In the course ofhis Latin American tour, Rocky Marciano has been mobbed by howling idolators inCaracas, treated to a calypso serenade in Port of Spain, and at S√£o Paulo had atwo-hour interview with a Cardinal, Carlo Carmilo de Vasconcelos Mota. TheCardinal, like all the rest of Latin America, was delighted.
No moredelighted, though, than Rocky himself was on the road to Sorocaba, 60 miles outof S√£o Paulo. The champion is a champion consumer of orange juice and othersoft drinks. It is a long half hour when he does not pause to slake his thirst,and so, en route to Sorocaba, Rocky and his entourage stopped for the usualreason at a bistro they found in a small cotton-belt town.
The tavern ownerrecognized Marciano immediately and took a firm hold on the bar to steadyhimself. His eyes bugged out in awe as he came around the bar to hug thevisitor. And, after some effusion of greetings, Rocky got his order in—orangejuice. There were oranges but no squeezer. The tavern owner was not desolated.He squeezed the oranges by hand. As he did so, word spread through the townthat Rocky Marciano, heavyweight champion of the world, had arrived. The churchbells rang, summoning everyone, and soon 500 persons were crowded around thebar to admire the relaxed, easy movement of Rocky's Adam's apple as he downedthe juice.
April 2, 1956
It was one ofthe greatest days the place had ever known.
Rocky preparedto leave, then had a gracious thought.
"By theway," he asked the owner, "what is the name of your town?"
"We call itS√£o Roque," the man said. "In your language I guess it would be St.Rocky."
THE EAGERENGLISH EYE
There isapproximately one field mouse for every human in Great Britain, and 80 otherspecies of mammals besides; in the last two years they have found themselvessubject to an invasion of privacy such as wild animals have probably not beenforced to endure since the beginning of time. Hares with an urge to gambol inthe moonlight can never be sure that a man with night glasses is not eyeingthem from some shaded copse, and even seals have been seized, wrestled to theirbacks, and unceremoniously tagged with an identifying label. England, in aword, now has mammal watchers—members of a society that is doing its best tomake bird watching seem effete.
"We want tobe as scientific as possible," explains Dr. Kenneth Backhouse of London,one of the society's leading spirits. "We want to keep out the bleeding'earts—you know, the dear old souls who want to watch the little furrycreatures. The bleeding 'earts have nearly ruined bird watching, and withmammals they'd be fatal."
With this inmind, the society's rabbit and seal watchers, whale observers and bat ringers(who catch bats and put identifying bands on their forearms) sternly snooped onmammals all over England. The habits of weasels, seals, stoats, squirrels,polecats, rabbits, deer, rats, moles and voles were under scrutiny. It wasrumored that hares seemed to be moving into rabbit holes—now that the rabbitshave fallen prey to myxomatosis. One J.H.F. Stevenson reported that femalefoxes call their young with a "wuffling" sound—"Ug, ug, ug,ug," said very rapidly with the mouth shut. Dead badgers were in demand—fordissection. "Bleeding 'earts," said Dr. Backhouse proudly, "wouldnever scrape a dead badger off a road."
The society'smost massive problem? Whales, the doctor thought. "We know that numbers ofwhales and dolphins and porpoises are washed up, stranded on beaches aroundBritain every year. It's the duty of anyone seeing a stranded whale to reportit to the Registrar of Wrecks. The Coastguards used to do it, but with radar,the number of Coastguards is going down. But there must be lots of people whowould be interested enough to do it—if you could only publicize the fact thatthey should. That's the sort of thing we want to do."
MEET ME IN ST.LOUIS
St. Louis is toU.S. soccer as Philadelphia is to scrapple, so it was no surprise that the U.S.Olympic soccer trials were held there last week. The 15-man team—the first fullU.S. squad in any sport to be chosen for the November Olympics—now faces thenext question: How to get to Melbourne?
When it comes todoling out travel money, the U.S. Olympic Committee lists sports roughly inorder of their "mass base." Soccer is third from last on the list,outranking only cycling and field hockey. To help raise the $35,000 expensekitty, the committee hopes to match the U.S. soccer team against visitingEnglish, Scots and German amateur teams this spring and summer. The team willdefinitely go to Melbourne; however, a scheduled elimination match with Mexicowas called off and the U.S. won by default when the Mexicans could not raiseenough pesos for their own expenses.
