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The San Diego Yacht Club, holder and defender of the America's Cup, staged a strange press conference last week. After months of fratricidal wrangling, the club's Cup committee announced that the next Cup defense will be held in the waters off San Diego in 1991—unless it is held in 1988, in which case it might be sailed somewhere else.

The uncertainty is thanks to Michael Fay, the tall, smooth-talking New Zealander who financed the Kiwis' surprisingly successful first-time challenge in Fremantle last winter. Brandishing the Deed of Gift, the legal document that for 100 years has governed the conditions of Cup competition, Fay, on behalf of the Mercury Bay Boating Club of New Zealand, has challenged the San Diegans to a best-of-three-race series to begin next summer and to be sailed not in Twelves, the Cup boat since 1958, but in vessels akin in size to the enormous 130-foot-long J boats that raced for the Cup in the 1930s.

San Diego at first simply ignored the challenge. But Fay has gone to court to force the issue. If the New York State Supreme Court, which administers the Deed and should begin to review the case this week, rules in the Kiwis' favor, San Diego may have no choice. "The Deed confers rights and obligations," says Fay mischievously, suggesting he hasn't forgotten that in Fremantle, Dennis Conner & Co. had accused New Zealand of cheating. "When you read the Deed closely, it is very, very clear. The challenger has the right to name when he will come and what boat he will sail."

Strictly speaking, Fay may have a strong case. When all parties to an America's Cup challenge agree, the Deed of Gift can be essentially ignored. But in case of a disagreement, the Deed is quite specific. What's more, Fay posits some seductive reasons for a Cup on his terms. A shorter campaign, he says, would cut the cost of an America's Cup adventure in half. Further, the longer a boat is, the faster it goes. Anything that would add drama to racing in the light winds and tame seas off San Diego is welcome.

If, that is, the competition is even held in California. Should San Diego lose in court, says Gerald Driscoll of the club's Cup committee, "All aspects of the match would be reconsidered," including the venue. If that were to put wonderfully windy Hawaii in the running again, a lot of newfound America's Cup fans would have good reason to raise a toast to the merry meddler from New Zealand.

On the lush and sylvan grounds of the Morris Williams Golf Course in Austin, Texas, a new hazard has cropped up, and it's enough to give even the most serene golfer a case of the yips. Three times in recent weeks a casually dressed male, genial but armed with a handgun, has hopped out of the woods to relieve golfers of their wallets or the contents thereof. Afterward the thief has slipped back into the woods, though not before telling his victims on each occasion to carry on with their game. According to Austin parks and recreation director Charles Jordan, security has been tightened at Morris Williams since the incidents began, and it will remain tight until a suspect is in custody. "One of the ways you do that," says Jordan, "is by encouraging your law officers to play for free when they're off duty."


We're not feeling well. That's because we just read the 1987 Atlanta Falcons media guide. Here's a sampling of the, uh, prose therein.

On quarterback Dave Archer: "William Tell may have been an archer of skill, but Dave is an Archer whose skills we want to tell."

On cornerback Bobby Butler: " 'The Butler did it' isn't a guess of who was guilty in a murder case, rather an achievement this Butler pulled off last year when he was the only defensive starter to keep his same starting position from the previous year."

On cornerback Scott Case: "What started out a case for the defensive coordinator ended up a showcase for Scott to display his skills."

On linebacker Tim Green: "Colorwise, it turned out a blue summer as the Red Cross flag went up for the green rookie from the Orangemen of Syracuse."

On safety Robert Moore: "This is 'Moore' or less a tale of success that Robert had because the 'Moore' he played, the better he got."

There's moore, but we figure this is a case of enough is enough.


