A TRADITION WE CAN DO WITHOUT
The photo shown here was taken after Harvard fans tore down the goalposts to celebrate the Crimson's 16-7 victory over Yale at New Haven Saturday in the 100th game between the two schools (page 103). As indicated by the bloodstains on the grass and on the crumpled paper at the right edge of the photo, the celebration had an unhappy ending: A metal section of one of the falling goalposts struck an 18-year-old Harvard freshman, Margaret Cimino, in the head. She was hospitalized and was in critical condition as SI went to press.
The accident in New Haven was the saddest of several incidents involving overexuberant fans on college football's last big Saturday of the season. As the Syracuse Orangemen headed for a 27-16 win over West Virginia, jubilant fans hurled oranges onto the field in the Carrier Dome, stopping only when the referee warned over the P.A. system that they were risking a 15-yard penalty for their team. During Notre Dame's 23-22 loss to the Air Force in South Bend, fans surged onto the field after two Irish touchdowns, earning 15-yard penalties for the home team on each occasion. Such intrusions have become all too common in college football in recent years.
Throwing objects and encroaching on the field during games are dangerous and disruptive practices that go beyond the realm of harmless collegiate high jinks. They should be expressly forbidden and punished. The time has also come to demand crackdowns on those who tear down goalposts, a hoary custom that, if it ever had any meaning, has been devalued to the point of absurdity. When Northwestern snapped its NCAA-record 34-game losing streak two years ago, Wildcat rooters tore down the goalposts. They liked it so much that after a win two weeks later, they did it again. Illinois fans demolished goalposts at no fewer than five games this season. At Penn State, the athletic department, tired of replacing posts, offered to donate $4,500, the cost of new ones, to the student activities fund if fans refrained from tearing down any more this season, and Coach Joe Paterno sweetened the deal by personally pledging $500 to a scholarship fund for needy students. After Penn State's 34-30 home-field win over Notre Dame on Nov. 12, students in the stands booed as a group of other students tore down one of the goalposts.
Demolishing goalposts is dangerous as well as expensive, as the serious injuries suffered by Margaret Cimino tragically demonstrated. Harvard's football players were already in the locker room when they heard about what had happened to Cimino, a freestyler on the Crimson women's swim team, and the news cast a pall over the big win over Yale. "They were all excited, pouring champagne on each other, when the word came about Meg," one witness said. "They just sort of stopped their celebration."
ORDER IN THE INTERVIEW AREA
Since becoming the Green Bay Packers' president 18 months ago, Robert J. Parins, a former Brown County Circuit Court judge, has used a court reporter to record all of his interviews with the press. Parins insists that he does so out of simple force of habit, not for fear of being misquoted. "I just feel more comfortable with a record of what I've said," he says. So far, anyway, none of Parins' media interrogators has complained about the court reporter's presence. Jim Cohen, sports editor of The Milwaukee Journal, who recently had a two-hour interview with Parins, said, "I thought it was curious at first. But just as we record others for our protection, he has his own mode of protection. I understand that." Cohen added, with unintentional irony, "I have no objections."
BIGHOUSE'S BIG MILESTONE
When Clarence (Bighouse) Gaines attended his first basketball coaches' clinic, somebody asked him if he was the janitor. The year was 1947, and he was the only black coach at the clinic. But there's no mistaking the Winston-Salem State coach now. The next time his Rams win a game, very likely in the season opener against Barber-Scotia College on Nov. 25, Gaines, 60, will become only the fifth coach in college basketball history to achieve 700 career wins.
The 6'4", 295-pound Gaines may be best known as Earl Monroe's college coach, yet he has two more wins than DePaul's more celebrated Ray Meyer, who at 69 has won 697 games and figures to reach the 700 mark hot on Gaines's heels. Meyer, who's in his 42nd and final season, and Gaines, beginning his 38th, will be the first to make it to 700 since Adolph Rupp and Henry Iba each did so during the '63-64 season (the alltime leader is Rupp, with 875 wins), and it could take a while for anybody else to get that many wins. Only six active coaches besides Gaines and Meyer have as many as 500, the winningest among them being the University of Washington's Marv Harshman, with 596.