In Australia theAmericans will not have to strain very hard to better previous U.S. Olympicrecords. The U.S. has been represented by soccer teams at the Games since 1924(16 years after soccer was added to the list of Olympic events). That year theAmericans survived the first round, defeating an Estonian team, only to loseout to Uruguay 3-0. Since then the U.S. has never got beyond the first round,has scored a grand total of two points in 24 years.
Unsurprisingly,four members of the 15-man 1956 team are St. Louisans, and so is the top-rankedalternate, John Traina (members of the selection committee admitted that theymight have picked Traina for the first squad, but felt that one more man mightgive the team too much of a Missouri accent). Otherwise, the teammates areeminently representative of the whole country. Four players are New Yorkers,three are from Chicago, with Los Angeles, University Park, Pa., Syracuse andCincinnati represented by one man each. Among the players are three soldiers, abarber, a mailman, a shipping clerk and a truck driver. The team's flashiestplayer, Inside Forward Zenon Snylyk, 22, is a naturalized American born in theUkraine who is also a political science student at the University of Chicago.Next fall he plans to move to St. Louis, so he can play more soccer.
LESSON ON AGRECIAN URN
Earl Alexanderof Tunis tossed off an idea about Olympic competition the other day, and it wasenough to make the turf tremble on the playing fields of Harrow: Why botherabout the distinction between amateurs and professionals anyhow? "Leteverybody compete," cried Earl Alexander. "Then there can be noarguments afterward. After all, the world has changed considerably since theOlympic Games were revived in the 1890s by Baron Pierre de Coubertin of France.For one thing, there were few professional athletes of any description at thattime."
Lord Alexanderhurled his Olympian thunderbolt in Montreal, while revisiting the country heonce served (1946-52) as King George VI's Governor General. He was the sameAlexander who led the Allied forces to victory in the Mediterranean in WorldWar II, who won his field marshal's baton in the liberation of Rome—and who setrecords for the mile and two miles at Sandhurst. As a lithe lieutenant of theIrish Guards, Alexander won the Irish Amateur Mile in 1914 with a commendabletime of 4:33. He grew up in the full bloom of gentlemanly amateurism in Britishsport, today heads the crusty Marylebone Cricket Club. Yet, in Montreal...
"People nowhave to work so hard to make a living," said his lordship, "that theyare hard put to find the time and the energy for rigorous training. Expenseswhich they receive...help them out. Take the Russians. They aren't amateurs andthey aren't professionals. They are actually civil servants."
Old HarrovianAlexander should have known that creeping civil servantism was a big reason forthe decline and fall of the original Olympic Games. In the sixth century B.C.Solon started handing out 500 drachmas to any Athenian who came home fromOlympia a winner. Soon leading athletes were drawing free meals and freefront-row seats at public spectacles. The Sacred Games became profane, briberybecame commonplace, and the cities of Greece bid competitively for the servicesof the Olympic heroes. By the fifth century, the top musclemen of the day wereworshiped as demigods.
For a long timethe athletes lived it up handsomely in Hellas. Gradually they became anindolent class unto themselves, stylishly pensioned, supported and bribed bythe state, and organized into synods, or unions, to protect their privileges.Most Athenians were, of necessity, vegetarians; the athletes gorged onsteak.
Inevitably,Greece's kept athletes began to look like Strasbourg geese, bred and fattenedfor the public to venerate. Had he consulted his history books, MarshallAlexander would have discovered that great generals, like Epaminondas and anearlier Alexander, scorned the professional Olympians as being too useless formilitary service. Had he looked at the marbles and painted artifacts in theBritish Museum, he might have discovered why: the graven likenesses of Greekathletes by 300 B.C. show a race of muscle-bound pinheads. Compared to thestatues and the murals of their sleek-sinewed ancestors—amateurs all—thestate-supported athletes were sorry slobs indeed.
The Greeks had aword or two for them. "Of all the countless evils throughoutHellas"—Euripides wrote it down—"none is worse than the race ofathletes...Slaves of their belly."
The studentrosters of most U.S. colleges are not exactly choked with female basketballplayers; girls seem more inclined to dream of hitting it rich in Hollywood thanof sinking the old casaba from outside the foul line, and college men aregenerally left unchallenged to reap the sports headlines. The reverse of allthis is true, however, at Wayland College (enrollment 482) in Plainview (pop.18,000), Texas—home of the Hutcherson Flying Queens, who have just won thewomen's national AAU basketball championship for the third time in a row. IfWayland's basketball court boasted a marquee it would just have to read, likeMinsky's: "Girls! Girls! Girls!"
