A Good, Hard Check
A Beer-Fueled "initiation party" that reportedly got out of hand has left the Williams College men's hockey team with what promises to be a season long hangover. Responding to accounts of the Sept. 22 team gathering, which was characterized as a hazing party for new players and which resulted in the trashing of a dorm basement and a freshman player's being taken to the infirmary with alcohol poisoning, Williams administrators suspended all five seniors from the hockey team for the entire 1994-95 season. Senior captain Garrett Nannene was also suspended from school for a year. In addition, Williams president Harry Payne instructed the Ephs, last year's ECAC East regular-season co-champions, to forfeit their first two games of the season, against Rochester Institute of Technology and Wesleyan. "The line is clearly drawn, and, we expect, the lesson is learned," said Payne.
Many students at Williams have criticized the suspensions as too harsh, and the players involved might appeal, insisting that they've been unfairly made examples of. Still, Payne and Co. are to be commended for acting swiftly and decisively—and with a rare disregard for the athletic bottom line. Of course, Division III Williams has little at stake financially. What's the chance of a big-time Division I school acting so expeditiously and emphatically in a similar situation?
Arizona Cardinal defensive back Lorenzo Lynch, who has sustained his eight-year NFL career by being a menace to receivers, will spend 30 weeknights in jail for failing to meet the terms of his probation resulting from a March 1992 misdemeanor conviction for assaulting a man in a Phoenix barbershop. Lynch completed just 40 of the 100 hours of community service he had agreed to perform. In addition to the jail time (he is being freed on weekends and between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. during the week), he must attend anger-control counseling, primarily because he also violated his probation in June by attacking his girlfriend.
One might think that all this would have made Lynch consider changing his ways. One might want to think again. Asked recently if he considered the counseling necessary, Lynch responded, "No way, man."
A Course Weil-Run
Long before he discovered that he was, above all else, a runner, Fred Lebow was an immigrant, a Romanian-born Jew who came to the U.S. in 1951 and wound up working in New York City's garment district. Lebow, who died Sunday at 62 after a second bout with brain cancer, never lost two of an immigrant's most precious assets: ambition and the sense that, in a land where a man isn't sure of the rules, he can make up his own.
Lebow's great gifts were grand vision and nuts-and-bolts pragmatism. If a project struck him as worthy, he found a way to will it into being. A one-mile road race? Why not run it down the city's swankiest boulevard, Fifth Avenue? A 10K for women? The Mini-Marathon quickly became the largest and most prestigious women's road race in the world. When Lebow took over as president of the New York Road Runners Club in 1972, it had 270 members; now it has 31,000.
Lebow saved his greatest passion for the New York City Marathon, which makes sense, for it is in every way a race of immigrants, with thousands of runners, foreign and domestic, cheered on by every group in the city's vast melting pot. Lebow, an avid runner of modest attainments, founded the marathon in 1970, using his own money to buy 10 watches for awards. That first year 127 people, among them Lebow himself, ran the four-loop course in Central Park. The marathon grew steadily, if modestly, until somebody—no one is certain who—suggested that the 1976 race expand to all five boroughs of New York City. At first even Lebow had his doubts, but once persuaded, he hurled all of his energy, imagination and considerable stubbornness into making it the best and biggest marathon in the world—it had 28,140 entrants last year.
Lebow was found to have cancer in February of 1990. Even as he underwent chemotherapy, he continued to run, first on the roof of the hospital and then back out on the roads and paths of Central Park, where he was greeted constantly by other runners. Though Lebow ran 69 marathons, he ran his own five-borough race just once, in 1992, 18 months alter major surgery. He and an old friend, nine-time New York City Marathon winner Grete Waitz, finished in 5:32:34, cheered on every step of the way by grateful citizens of the Big Apple.
On Nov. 6, when the New York City Marathon is held for the 25th time, that gratitude will again be on display. "It was funny trying to explain Fred to the newsmen who didn't know him," said Road Runners Club publicist Raleigh Mayer on Sunday. "They said, 'He had no wife or children, no family?' I said, 'No, everybody feels like Fred is part of their family. He has the biggest family in America.' "
Basic Football Productions (BFP), a Wisconsin video company, cites research estimating that 70 million women in America don't know how many points a field goal is worth. We're not sure whether this is good news or bad, but BFP clearly finds it alarming enough to have released a 55-minute video, Basic Football, intended for women. The star of the video is that smirking scatback, Burt Reynolds, who suited up in Semi-Tough and The Longest Yard and, in real life, for Florida State.
