PETE UNDER PRESSURE
Football coaches and other chauvinists like to say that there is no such thing as a good loser, which is foolish. A good loser is someone who knows how to cope with defeat—in a sense, how not to be defeated by it. A smart poker player does not tilt at windmills; he folds a bad hand. Pete Rozelle showed quality and intelligence in moving quickly to implement the antiblackout bill passed by an impetuous Congress—even before it was made law by the President's signature. His grace in the face of this major defeat reflects credit on him and on professional football.
Ken Dryden's decision to quit hockey at age 26 to become a law clerk may seem astonishing, but his reasons for doing so are logical—if you can get over the idea of giving up $120,000 a year for a job paying $134 a week. Dryden is the super-goalie from Cornell who joined the Montreal Canadiens a few games before the Stanley Cup playoffs in 1971 and then was named most valuable player in the playoffs. He was outstanding again during the 1971-72 season and was signed to a lucrative two-year contract. He was paid $75,000 in 1972-73, earned another $30,000 in bonuses and was to get $90,000 before bonuses this season.
But the contract was signed before the National Hockey League's war with the World Hockey Association sent salaries skyrocketing. When Dryden heard of the money some of the other goalies in the league were now getting, he wanted Montreal to revise his contract upward. Way upward. The Canadiens offered about $125,000 a year, but Dryden was thinking in terms of $175,000 or so. Montreal said no, and Dryden quit.
"Money can be a principle as well as something to buy objects with," Dryden said. "I didn't expect to get what the Bobby Orrs do, but I know I belong on the next level."
Dryden will spend the year articling with the Toronto law firm of Osier, Hoskins and Harcourt. Articling is a form of interning and is required in Canada of prospective lawyers, which Dryden is. "I thought I might as well retire from hockey and start articling now," he said. "I didn't like the idea of doing it at 35, or whenever I finally finish with hockey." As to questions about a prospective lawyer not honoring a contract, Dryden said, "The sanctity of the contract is preserved by my retiring from hockey. I am not playing, and I am not being paid. I presume I am going to play again a year from now."
But, presumably, not for Montreal. The line forms on the right. Bring your checkbooks.
Something else for the International Olympic Committee to worry about: several Montreal suburbs are moaning about the cost of police during the 1976 Games. Mayor Pierre Des Marais of the town of Outremont said that even though Canadian management consultants estimated police costs would run about $15 million, the organizing committee for the Games claims they won't go over $500,000. "This estimate is ridiculously optimistic," said Mayor Des Marais. "Security at Munich cost $9.5 million, with the help of the West German army. I estimate our costs will run from $20 million to $40 million." Des Marais and officials of other suburban towns are concerned because they say their "inevitable" share of such costs would bankrupt them.
Australians who have been deploring the decline in tennis in that country over the last decade (Australia has not won the Davis Cup since 1967) were heartened by the twin victories of John Newcombe and Margaret Court in the U.S. singles championships and cheered further by Rod Laver's announcement that he would be available to play for Australia in the Davis Cup matches this November and December. Wow. With Laver, Newcombe, Ken Rosewall and Mai Anderson, Australia looked a good bet to knock off the U.S. and take the cup home again. It was like the good old days, when Australia dominated tennis the way the New York Yankees dominated baseball.
But such comeback talk is misleading. In the last couple of years Laver has lost his aura of superman. Newcombe, Rosewall, Anderson and Court have been around a good while. What is happening is a revival of tennis players, not a revival of Aussie tennis—almost as though the Yankees pumped up Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris and Whitey Ford and ran them into the lineup for a few games. The young players are not there, and even if Australia does win the cup in December, its future in tennis is still bleak.
The revealing, superclinging swimsuits worn by the East German girls who routed the Americans in the world swimming championship (SI, Sept. 17) revived stories about the advantages of swimming in the nude compared to swimming in a suit, even a suit as shy and retiring and disappearing as those the East Germans wore. One report from Munich had Gerhard Hetz, a West German coach, saying that the East Germans trained in the nude and in competition hypnotized themselves into thinking they had no suits on, that if his girls could swim bare they would break records right and left, that he had timed eight of them swimming nude, that they weren't at all abashed standing around naked waiting for the starter's gun, and so on.
Tracked down in Germany, Hetz clarified things. Last spring he and a German magazine did conduct tests. There were five girls and four boys, but the sexes were tested separately. There were no spectators at all, except for one photographer, and suits were discarded in the water, not at poolside.
He did agree that the East Germans have tried training in the nude (although the hypnotizing bit was news to him) and that his swimmers went faster unencumbered. But the suggestion that they would break records swimming that way was exaggerated; his swimmers were only about three-tenths of a second faster in a one-minute test.
About the only other thing in the Munich story that was correct is that the girls in the test said swimming naked was a lot more fun than swimming in a bathing suit.