Wayland's men'steam has a hard time when it hits the road. People are forever saying, "Oh,you fellows come from the same school as that girls' team." They can onlycomfort themselves by reflecting that a man—a wealthy Texas rancher namedClaude Hutcherson—was the cause of it all. In 1949, when Wayland's presidentasked Hutcherson to see what he could do about helping out, few people even inPlainview were conscious that girls played basketball at the little college.Then, as now, most girls' basketball teams of any consequence were supported byindustrial concerns. Hutcherson, however, set out to make Way-land the best inthe world.
He began byflying the Wayland girls to their games—thus giving the team a certain glamour,and at the same time advertising the fact that his various enterprises includea flying service. He bought the team flashy blue and white uniforms, pledgedhimself to pay their expenses and made it plain that he didn't care how farthey might have to travel to find suitable opposition. Girls all over Texas,New Mexico and Oklahoma suddenly started hoping that they could be FlyingQueens too—40 or 50 hopeful young women now show up at Wayland each year to tryfor the team. Wayland's varsity coach, Harley Redin, is now in charge of thegirl players. They have become, he says, "The first fast-breaking team inwomen's basketball."
The FlyingQueens really hit their stride in 1952 by beating the Hanes Hosiery Team ofWinston-Salem, N.C. which had held the national championship for three yearsand had accumulated a winning streak of 101 games. Since then they have flown9,000 miles a year looking for worthy opponents, have run up a 75-game winningstreak of their own. Six Wayland girls were on the U.S. squad which won thewomen's basketball championship at last year's Pan-American Games.
ClaudeHutcherson is still the team's No. 1 fan. Before this year's AAU tournament atSt. Joseph, Mo. he hired a "nationally recognized" hair stylist to givethe team that look of chic so necessary to feminine morale. After the girlswon, they and their supporters were brought home in nine Beechcraft Bonanzas,which approached Plainview flying in close formation for the edification oftownspeople waiting, by the hundreds, at the airport. "The FlyingQueens," said, Chamber of Commerce Manager Wayne Smith after the girlslanded, "have spread the name of Plainview over the nation. We're mightyproud of you."
All reallyearnest football teams believe in filming their own games because it helps inanalyzing mistakes afterward and because, well, everybody else does. The NewYork Football Giants have now learned, in court, another good reason for film.A onetime halfback named Joe Petruzzo told the jury that the Giants started himin a preseason game with Los Angeles, back in 1954, then dropped him because hesuffered a broken thumb in the game; Joe wanted $6,000. No, indeed, the Giantssaid; Joe just wasn't good enough for the Giants.
In a darkenedcourtroom, Coach Jim Lee Howell and Halfback Petruzzo reviewed the film for thejury. Sample:
Howell: See, theball carrier comes through.... He should have been duck soup for Petruzzo.
Petruzzo: Watchthe next play and see if I didn't take care of the outside. I turned the playin.
Howell: Youdidn't make the tackle.... [Now] on this play you can see Joe come in but heslips....
Petruzzo: A lotof players slip, Coach.
Howell: Goodplayers don't slip, Joe boy.
The jury votedfor Howell.
At the start ofeach wrestling season, Art Griffith, genial, gray-haired coach of the amazingOklahoma A&M team, tells his new wrestlers about a prairie battle betweentwo bull buffaloes. It is a parable which may explain how the Aggies have won19 NCAA tournaments, including this year's, since the championships began in1928.
"The buffalois all shoulders," Griffith says, "and he's mighty. Two of them cometogether and you can hear the crash on the next reservation. They horn eachother until both stand exhausted and wheezing. Finally one backs away, nibblesa wisp of grass and heads for the water hole.
"Then thetimber wolf, with a fraction of the buffalo's strength, can slay the bull ofthe herd."
Griffith prefersthat his wrestlers develop skill instead of bulging muscles, and so the Aggiesquad does only a mile of roadwork a day, instead of five, and practices onlyan hour and a half, with 30 minutes of that given to tactics anddiscussion.
