Donald WalterHolleder is a tall, flat-muscled young man with a crew haircut, steady greeneyes and a deep dimple in his chin. He has the big hands and feet of an Olympicswimmer but looks and moves more like a high-scoring basketball forward—ormaybe an All-America end. Habitually he addresses strangers as "sir,"and then his voice is soft and pleasant, built around a modest, almost bashfulgrin. On occasion, however, it can become clipped and demanding and forceful,which is only part Don Holleder and part the training for the life he haschosen.
Holleder grew upin Rochester, N.Y. But now he lives, along with a lot of other young menwearing crew haircuts, in a big gray building covered with ivy at the U.S.Military Academy, West Point. There he is a first classman, a good student,cadet commander of Company M-2 ("the best company in the corps") and apotential deserter ("I'd like very much to fly for the Air Force when Igraduate").
He is also, ofcourse, quarterback of the Army football team.
December 5, 1955
It is notnecessary to know all these things to know about Don Holleder, the footballplayer, but they help. For, like a thousand other seemingly unrelated itemswhich make up a man, they are more or less important in the story of this boywho wanted to be an All-America halfback, became instead one of the nation'sfinest ends—and then gave it all up for a duty.
And perhaps theyare important because to Holleder himself just accepting a challenge and doinghis best without complaint in a new and tougher job under tremendous pressurewasn't quite enough. There also had to be a happy ending. Last Saturday, like astory in a very satisfying book, the happy ending came along when Army beatNavy 14-6.
Later, as 100,000chilled spectators still jammed the exits leading out of Philadelphia'sMunicipal Stadium, the young man they talked about most was peeled down to thetape on his ankles in a gloomy dressing room under the west stands, tellingthrough battered but grinning lips how it felt to be Army's quarterback on aday when the Cadets beat Navy.
"I'mhappier," Don Holleder said, "than I've ever been over any footballgame I ever played. Uebel and Murtland and Lash and the line"—and he wavedat the room full of his teammates—"they were great. I'd ask them to get twoyards and they'd get four. We'd need four and they'd get six."
He talked aboutplay selection. "Gosh, I made a lot of mistakes. Particularly there when wenearly scored at the half [see page 22]. The Colonel sent in instructions topass but there was so much noise and I was so confused I guess I didn't hearreal good."
To which CoachBlaik just grinned. "Don't let him kid you," he said. "He heard meall right. He was just showing me who was really running this team."
"It'sfunny," said Holleder, "but we really weren't disappointed at allbecause we didn't score. Everyone felt real good; just real good. Because we'drun through them for about 80 yards and we knew then that we could beatthem."
There was alittle boy standing in the dressing room with his father, a sergeant attachedto the training detachment at The Point, and Holleder broke away to shake hishand and rumple his hair.
"Hi,Dee," he said. "Did you like the game?"
Then, with a"sir," he asked to be excused so he could shower and dress and catchthe rest of his teammates who were already piling on the waiting bus, headingfor downtown hotels and families and friends and the big victory party thatnight. But before he could get away someone asked Holleder the question thathad to be answered. How did he feel, now that it was all over, about the bigexperiment: the switch to quarterback after being a great end—and giving up achance to be an almost-cinch All-America this year?
"Well,"said Holly, "it was a real challenge and...well, I have a certain feelingnow, knowing I had a big hand in the victory over Navy this year. If I wasstill playing end I'd have just been doing what I was told."
He thought thisover a minute and then grinned a little. "Maybe I can say it better,"he said. "Here's the difference. Last year I played end in the Navygame—and we lost. This year I played quarterback and we won."
OPEN SEASON ONCOACHES
Anyone who haskept in touch with the hangings of football coaches this season—in effigy, upto now—is entitled to conclude that this year there are more sophomores incollege than usual. One recent day at San Jose State the effigy trick took anew twist when an ill-mannered crowd strung up an effigy of the coach's wife.This wiped off whatever smiles were left to the idea and may have ended theeffigy act for a while.
It has not, ofcourse, eased the coach's fundamental situation—uncertainty of tenure. At theUniversity of Washington, where no coach, not even the illustrious Gloomy GilDobie, ever has resigned of his own accord, Johnny Cherberg faced mutiny in theranks of a team he had coached through a 5-4-1 season, successful by comparisonwith two previous autumns (2-8 last year and 3-6-1 in 1953) and in the light ofmediocre material available to him. A delegation of more than 30 playerspresented Harvey Cassill, athletics director, with a list of grievances. Amongthem: a slap supposedly administered to Guard Gene Pedersen for incurring aholding penalty, whereas the fact was, as Pedersen and Cherberg agreed, thatthe coach had only chucked Pedersen under the chin in an effort to cheer himup.