The video opens with Reynolds in an empty football stadium. "This is where they play football," he says. "Which is a lot better than playing on a basketball court." It goes downhill from there.
The video isn't just imbecilic; it's also offensive. In one scene a muscular tank-topped male "teacher" walks into a classroom filled with women and asks, "Who wants to learn about football?" Giggling and smiling coquettishly, the women raise their hands. Pretty retro, boys.
Worse is the scene in which a female "interviewer" tells a "quarterback" that it doesn't seem so bad when his pass protection breaks down. "Oh, no?" says the quarterback. "Do you have any idea what it's like to have 1,500 pounds of angry beef tryin' to get you, grab you, throw you on the ground?" The camera shifts to the woman, who, incredibly, has a dreamy, suggestive smile on her face.
For you 70 million women, we hereby inform you that a field goal is worth three points. This video is worth nothing. And if you still want to see Burt smirking, try renting Smokey and the Bandit.
What Price Glory?
Any aging athletes still clinging to mementos of past victories may be interested in what Finnish Olympic legend Lasse Viren has been up to. Winner of the 5,000-and 10,000-meter runs at both the 1972 and '76 Games, the 45-year-old Viren recently put his four gold medals up for sale. The price: One million Finnish markka, or about $200,000, apiece. "If somebody gives a million, he may choose the medal," said Viren, who insists that his decision to sell is not based on any financial hardship. "What does it matter if they are with me or somewhere else?"
In spite of cancer, Lebow (with Waitz) finished in '92.
J. OTTO SEIBOLD
After spending the 1953 football season as an assistant coach at Washington, Lou Saban, then 32, left to take the same job at Northwestern. "All coaches change jobs, especially when they're young," he said at the time. Well, Saban may no longer be so young—he turns 73 this week—but he's still changing jobs. On Oct. 10 he signed on as head coach and development officer at Alfred (N.Y.) State. The Saban odyssey:
1. Case Institute (now Case Western Reserve), Cleveland. Head coach, 1950-52
2. University Of Washington, Seattle. Assistant coach, 1953
3. Northwestern, Evanston, Ill. Assistant coach, 1954; head coach, 1955
4. Mutual Benefit, Chicago. Insurance sales agent, 1956
5. Western Illinois, Macomb. Head coach, 1957-59
6. Boston Patriots. Head coach, 1960-61
7. Buffalo Bills. Scout, 1961; head coach, 1962-65
8. University of Maryland, College Park. Head coach, 1966
9. Denver Broncos. Head coach and general manager, 1967-71
10. Buffalo Bills. Head coach, 1972-76
11. University of Cincinnati. Athletic director, 1976
12. University of Miami. Head coach and athletic director, 1977-78
13. U.S. Military Academy, West Point, N.Y. Head coach, 1979
14. Tampa Downs Racetrack, Tampa. Executive assistant, 1980
15. New York Yankees. President, 1981-82
16. University of Central Florida, Orlando. Head coach, 1983-84
17. New York Yankees. Consultant and scout, 1984-86
18. Martin County High School, Stuart, Fla. Assistant coach, 1986-87
19. South Fork High School, Stuart, Fla. Head coach, 1988
20. Georgetown High School, Georgetown, S.C. Head coach. 1989
21. Middle Georgia Heatwave (semipro), Macon, Ga. Head coach, 1990
22. Peru State College, Peru, Neb. Head coach, 1991
23. Tampa Bay Storm (Arena Football League). Assistant coach, 1992
24. Milwaukee Mustangs (Arena Football League). Head coach, 1994
25. Alfred State College, Alfred, N.Y. Head coach, 1994-??
This Week's Sign That the Apocalypse Is Upon Us
As part of an introductory legal skills course, all first-year students at Harvard Law School are being required to read Juice: The O.J. Simpson Tragedy, an "instant book" published by Globe, a supermarket tabloid.
They Said It
New York Ranger center, on the NHL lockout: "This wouldn't happen in Russia."