THE BOYS OF WINTER
If all National Hockey League playoff series under the new, extended format go the limit, the final championship game will be played on May 29, possibly in Atlanta.
SCHOOL AND SPORT
It has become something of a tradition for school boards faced with tough budgetary decisions to single out athletics for the supreme sacrifice. The threat to do away with extracurricular sports unless the taxpayers support a balanced educational program and such other enriching activities as band and theater generally brings them around to the board's point of view.
Eventually, this probably will be the outcome in San Francisco, where the board recently voted 6-1 to remove $200,000 from the budget and cancel spring varsity competition for senior and junior high schools in basketball, swimming, fencing, golf, and track and field. As is true in most such cases, the issues are not clearcut. Most of the $200,000 was ticketed as overtime pay for coaches, who were accused by former board chairman Dr. Eugene Hopp of performing their duties only for the money. That, of course, is part nonsense, but it is true that the coaches' association, described as a powerful lobby by Dr. Hopp, did refuse to go along with a revamping of the school day that would either cut back on the coaches' teaching hours to avoid overtime pay for after-school work, or combine some phys ed classes with varsity practice.
But California schools without sports? That is like Oxford without a library. People in the city responded magnanimously, pledging enough money to retain a full sports program until the fall. Unfortunately, generous as the outpouring has been, it did not restore funds for the library, the music department, etc. that had already been eliminated, or even guarantee sports in the next school year. A better solution must be found.
Whatever it is, it probably will—and should—entail compromise and belt tightening by athletic departments on a par with those undertaken by other specialized staffs. And the board should—and based on past experience in other cities, will—come up with permanent financing. Sport is a vital part of the educational process and cannot be left to voluntary contributors whose enthusiasm is bound to wane under the stress of successive fund drives.
DIAL I FOR IMAGE
The North American Soccer League's Tampa Rowdies, the team that gave us the memorable slogan, "Soccer is a kick in the grass," has struck again. Its new telephone number is 961-KICK. Oh, if the Rowdies can only play.
PEARL OF A PROJECT
Algae to oyster to seaweed is the triple play of the moment at the Environmental Systems Lab, part of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. Sewage from which inorganic matter (metals, etc.) has been removed is mixed with equal parts seawater in six 35,000-gallon tanks, where the temperature is controlled. In the resultant rich environment single-celled plants (algae) grow and reproduce madly, cleaning out troublesome wastes like nitrates, phosphates and ammonia even as they prosper. The algae are then fed to hungry oysters awaiting their dinner in long "animal raceways," a few steps away from the algae ponds. In addition to dining sumptuously on the algae, the oysters further filter the sea-water mix, which then travels to other raceways housing marketable seaweeds such as hypnea and Irish moss. The seaweeds in turn filter out the oysters' wastes, and the water by then is squeaky clean.
The brainchild of Marine Biologist John H. Rhyther, the ESL is a pilot plant for a system intended for residential areas where the sewage does not contain the heavy metals of industrial plants. Variations on the basic theme are being pursued constantly. One promising line of investigation involves heated waters discharged by energy plants. It is hoped that eventually they can be used to control the temperatures of the algae ponds and animal raceways, another step in the process of converting harmful waste products to use.
Rev. Michael Sheridan, S.J., vice-president of Creighton University, was listening to a delayed broadcast of the school's basketball win over Bradley when he wondered aloud, "Why am I so nervous? I know how this comes out."
Said a fellow Jesuit: "Now you know how God must feel."
THESE ARE LOOK-ALIKES?
Wyn Sargent, the Californian who married an Indonesian chieftain in order to get warring rivals together for a celebration and peace, is back from West Irian (formerly Netherlands New Guinea), and the news—as Sargent sees it—is all good. Far from being savages who will boil you in a pot, the Dani tribesmen, she reports, are very much like Americans. For instance, the Dani have two kinds of war: one serious, one recreational.
Seem familiar? If not, it may help to know that in Sargent's mind the recreational Armageddon plays out to something akin to a National Football League game. "They yell and scream and holler and charge around and shoot arrows," she says, but the arrows have no feathers and are mostly inaccurate and harmless. "A fellow might get hurt," she adds, "but he hardly ever dies."
Oh, one more thought. The fun wars are to propitiate dead ancestors. Serious wars, presumably, are for creating dead ancestors to be propitiated.
A GARDEN OF WELL-VERSED WOMEN
Women's basketball came to Madison Square Garden last Saturday, and the excitement it generated suggests that New Yorkers had discovered something novel. They had, too, although that idea itself must be novel to, say, Iowans, who for years have jammed arenas 15,000 strong to watch the girls' high school state championship tournament.