Gaines cites present-day competitive pressures and higher coaching turnover rates as deterrents to reaching 700 wins. "Tenure has shortened as the pressures have increased," he says. "If you don't come up with 20-win seasons, they fire you. That's awful rough unless you find a lot of dogs to play."
Gaines wears a size 52 extra-long suit and 14-B shoes, and he says, "I can tell you where every big-man store in the country is." He acquired his nickname as a youth when somebody told him, "I've never seen anything bigger than you but a house." Bighouse's own house is a modest six-room structure, but the Winston-Salem State board of trustees decided in 1975 that the school's new sports facility was grand enough—it has two gyms and a swimming pool—to be named after him. So his Rams play their home games in the C.E. Gaines Athletic Complex.
WRONG LEAGUE, PAL
Taking some pictures of the board chairman and president of United Technologies Corp., the Hartford, Conn. defense contractor, for the firm's annual report, a photographer listened attentively as the men discussed recent successes of the Rangers. "Yeah, they won last night, huh?" the photographer, a New York hockey fan, said, injecting himself into the conversation. A company publicist took him aside and gently set him straight. The two men had been referring to the U.S. Army Rangers in Grenada.
THE NATIONAL LEOTARD LEAGUE?
First there were aerobic exercises. Then there was aerobic dancing. And now, fitness fans, what do you suppose is next? Team aerobics, that's what. Conceived by the Amateur Athletic Union as a means of getting more people into shape, team aerobics is a sporting endeavor organized along the lines of synchronized swimming. Competition will involve men's, women's and mixed teams representing health clubs, schools, corporations and the like. The initial thinking is that teams will perform five-minute routines consisting of a one-minute warmup, a three-minute dance portion and a one-minute warmdown. According to Margaret Wan Forbes, a synchronized-swimming coach who is helping the AAU organize the new sport, routines will be judged on the basis of "style, intensity, choreography, degree of difficulty and synchronization."
With competition expected to get under way next spring, some details still haven't been worked out. Although at the outset teams will consist of eight members, the organizers are considering eventually holding individual and pairs competitions as well. Another possibility is that the dance portion of each routine will be divided into freestyle and compulsory segments, as in figure skating. In the interest of involving as many participants as possible, competition will likely be broken down by age groups and skill levels. In headier moments the organizers talk about team aerobics someday becoming an Olympic sport. "This could be a colorful addition to the Olympic family," says Bernard L. Gladieux, marketing adviser for the new sport. "I don't think it would require any long gestation period."
Quick, everybody, hide those Jane Fonda videotapes before the Russians and East Germans find them.
Larry O'Brien and David Stern
National Basketball Association
645 Fifth Ave.
New York, N.Y. 10022
Dear Larry and David,
We weren't sure which of you to address this to, so we're writing you both. We know that you, Larry, have announced your resignation as commissioner, effective Feb. 1, and that the owners last week named you, David, presently the executive vice-president, as his successor. Now we're hoping that together you'll have enough sense to end the current lockout of NBA referees before it does any more harm to the game.
It's done enough already. Why, just in recent days, 1) Don Nelson, the Milwaukee coach, was accused of elbowing one of your replacement refs, 2) Denver Coach Doug Moe threw a cup of water at a ref and 3) Houston Rocket President Ray Patterson vented his displeasure over officiating by all but tearing down the door of the referees' dressing room.
Do you get the impression that the substitute refs aren't getting much respect? They aren't, and their performances also reflect poorly on those responsible for hiring them for jobs they obviously can't handle. Too many games are being made into a mockery, and with the way these guys are losing control of things, somebody may get seriously hurt. Besides, the regular refs deserve more money. The 27 of them combined are pulling down barely 1% of the $70 million that NBA clubs are lavishing on their players. If the league is trying to draw the line on outlandish salaries, it sure has drawn it in a funny place.
In the fond hope that two heads are better than one, we urge you to blow the whistle on this ridiculous lockout.
THEY SAID IT
•Ted Hendricks, Raider linebacker, explaining his success in avoiding injuries: "I keep my cleats out of the turf, my head on a swivel and stay away from pileups."
•Brian Griese, 8-year-old son of ex-Miami Dolphin Quarterback Bob Griese, before his first youth-league baseball game, when his father asked him if he had butterflies: "No, but there are bullfrogs out there."