But there wereother allegations: "He appears to be affected...by pressure towin...Players have been shocked and befuddled by the coach's reaction undervarious pressure conditions."
And he had,players said, "yelled" at them, refused to let them eat apples on anairplane, bawled one out for eating a second piece of pie and refused to lettwo players ride back from a game with their girls.
There wereplayers who sided with the coach. Fred Robinson, 230-pound Negro tackle andAll-Coast selection, snapped, "It's the rottenest thing I've heard of. Mostof them [the dissident players] didn't earn the right to play ball." Therewere influential alumni on Cherberg's side too, and all but one of hisassistant coaches. The exception was Jim Sutherland, backfield coach, who isleaving Cherberg's staff and whose name turns up repeatedly in revoltingplayers' statements that Sutherland had "nothing to do with" theiraction. Sutherland himself denied playing the Iago role: "Any transgressionof mine in this football situation was an unwitting, well-meaningthing."
Amid the uproarthe Washington Quarterbacks Club threw its influential "100% support"behind Cherberg, "a real gentleman." Jim Phelan, who coached theHuskies for 12 years and thinks of Seattle as "the worst town in Americafor a football coach," blamed "the same little off-campus group ofjerks that were always stirring up things around there."
FinallyVice-President H. P. (Dick) Everest met with Cherberg and told him theuniversity administration would investigate and make its report to the board ofregents December 10.
With 70% of hissquad against him, Cherberg was tight-lipped but smiling.
"I think Ican straighten out the situation," he said. "I can and I must."
When Texansdecide to do something they don't piddle around. Looking for some way todramatize the fact that the Olympic Games are less than a year away (and, atthe same time, to pep up their football team for the big game with Howard PayneCollege), the students of Abilene Christian decided to stage a Texas version ofthe ceremony that traditionally opens the Olympics. And so, 500 undergraduates,each running 300 yards or so apiece, relayed a flaming torch 83 miles fromAbilene to Howard Payne's stadium at Brownwood, Texas. The 500th man to takethe torch was, fittingly, one of the brightest U.S. hopes for the Olympics,Abilene Christian's own Bobby Morrow, the tall, lean dash man who ran the 100in an unofficial 9.1 last June.
Of course—andthis is never to be uttered aloud in Texas—the stunt itself was piddling whenmeasured against the ceremony that actually will open the Olympics next fall.That ceremony, the most ambitious of its kind in history, will begin in Greece,on the plains of Olympia, in October. There the torch will be ignited, carriedby 350 young Greek runners to Athens, then (transferred to a miner's lamp)placed aboard a plane and flown to Australia. Then, down under, the torch willbe relayed 2,750 miles for 15 days and nights from Cairns to Melbourne'sOlympic Stadium in time for the opening of the games on the afternoon of Nov.22, 1956.
On that afternoonBobby Morrow of Abilene devoutly hopes to be among those present. After he haddelivered the torch in the pregame ceremony at Brownwood, Morrow said he hadbeen back in training for two months now. "I didn't do anything this summerbut run a few jack rabbits," he said, "and I caught 'em too. Now I'mrunning mostly 50-yard sprints and practicing starts. The movies [films takenby his coach, Oliver Jackson] show I'm not getting much arm action. And I'mstarting too low. But I just about got my legs in shape. I don't know if I'llmake the Olympic team, but I'm sure going to try."
Morrow has plentyof competition ahead of him before the Olympics. On Dec. 12 he flies toAustralia with Wes Santee and Bob Richards as a guest of the Australiangovernment. He will run in exhibitions in both Australia and New Zealand. Nextyear Morrow is scheduled to compete in the Compton Invitational at Los Angeles,the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics meet in San Diego, theAAU in Bakersfield, the NCAA trials and, finally, the Olympic trials.
After his part inthe Olympic ceremony at Brownwood, Morrow sat with his fellow students in theAbilene Christian rooting section, but the flame that had burned brightly allthe way to Brownwood failed to set the Abilene Christian team on fire. HowardPayne won 21 to 6.
For thirty-twoyears the House of Lords had not heard a solitary word from one of its mostdistinguished members, George Horatio Charles, fifth Marquess of Cholmondeleywhich, as almost everyone must know, is pronounced "Chumley." He brokesilence just the other day, moved, as he put it, "at long last...by thewish to do something about the rabbit."
