Hugo Zacchini—better known as The Human Cannonball—is no one-shot performer. He had himself shot from a cannon not once but twice at the Baltimore City Fair. Then he shot off his mouth a little about the cannonballing business. "The first part is like being in a fast-rising elevator, and coming down is like diving from a high board. You can't close your eyes. You try to keep them open all the time so you can judge your landing." And if you miss? "Squash. The Great Zacchini is The Great Zucchini."
Just after a Miami Dolphin victory Larry Csonka was pondering the many-hued rewards of pro football. "My left leg is turning yellow," he noticed. "My back is turning blue. Sometimes I wish I'd studied harder in college so I could be a veterinarian and go around patting dogs on the head instead of this."
Billy Tohill, salty-tongued head coach of the TCU Horned Frogs, has been known to become overenthusiastic in his use of language on the football field. Since Texas Christian is a religious institution, Tohill's lapses have come to the attention of Chancellor James Moudy. Dr. Moudy decided to have words with his coach. "Billy," he said, "I hear you've been taking the Lord's name in vain on the practice field." Tohill answered: "I ain't been taking it in vain—it works."
Nancy Witt just has to be the only woman in the world who owns her own pro football team. An ex-stripper who runs Rock-mountain Fascination, a Colorado booking agency for rock 'n' roll groups, Miss Witt saved her money and bought a minor league outfit called the Lakewood Oilers for $5,000. As owner, she has assigned herself the job of holding the ball for extra points. She has held for eight PATs, of which kicker Chuck Holmes has converted five, including one via a dropkick when Miss Witt bobbled the ball and passed it off to him. "About 50% of the guys were against me," she says, "but after I got hit the first time, I think they were all with me." That tackle, by a 270-pounder from the Oklahoma City team, did not discourage Miss Witt, who now says she wants to play regularly in the defensive backfield. It's your team, Nancy.
Before the baseball season started, staff members of Long Island's Newsday staged a contest to pick the top team in each division. Now the paper has revealed the winner: Food Editor Barbara Rader. She picked three winners—Cincinnati, Pittsburgh and Oakland—more than any of the baseball writers. "We'll be glad to eat crow," says one of the writers, Joe Gergen, "provided Barbara prepares it with a Béarnaise sauce."
Sidney Walker, better known as Beau Jack, one of the most successful welterweights in boxing history, is famous again. He is the man a Texas company thought of when it wanted a name for a new fiber-glass fishing boat that combined lightness and toughness. Here's Beau Jack skippering a Beau Jack. Now 51, Jack is currently a bootblack at the Fontainebleau Hotel in Miami Beach.
Last summer former Defense Secretary Robert McNamara and three friends bought 41 acres (for $450,000) on Martha's Vineyard, including "Jungle Beach," a popular hangout for unclothed bathers. Local nudists were angry over this expropriation of their sandy pad. Just how angry, McNamara discovered recently. Aboard the Martha's Vineyard ferry, he heard someone shout that there was a phone call for him in the wheel-house. When McNamara stepped onto the deck, a young man grabbed him and tried to throw him overboard. The attacker was fought off by McNamara and restrained for the rest of the trip by companions, among them Kingman Brewster III, son of the president of Yale. McNamara did not press charges, which seems like condoning naked aggression.
Frontiersman Davy Crockett killed him a b'ar when he was only three and certainly never shot himself while walking through the woods. But a latter-day Davy Crockett did just that while stalking game in California's Inyo National Forest. The local sheriff says that David Crockett, 38, of Torrance, Calif. was hunting in mountains west of Porterville when he stumbled and fell, discharging a pistol stuffed in his pants pocket. The damage to Crockett's posterior was slight, but imagine the embarrassment to his posterity.
When Memphis State scored its first touchdown of the season, the extra-point kick was caught in the end zone by the Rev. Henry West, a Baptist minister from Covington, Tenn. The Rev. West took the ball home, but for the next couple of weeks he wrestled with his conscience. Finally he appealed to his congregation for guidance. "Did you ever wake up in a cold sweat from a nightmare in which 51,571 people were pointing at you and saying, 'Preacher, you kept that $30 football?' " he asked. The congregation gave him the word. After thinking it over, Rev. West returned the ball.
Auburn Coach Shug Jordan has consistently and firmly opposed the use of synthetic grass, so his reaction was predictable when he found his wife had bought an AstroTurf doormat. "We had a real donnybrook," Jordan says. "I told her she had pulled the rug out from under me."