says Karsten, "and I'm the first to admit that tennis officiating is full of it. It also reduces the number of official judges for a match from 12, which is ridiculously high, to three."
Those three would operate 10 transmitter-receiver sets needed for a singles match (14 for doubles) and something called a vibrometer which would detect "let" serves.
ELI not only would make the close calls that cause such controversy now, but also would announce his decisions from a three-word vocabulary of "Out," "Footfault" and "Fault."
Karsten looks forward to a day when ELI might also call balls and strikes for baseball or measure first downs in football.
"We've gotten an excellent response from tennis people already," says Karsten. "Not all of the other umpires like it, of course, but those who understand I'm trying to help them don't mind. They know they will always be needed to run the machines and interpret the rules."
Karsten believes he could start supplying major tennis tournaments with a perfected model of ELI by next June. Already, he says, the Virginia Slims women's tour is interested.
HAIR TODAY, GONE TOMORROW
Stashed behind his office desk, Earl Banks, Morgan State football coach, has a shopping bag filled with hair from 41 human heads, a gift from his freshman football players. The tradition at Morgan is that freshman candidates cut their hair before each season.
"It's the first year they ever presented it to me," a bemused Banks said. "They presented me with something they hold—uh, held—very dear to their hearts."
And what would the coach do with the hair?
"Gonna make me a pillow out of it," he replied.
QUID PRO QUO
There was brief jubilation among the management forces of professional basketball when it was announced that the Senate antitrust subcommittee had taken favorable action on the long-delayed bill to give pro owners the waiver they need to merge the NBA and ABA. New ABA Commissioner Bob Carlson said he was elated, then added he would not know the full impact of the action until he had read the amendments appended to the bill by management's nemesis and the subcommittee's chairman, Senator Sam Ervin (D-N.C).
A few hours later it was learned that Ervin had modified drastically the simple waiver legislation. The bill stipulated that merger would be allowed only on certain conditions:
•The owners would have to drop the reserve clause.
•Home teams would have to split gate receipts at least 70-30 with visitors.
•No TV of pro games would be allowed on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday nights during the college and high school basketball seasons.
•A common draft would be allowed, but rookies could sign only a one-year contract with a single option season thereafter.
In essence the bill permitted the owners to merge only under those conditions favored by the NBA Players Association and Ervin. In fact the action on the bill, which now goes before the full Senate Judiciary Committee (which is expected to give approval), means a classic lost-the-battle but won-the-war victory for Larry Fleisher, head of the NBA players group. The players had fought the merger in hopes of eliminating the reserve clause.
The amendments on sharing gate receipts and limiting TV time were setbacks the owners simply had not bargained for. The bosses of the richest teams, such as the New York Knickerbockers and the Los Angeles Lakers, will object, as they have for years, to splitting receipts—particularly in the generous proportions the bill requires—and those teams are so strong in league councils that they can block anything they do not like. The TV regulations will bring new uncertainty into a solid, revenue-yielding situation that kept many pro teams alive. It appears now that the ownners have no choice other than to return to Congress to fight against the amendments tacked onto their own bill.
And to think the hockey wars are just beginning.
Hockey officials scheduled to officiate during the Team Canada-Russian series were working out under Scotty Morrison, National Hockey League referee-in-chief. Near the end of the workout Morrison announced, "O.K., the next sprint is for a case of beer."
There was an immediate protest from Yuri Karandin, top Soviet official.
"Beer, nyet," he said. "Vodka, da."
"Beer drinkers," he explained, "make bad referees. Vodka drinkers are better."
THEY SAID IT
•Johnny Peirson, former National Hockey League star, on the opening-game 7-3 defeat of Team Canada by the Russians: "It's nice to be in on history, but I didn't think it would be Dunkirk."
•Steve Arnold, director of player personnel for the World Hockey Association, asked what the new league would use for a farm system: "We've got the greatest development league anyone ever had—the National Hockey League."
•Bernie Farrell, coach of Philadelphia's Bishop Egan High School football team, after his players shaved their heads in training camp: "You won't find too many longhairs out there. They're Middle America, baby, Levittown all the way."