The rabbit is thesubject of a good deal of solicitude among animal-loving Britons. Regarded ascrop-and-pasture-destroying pests by farmers, Britain's bunnies have beendeliberately afflicted with myxomatosis, a painful but only slowly fataldisease, in an effort to destroy them (SI, Oct. 25, '54). Sporting methods,like shooting and ferreting, and other methods, like gassing burrows andsnaring, have been both inadequate and to some extent inhumane. AsCholmondeley, a man of 72, explained it in gentle but fervent tones to a sparsescattering of peers sprawled on the crimson benches:
"Is it not afact that the only way in which a rabbit can meet a decent death is to come upagainst a first-class shot? And we all know that first-class shots are veryrare. Third-class shots get him in the hind part. And what happens to him then?He goes home and takes a long time to die...We have treated the rabbit in a badway for years and years and if only the government will now eradicate allrabbits...it will be a relief to our conscience."
Even as asportsman—he played vigorous polo and tennis for years and still is agolfer—Cholmondeley has been noted for his prolonged silences. He would arrivefor polo leading his ponies, play a match and depart without ever uttering aword. And as a vegetarian of many years he may have had in mind the effect ofrabbits on carrots when he demanded "drastic legislation" of anunspecified nature to force landowners, under penalty of heavy fines and evenjail, to do right by the rabbit in bringing about his destruction by humanemeans.
In thisconnection, and before departing into a further period of silence at hisNorfolk estate (Houghton Hall, one of England's stateliest Georgian homes), theMarquess fired one parting, first-class shot at the House of Lords.
"If somenoble lords meet in jail," he said, "it will be their ownfault."
Ring no. 8 of theVeteran Boxers Association, which hopes someday to have enough money to takecare of broken-down boxers after managers and promoters are through with them,paid homage the other night to Charlie Goldman, a dapper little man who wears aderby like a kingly crown and a bow tie with the aplomb be applies to suchmatters as the training of Rocky Marciano, heavyweight champion of theworld.
Ring No. 8 is theNew York chapter of the association, started 18 years ago by Lew Tendler andJoe Guinan in Philadelphia, which is Ring No. 1 and also is known tenderly as"the Mother Ring." Its motherly instincts have often saved dead boxersfrom potter's fields and paid hospital bills for sick fighters. It is dreamingof the time when, perhaps, a small portion of television fight receipts will beset aside for such purposes.
A bantamweightfighter in his day, half a century ago, and rather short even for abantamweight, Charlie Goldman was presented with a golden trophy, surmounted bythe figure of a boxer and standing higher than his forehead as he sat behind iton the dais. He listened with a pixie grin to tributes from such ex-championsas Mickey Walker and Bob Olin and with special delight to some words of praisefrom his own tiger, Rocky, even when Rocky, searching for the right word,referred to him as a "great psychoanalyst."
Dr. Goldman'soutstanding contribution to the treatment of boxers' neurological disorders wasdelivered, the champion recalled, just before the opening bell of Rocky's fightwith Joe Louis. Sitting on his stool, Rocky felt the flutter of butterfliesunder his flat, tight-muscled abdomen and hoped prayerfully that his trainerwould come up with some magic words of advice on how to fight this aging butstill terrifying ex-champion. It turned out that Dr. Goldman had indeedanalyzed the situation and was ready with advice for his patient.
"Make it ashort fight," he ordered. "At my age I can't be runnin' up and downthem steps all night."
At bear mountain,N.Y., they frequently have to grind up tons of ice to make synthetic snow fortheir ski meets because of a lack of the genuine article. Last summer a lot ofpeople in the Northeast hurried down to Florida to escape the heat and then hadto dash back because their homes were threatened by hurricanes. A Pennsylvaniafarmer spent $8,000 for equipment to irrigate his drought-stricken corn and twoweeks later his fields were under six feet of floodwater. Possums are movingnorth. The dust bowl area of Texas was drenched, but up in New England andCanada 250,000 acres of birch were killed by successive hot summers.
Suchmanifestations as these have got people to talking about the weather more thanthey ever did before, and that means plenty of talk. Now they are discussingthe weather in a new way. Time was when meteorological conversation would startwith, "Looks like rain." Now a man will say, "I see there's adisturbance east of Puerto Rico which could develop into anotherhurricane." Weather talk is now in terms of climatic changes, meltingicecaps and shifting hurricane belts.
There is noquestion in the public mind that mighty meteorological changes are takingplace, changes that affect its livelihood, safety, sport and recreation. Somepeople seem to blame it all on the explosion of atomic bombs out in the West,but so far scientists have failed to find any convincing connection.
