THE WAY THE BALL BOUNCES
In tennis, the U.S. soon will forge ahead of Australia. That is the opinion of Ken Rosewall, Aussie star. The all-U.S. final in the World Championship of Tennis two weeks ago was a mere prelude, Rosewall believes.
"In the next five years," he says, "America is really going to move ahead in tennis because there are so many natural athletes in this country turning to tennis in preference to other sports."
One reason for the preference is money. Stan Smith already has earned $154,100 this year, which is only $13,000 less than golf's leading money-winner, Bruce Crampton. This is a far cry from those old days of, say, 10 years ago when a tennis player could expect little more than board, room and transportation.
"If we wanted to tour," says Marty Riessen, "the only way was to stay in a private home, eat meals with the residents and depend on them for transportation. In our society that's called free-loading. That's why we were called tennis bums."
Stan Smith agrees on the future of the game. "Everywhere we go to put on clinics," the new WCT champion says, "we see millions of kids playing tennis. I suspect that within 10 years the United States will have 20 of the top 30 players in the world."
SEATS OF THE MIGHTY
Within 19 feet of the outer retaining wall at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway are the most expensive seats from which to view the Indy 500. They will be occupied by some 480 VIPs privileged to watch the race from the balconies of Tony Hulman's new ultra-exclusive motel suites.
"It's the best place in the world to watch an auto race," says Clarence Cagle, superintendent of grounds at the Speedway. "The cars look like they're comin' up your drawers."
Speedway President Hulman occupies the suite closest to the track. There are eight suites on the top floor and 12 on the second. Only these two overlook the track, since the bottom floor is below the top of the retaining wall.
Rooms on the first floor rent for a mere $25 a day, but suites on the second and third floors are leased solely by the year—at $20,000 for the top floor, $10,000 for the second. All were spoken for long ago, mostly by business firms like Firestone and Goodyear. Similar companies with similar interests in auto racing occupy the second floor. All suites are lavishly appointed. They will be used throughout the year for board meetings, sales meetings and such.
Heavy Japanese investment in the economy of Hawaii is beginning to create an undercurrent of resentment there, though Hawaii actually invited the invasion a few years ago.
It seems the Japanese have gone too far by buying up golf courses that formerly had been open to the public. In the past year alone they have picked up four courses, along with thousands of acres of land and numerous hotels. At the moment Japan's stake in Hawaii is estimated at almost $200 million and rising rapidly. Result: a growing atmosphere of racial prejudice among a people who hitherto had genially welcomed all comers.
When Japan-based firms bought the Hawaii Country Club and what is now the Pearl Country Club, both on Oahu, public golfers feared the new owners would turn them into private Japanese clubs. The newcomers have denied any such intention.
Then a Japanese company, Daiichi Kanko, bought the Makaha Valley Inn, some apartments and two golf courses in western Oahu. Makaha West is one of Hawaii's most beautiful courses. Makaha East is a lesser attraction. Indignation rose when the new owners closed Makaha West to the public, allowing only hotel guests and condominium residents to use the facility.
Just "a misunderstanding," it was explained, but a check at the Makaha West pro shop confirmed the shutdown. The position was later modified in a statement that said the public would be allowed on the course until such time as Makaha Inn is full of paying guests.
Whether Hawaiians like it or not, the Japanese are back, richer than ever, and digging heavily into the islands' economy. From one of the recent purchases—the former Francis I. Brown golf course, now the Pearl Country Club—one may take in, sprawled gloriously below, a panoramic view of Pearl Harbor.
HERESY IN THE BARN
The suggestion has been made, and not lightly, that thoroughbred horses be permitted to choose their mates and breed at will. It comes from none other than the Louisville Times in an editorial captioned "Humanizing horse breeding." The writer is anonymous, which would seem to be a sensible precaution in Kentucky. Nevertheless, he raises an engaging point.
The writer notes that Secretariat's record time of 1:59[2/5] in this year's Derby is "only about eight seconds faster than that of Ben Brush, who won the Derby in 1896, the first year it was run over the 1¼ mile distance.
"That," he says, and one must tend to agree, "seems a meager return indeed for the millions of dollars invested over the years in the improvement of thoroughbred racehorses."
In contrast, he observes, today's human athletes are markedly better than those of a generation or so ago. "Track stars do not trace their lineage to Jim Thorpe or Jesse Owens," he says, "and no geneticist, so far as is known, can claim credit for Bill Walton."
He makes the point that since 1895 human runners have cut the world's record for the mile by roughly 26 seconds and that the Olympic record for the 1,500 meters is 31 seconds faster than the mark set by a Briton 73 years ago. "If this trend continues," he says, "in a thousand years or so a man may be able to run a mile faster than a thoroughbred can cover the Derby distance."
The editorial concludes that "the horsemen's obsession with genealogy has been a terrible mistake" and that the chance pairing of stallions and mares "will arouse much more interest among sports fans than all the mumbo jumbo about a colt's heritage."