Griffith takesmuch of his philosophy from his predecessor, the revered late Edward ClarkGallagher, who introduced wrestling at A&M in 1916. Gallagher teams ran astring of 68 consecutive victories from 1921 to 1932 and had another string of27 going at the time of his death in 1940. Griffith ran that string up to 76before losing his first match in 1951 to Oklahoma University.
This continuingsuccess in part explains the interest of wrestling fans in Oklahoma, both atthe university and at A&M. This year's NCAA championships at GallagherHall, the A&M gymnasium, set a new attendance record of 17,000, topping the15,000 established last year at Ithaca. But the crowd of 7,000 which pressedinto the Aggie gym for the finals was only the second-best crowd of the year.Earlier an estimated 8,200 filled almost every seat for a dual meet withOklahoma University.
Griffith thinkslocal interest is in part due to victory, in part to the interesting stylewhich has spread out from Oklahoma's schools to other colleges where formerAggies are coaching—at Illinois, Michigan State, Michigan, Navy, Syracuse,Pitt, North Carolina, Texas A&M.
"We have awide-open style of wrestling out here," he said, "compared with thebrute-strength style that has been followed in the East for so long. Now peoplearen't going to pay their money to see a couple of crushers grunt and groanwhile they work on each other. That's no fun for anyone, except possibly insatisfaction for the fellow doing the crushing."
He compares thenew style of wrestling to the change in football, a game which has progressedfrom battering line-play to the more interesting forward pass and the split-Toffense.
It is also asuccessful style. The Aggies won the tournament with 63 points, Oklahoma U. wassecond with 62, and Pitt, coached by an old Aggie, Rex Peery, was third with51.
There are notmany things a horse owner can say with quotable grace when, counting onsuccess, he watches his horse lose. The language of grief is simple and, itwould appear, international. "That, I suppose, is horse racing," saidLeslie Combs II when Nashua came in a sad fifth at Gulf-stream Park a fortnightago.
Last week it wasthe turn of Britain's Queen Mother Elizabeth. She sat watching the green andmisty turf at Aintree on Grand National day with every reason to believe thather sleek gelding Devon Loch was about to become the first royal horse to winthe big race in more than half a century. Devon Loch had taken all the jumpswith ease, was leading the field and had only 50 yards to go.
"Devon Lochhas it! Devon Loch has it!" the cry went up. It was at that moment thatweary Devon Loch, shying from a shadow or slipping or for whatever reason, lethis hind legs sprawl. In the royal box, reporters say, the Queen Mother droppedher binoculars and put her hand over her heart. Devon Loch's rider, DickFrancis, tried to get the horse to his feet, finally gave up, dismounted, threwhis whip to the ground and wept. The field swept by.
The winningowner went immediately to the Queen Mother to express sympathy. Said the QueenMother:
"Well, thatis racing."
He has nofear
Of the water hole;
Among his clubs
Is a fishing pole.
CURRENT WEEK & WHAT'S AHEAD
Top honors in the Sebring sports car race went, notunexpectedly, to Argentina's Juan Manuel Fangio and Italy's Eugenio Castellottiin a Ferrari. Almost of equal interest was the fine race driven by BobSweikert, Indianapolis "500" champion, making his debut in sports carracing. "Novice" Sweikert and his teammate finished third in aJaguar.
The special Corvette driven by John Fitch gaveChevrolet a highly respectable premi√®re at Sebring; Fitch finished ninth. Atthe same time Chevrolet doubtless learned some lessons in the mechanicaldifficulties, including a snapped axle, that afflicted another pair ofCorvettes under the grueling race conditions.
Moscow lifted the curtain slightly on pre-Melbourneplans. Said Mikhail Pesliak, vice-president of the Russian Olympic Committee:one million Russian athletes are training with Melbourne in mind. The best10,000 will be brought to Moscow for trials in August in a new stadium to hold100,000 spectators. There a final team of 400 will be picked for the Games.
Seattle, temporarily bereft by loss of the Gold Cup(American Power Boat Association trophy) to Detroit, got a major consolationprize. The city was picked by the U.S. Inboard Racing Commission as the site ofthe 1956 National Hydro Championship race (which was held in Detroit lastyear). The race will be run on Lake Washington August 5.
School authorities in Iowa announced new track ruleswhich will disqualify any high school runner who collapses after breaking thetape. Said an Iowa official: young athletes "must learn that winning a raceis not the most important thing in their life if it endangers theirhealth."