Some weatheranalysts hold that nothing strange is taking place; that normal weatherrepresents an average of extremes and the average seldom occurs. The NationalGeographic Society says that the term "temperate" for the U.S. climaticzone is a laugh, that the contrasts in U.S. weather are as extreme as any onearth.
Some claim thateverything is warming up, but the coldest temperature ever recorded in thiscountry, 69.7° below zero, took place on January 20 last year at Roger's Pass,Mont. Readings of 13° below or under have been taken in 47 states, and the48th, good old sunny Florida, has had an official 2° below zero.
It has gone above100° in every state. North Dakota has had 121°, while Florida has had only109°. Death Valley, Calif. produced the highest ever officially recorded in theU.S., 134°. This is less than three degrees under the world record of 136.4° ina Libyan village in 1922. On June 22,1947, a foot of rain fell in 42 minutes atHolt, Mo. The biggest hailstone hit Potter, Neb. It was 17 inches incircumference, or nearly 6 inches in diameter. California has had a 60-inchsnowfall in a single day.
These are facts,but it also is a fact that Floridians are sympathetic yet a little smug becausethe Northeast is getting the hurricane poundings that they used to get. Thescientists haven't explained this yet. One theory is that it has to do withmysterious changes in the upper air currents. But they admit they don't knowwhether the trend will continue. For all they know, the hurricanes may be backsouth again next year.
In desperationmore people are turning back to such traditional weather prognosticators aswoolly bears, groundhogs and the like. But this year even the woolly bears,those fuzzy caterpillars with the black ends and brown middles, went into adither. When Dr. C. H. Curran of the American Museum of Natural History wentout this fall to make the official survey, some bears had narrow bands(assuring a mean winter), some had wide bands (meaning, relax, it'll bemild).
Now The OldFarmer's Almanac comes right out and says this winter will be "as severe asany of the 20th century." Their man, Abe Weatherwise, does this by delvinginto a trunkful of old statistics.
This may be oneway of doing it. Another would be to turn lots of money over to the WeatherBureau for research into the problem of what goes with the weather, anyway. Butresearch can be dangerous, too. Two months ago a weather recording instrumentfell through the roof of a man's house in Boone, Iowa. The gadget weighed 130pounds.
Well—do you thinkit's going to rain or snow tomorrow?
Fishing is admittedly one of the "carry-over" sports but even IzaakWalton never pushed his pastime with the devotion of six fishermen who havejust made a thoughtful investment in Memorial Park cemetery, near Zanesville,Ohio. All their lots border on a picturesque little lake that is teeming withbluegills, crappies and an occasional bass. The six have organized a fishingclub, elected a president and picked a name: the Hereafter Fishing Club.
SHOOT AND RUN
Pasture archerreally zipped,
Went running with a wail;
He found his bull's-eye came equipped
With four legs and a tail.
CURRENT WEEK & WHAT'S AHEAD
Army beat Navy 14-6 (see page 22) and incidentallyended the Middies' dream of a holiday cruise to Dallas to test TCU and itshigh-powered running star, Jim Swink, in the Cotton Bowl.
So Cotton Bowl officials scanned other vitalscores—Mississippi 26-0 over Mississippi State, Tennessee 20-14 overVanderbilt—and promptly sent off an invitation to Mississippi. Ole Miss,proudly clutching its second straight Southeastern Conference title, acceptedjust as promptly.
Georgia Tech meanwhile earned a chance to meetPittsburgh and appear in the Sugar Bowl for the third time in four years whenBobby Dodd's Yellow Jackets defeated Georgia 21-3.
Oklahoma, already set for the Orange Bowl, won its29th straight victory and turned in the score of the week, 53-0 over OklahomaA&M. In a little-noticed demonstration of what Coach Bud Wilkinson hascoming along for the future, the Oklahoma Frosh ran over the Air Force Academy48-12.
The upset of the week was the 42-20 beatingadministered to mighty Notre Dame by in-and-out Southern California in the LosAngeles Coliseum. Summarized SI Correspondent James Murray: "The crowdcouldn't have been more shocked if the Christians had started to eat thelions." (See page 60.)
The riot of the year was reported from Soviet Armeniawhere Armenian fans raised such a ruckus after their Yerevan Spartaks lost tothe Sverdlovsk (Russian) Officers Club that four of them were sentenced to 25years for hooliganism and related crimes, and eight others got terms rangingfrom one year to 20. One specific charge by Yerevan's shocked Kommunist:Armenians had tried to lynch the referee.