Last January, Arizona's newly elected governor, Evan Mecham, fulfilled a campaign promise by rescinding predecessor Bruce Babbitt's executive order designating Martin Luther King's birthday a state holiday. Partly for that reason, Mecham is the subject of a recall movement, and convention business has been steering clear of his state. Among the groups boycotting Arizona is the NBA, whose fall meetings begin next week in City of Industry. Calif., rather than in Scottsdale, as had been originally planned. Soon after the league switched venues, Mecham, appearing on a Salt Lake City TV show, uttered an inanity that had an ugly sound to it. "Well, the NBA, I guess they forget how many white people they get coming to watch them play," he said.


Dr. John Aker, pastor of the Montvale (N.J.) Evangelical Free Church, recently went to Wrigley Field in Chicago to see the Cubs play the Mets. It was only the third game that Aker had ever attended, but through his fresh eyes he made several observations, some of which he passed along in a newsletter to his congregation. His inexperience showed—he wrote of Soldier Field and a Mets catcher named Jerry Carter and admitted to nodding off in the fifth inning—but he still had these trenchant insights:

"In some respects, it could be likened to going to church...this gathering had its own ritual—they began with a song...there were times they all stood up—and then sat down...there was a featured soloist [broadcaster Harry Caray]...many attempts were made to take your money...moments of extreme elation—and deep depression...and, I am not sure, but I think I even heard a prayer or two whispered...the place was packed—nobody seemed to want to sit in the back, everybody moved up to the front...[but] nobody seemed to mind the thought of that activity going into overtime!"

The Reverend Aker also wrote that "the spirit of cooperation was most impressive. The vendor would send down the two dogs—and nobody seemed to mind that 53 people just handled their lunch. Almost as if by return mail, the $20 bill was likewise passed hand-to-hand back to the vendor, change made and returned to the buyer. Talk about faith!"


Sports fans show their true Colors by wearing them—not just on their sleeves, but on their pants and their shirts, and frequently even on their heads. Wearing a team's colors to a game is now such a widespread practice that the idea of tens of thousands of people dressed entirely in, say, red and white at the same time no longer seems completely bizarre. But, oddly, in the glittery 1980s, with both punks and hunks wearing makeup, the field of sports cosmetology has lagged far behind. Until now.

Bonne Bell Inc., a Lakewood, Ohio, cosmetics firm, is bringing this overlooked art form out of the Dark Ages with customized makeup kits called Team Colors. Now when fans of the Denver Broncos want to paint themselves orange or Ohio State cheerleaders want to draw those little buckeyes on their cheeks, they don't have to make do with plain old eye shadow. Bonne Bell is marketing sticks of zinc oxide, at $4.50 for a pack of three, color-matched to 21 football teams—12 of them in the NFL and 9 among the colleges. The cosmetics come in small bulletlike containers, much like lip balm, and feature GLO BRONCOS or GLO BUCKS on their labels. If the stuff sells—and right now Bonne Bell is targeting convenience stores and supermarkets, as well as college bookstores—the company plans to expand its line to other college and pro football teams and will probably move into pro basketball as well, which would bring a whole new meaning to the term "in your face."

Team Colors accounts for the ever-so-subtle differences between Sun Devil gold, Southern Cal gold and gold Redskin war paint. "We've matched every color, at great pains," says Bonne Bell product manager Buddy Bell. "We used the actual uniforms to choose the colors." Among the colleges approached so far, only the odd school, like Notre Dame and North Carolina, chose not to grant Bonne Bell licensing rights. That attitude shows either monochromatic thinking or just a commendable, old-fashioned yen for grease pencil, lipstick and tempera paint.



Team Colors will appeal to fans like this.




•Lou Holtz, the Notre Dame football coach, dismissing the importance of watching players practice when they aren't wearing pads: "I was impressed with the freshmen. But if I could evaluate them in shorts, I'd be a basketball coach."

•Mike Tyson, boxing's heavyweight champ, upon hearing that Tyrell Biggs has a plan for beating him when they meet on Oct. 16: "Everybody has plans until they get hit."

•Ralph Kiner, the Mets broadcaster, noting that the Yankees' Steve Trout followed his father, Dizzy, into the major leagues: "There's a lot of heredity in that family."