"I hate to think," said one horseman, "that anyone in Kentucky knew that little about racing and breeding."
It's something to consider. Maybe.
Alcoholics Anonymous has done outstanding work in its field, and in Chicago there used to be a like-minded group that called itself Nicotinic Nobodies. Now, in Washington, there is an earnest organization called Bogey Breakers. It meets once a week in a sort of therapeutic 19th-hole session where duffers sit around and confess the details about bogeys they have made. The idea is to psych the bogeys away.
THE BIGGER THEY ARE
The notion that the heavier the boxing glove the less it can hurt is all but universal in boxing. But according to a neurosurgeon, Dr. Harry Kaplan, the reverse is true. At a seminar held in Boston in connection with the AAU boxing championships the doctor reported that "using a heavier glove is like putting a cudgel in someone's hand, especially if the glove is made heavier by water or sweat. The bigger glove is more dangerous."
The doctor noted two other rather surprising findings: a blow to the side rather than the point of the jaw is more likely to cause a knockout—"a clinical state of cerebral concussion," as he put it. Which helps explain why a left hook is usually more effective than a straight right. And there is "more damage done to a fighter who is knocked to the canvas and who hits his head on the floor than there is by a knockout punch."
Another speaker was Mrs. Tudor Gardiner, M.D., whom you may remember as Tenley Albright, figure skater. She discussed stress and the role it plays in sports medicine.
"Nervousness can be a very constructive thing," she said, "if it is channeled in the proper direction. Stress has to be brought into the picture."
IT'S HOW YOU PLAY THE GAME
Arriving from Katmandu to join more than 100 mountaineers celebrating the 20th anniversary of the British conquest of Mount Everest was Sir Edmund Hillary who, with the Sherpa Tenzing Norgay, was the first ever to reach the summit of that great and terrible mountain.
At Katmandu Sir Edmund had a few words to say about an Italian expedition that just had become the sixth and latest team to make it to the top of Everest. He was not complimentary. The Italian triumph, he said, had been "a very competent military operation, which had nothing to do with mountaineering."
The Italians had used 60 tons of equipment but that was not what irked Hillary most. They had used two helicopters as part of their impedimenta. "We should not regard this as a mountaineering expedition," Sir Edmund declared. "What it is, is taking a group of service people and getting them to work together on a difficult and challenging objective. It's more of a training program."
He hoped that in the future Everest "will be left to mountaineering parties composed of small groups of enthusiastic climbers."
The Italian response, from Guido Monzino, Milanese banker and leader of the expedition, was a shrug.
"You have to face the same difficulties whether you are a civilian or a military person," he said.
SUFFER THE LITTLE CHILDREN
The also-rans were cheered as lustily as those who finished in front. This was in Hattiesburg, Miss., where the special Olympics for retarded children was held, one of many such events to be put on this year in the 50 states and the District of Columbia. They offer competition in basketball, bowling, gymnastics, track, swimming, floor hockey and volleyball, all sponsored by the Joseph P. Kennedy Jr. Foundation. The idea is to use sport as motivation, to improve self-esteem and to offer a substitute for the state-championship kind of tournament that normal children have.
The retarded kids enjoy the games, but in quite a different way, for they have few notions of cunning, revenge, gamesmanship or any such unretarded slogans as "victory isn't everything, it's the only thing." More typical is the case of one little girl at Hattiesburg who stopped short of the finish line to wait for her friend to catch up. Or the runner who reversed direction to help a companion who had tripped and fallen far behind him. The front-runner lost a gold medal but seemed quite as happy without it.
U.S. vs. U.S.S.R.
Impressed by the job Bob Cousy did in coaching the U.S. team in its recent basketball series with the Russians, AAU officials are indicating that they will back Cousy to coach the U.S. team in the 1976 Olympics.
Cousy's response: "I would love to if I could have enough time—four or five weeks—and the kids I want."
THEY SAID IT
•Gene Mauch, Montreal Expos manager, on a suggestion that maybe his team was lucky to come from behind twice in a row to beat the Cincinnati Reds: "Yeah, we're lucky. It's just like Tim McCarver used to tell me. He said Bob Gibson was the luckiest pitcher he ever saw. Gibson always pitched when the other team didn't score any runs."
•Pete Gogolak, New York Giants place-kicker, on ball holders: "In 1971 my holder was Fran Tarkenton, and I have never liked to have the regular quarterback in that job. Just the fact that we are trying a field goal means that he has missed a third-down play. He's not concentrating on the snap. He's wondering what went wrong on the last play and worrying that it might happen again."
•Dizzy Dean, recalling Bill Terry, the hardest hitter he ever faced: "He once hit a ball between my legs so hard that my centerfielder caught it on the fly backing up against the wall."
•Boxing promoter Chris Dundee's tailor, who had an audience with Pope Paul, on being asked what the Pope was like: "Thirty-seven short."