The Garden game featured the Mighty Macs of Immaculata against Queens, the team from Long Island that last March broke Immaculata's 35-game winning streak 57-56. Prodded by a 30-second shooting clock, the women played a fast and patterned offense, mixing set shots with driving layups.
Debbie Mason of Queens, the alltime Eastern women's scoring leader, electrified the crowd of 11,969 with her adept dribbling and timely assists. Off to a slow start, the Macs stayed in the game with the aid of a balanced offense, provided primarily by sophomores and freshmen. They won 65-61, as announcer and ex-pro Cal Ramsey praised both teams for their defense and the bubbling audience dwindled to a hardcore of 4,000, who stayed to watch the men of Fairfield beat the men of the University of Massachusetts 78-67. Something old, something borrowed, and, as Iowans could tell anybody, nothing new.
THE RITES AND WRONGS OF SPRING
Back in the '50s when he was leading Georgia Tech to six straight bowl victories, Bobby Dodd was something of a maverick in the coaching profession. He became famous, for instance, for his soft practices before the bowl trips. Often his players were engaged in volleyball when their opponents were slugging it out in some brutish practice pit.
Not long ago he was talking about spring practice, which even now is gearing up on college campuses. Dodd is against it, mostly on behalf of the players themselves. "I hated it when I was at Tennessee," he says. "Spring practice is grueling, and to hold it just puts too much emphasis on football the year around.
"What I would do is simply bring the boys back a few days earlier in the summer to get ready for the first game. Today you have freshmen who report two weeks before the first game and are ready to play.
"I think the boys should be allowed to do what they want in spring. When I was coaching, once a boy played a lot of football for me in the fall, he was free in the spring. I wanted him to play baseball or run track or play golf or tennis.
"Spring practice doesn't help that much. Boys get better from one year to another because they mature, they get older, bigger, stronger and smarter. If they didn't see a football from December to September, I doubt that it would make any difference.
"A lot of coaches disagree with me. I didn't do away with spring practice for the same reason some won't now. They can't get everybody else to go along. I understand that. If I'd stopped, and lost a game or two I shouldn't have, people would have started looking around for a coach who would hold spring practice. Frankly, I think one reason some coaches don't want to do away with it is because they enjoy it. They actually are lost without it."
...AND RIGHTING THE WRONGS
No less an iconoclast is Joe Paterno, the Penn State coach whose calls for cuts in the high cost of college football have received wide circulation. Paterno aired his views again last week for an NCAA media seminar in North Carolina, running the gamut from 1) a return to one-platoon football, to 2) integrating a majority of the coaching staff into the university community as teachers, coaches of other sports and aides to development and alumni groups, to 3) a ban on visits to prospects' homes by head coaches. ("If I go into a kid's town, it becomes a big thing there. Woody Hayes has to come in, then Bo Schembechler....")
But he ranged far beyond the economics of his game. "Athletic dorms are cheating the student-athlete of his college life," he said. "Coaches are restricting their players, putting in curfews. The NCAA should now move in, give the kid everything he is supposed to get out of his college life. The term student-athlete is really a joke....
"I think basically our job is protecting the game for the youngsters who play it. It's got to be a meaningful experience for them, something they enjoy and something they get some good out of, or we can never defend the game no matter how much money we make."
Paterno had more to say, but he had to cut his stay short. He was leaving for New Jersey to visit a big, talented tackle. He has not yet found a way out of the web he detests.
For months the Baltimore couple had searched for their valuable purebred dog, which had vanished. Then shortly before 12 one night recently the phone rang. "Your dog is at my home and you can come and get him," a woman who got the number from the dog's collar said. "My husband brought him here about seven months ago and now he cares more for him than he does me. I want the animal out of our house."
Obviously, this is just a sign of the times, but before our moment of glory is drowned in a crescendo of boos, let it be recorded that the forecasters most trusted by the American public are sportswriters and sports announcers. Next come weather-persons and the Jimmy-the-Greek types who set odds on sporting events. They are followed by political prognosticators and horoscope preparers. Economists and stockbrokers bring up the rear.
Bearers of these joyful tidings are R.H. Bruskin Associates, market researchers from New Jersey who have taken a national sampling of 2,536 adults. While we never seem to sample adults with similar opinions, we accept our lordly station humbly and try not to think where we will be at the first sign of prosperity—probably exchanged for the brokers.
THEY SAID IT
•Jesse Owens, on how he felt after his last world record, 6.6 for the indoor 60-meter dash, was broken: "A little sad, like losing a member of the family."
•Dr. Menahem Less, soccer coach at Adelphi, responding to criticism of the foreign players in his lineup: "We start seven naturalized citizens. They are as American as Henry Kissinger."
•Rex Hughes Jr., Kent State basketball coach, after 51 personal and three technical fouls were called against his team: "I have no comment. Actually, I have four no comments, and four exclamation points to go after them."