PAVED WITH GOOD INTENTIONS
Poor Colorado State University. Six straight losing football seasons, and only one winning year in the last 13. After it lost its 1973 opener to Arizona, someone altered a highway sign to read: "Interstate 80, CSU 0."
Races between horses are fun, but duels between jockeys can be a lot more exciting. At Del Mar in California, James Felton and Rudy Campas were riding in the same race. Felton and Campas do not like each other. When Campas carried Felton wide on the first turn, a degree of anger was apparent. Spurring his charger on, or whatever jockeys do, Felton took off after Campas. As the field turned into the stretch—their horses were eighth and ninth in a 10-horse field—the battle was joined.
Felton, on the rail, reached over and swung at Campas four times with his whip, hitting him three times for a .750 batting average. He is a right-handed whipper. Campas, stung by this insult, reached over after they crossed the finish line, grabbed Felton by the neck and pulled him from the saddle.
Things stopped being funny about here. Felton grabbed at Campas' horse to keep from falling, but one of his feet was still in a stirrup and for several strides he was stretched out between the two galloping horses, his hands on one, his foot on the other, like a Hollywood stunt man. He finally shook loose, dropped to the ground and rolled over face down. He was stunned but, except for a strained neck, he was not hurt.
Trainer Johnny Longden, who as a jockey won more than 6,000 races, was the first person to reach Felton. "Kid," said Longden, a man who understands the proprieties, "do your fighting in the jocks' dressing room."
Del Mar official George Taniguchi, a former jockey himself, said, "I thought this kind of thing went out of sports before I started riding." Both boys were set down for 10 days.
FEW AND FAR BETWEEN
All that playing catch with their sons, giving them plenty of batting practice and seeing to it that they make Little League is not really paying off for American fathers who dream that in the glorious future Junior will do the right thing by the home folks with some major league cash. A study by the U.S. Department of Labor offers sobering data on diminishing returns. It reports that only the cream of the Little League, about 400,000 boys, play high school baseball. About 25,000 (one in 16) go on to play college ball. Perhaps 1,200 are drafted by pro teams. About 100 of these make it to the majors long enough to get their names into a box score. And for the handful who do become established major-leaguers, the average career lasts a bit more than seven years.
The odds, Dad, are long. You might think about that next time you call a big-leaguer a bum. He's really something pretty special.
10% OF FOUR YEARS
However, Dad, if your kid shows size, speed, coordination, heart and all the other things that go into a superior athlete, you might consider calling Bill Serra of Wall Township, N.J. about the time Junior is a junior in high school. Serra runs a business called College Athletic Placement Service, which helps high school athletes get college scholarships. "I used to help kids on my own," he says, "but a friend of mine who saw my phone bill said I ought to do it professionally."
So Serra opened an office, subscribed to lots of newspapers, bought rating services that evaluate high school athletes and nurtured his contacts with college athletic offices.
"When we spot a kid we think has college potential, we send him a brochure describing our service," says Serra. "But we send it to him through his high school guidance counselor. We don't go to him directly. If the boy is interested, he contacts us.
"I'm realistic with them. I get 190-pound tackles in here who want to go to the Big Ten. I tell them to forget it, they're not big enough. I tell them to think about a small college. We try to find a school that fits the boy."
Serra will not deal in scholarships with performance clauses requiring an athlete to produce on the field or lose the scholarship. "That's treating him like a professional," Serra says. He insists the scholarship stipulate only that the student-athlete participate in the sport, observe school rules and maintain passing grades. He charges 10% for his services. That is, if a youngster lands a four-year, $10,000 scholarship, Serra gets $1,000.
He handles all kinds of athletes but one. "I won't touch soccer players. There aren't enough scholarships around. You got more guys on the team than you have in the stands."
The University of Mississippi is still not reconciled to its 17-16 loss to Louisiana State last year. LSU somehow ran off two plays in the last four seconds and scored the winning touchdown on a pass that was caught after the final gun. The Ole Miss football press book lists the score of that game as Ole Miss 16, LSU 10 + 7.
THEY SAID IT
•Elvis Zarring Peacock, Miami (Fla.) Central High running star, on his name: "I like it. Not too many people have that name."
•Clydell Castleman, former major league pitcher, recommending a diet of bananas and coconut: "No matter how many zoos you visit, you never see a fat monkey."
•Tommy Harper, Boston Red Sox outfielder, on the fine art of base stealing: "The best pitchers have the worst motions to first base, probably because they let so few runners get there."
•Muhammad Ali, in a press conference: "You writers seem fascinated to see black fighters go broke. You write that it's terrible that poor Joe Louis is broke. Well, Rolls-Royce is broke. The Penn Central is broke. The Catholic schools is broke."