Early in the Presidential campaign it was noted here (SI, Sept. 10) that golf had been made an issue in the campaign. It is perhaps worth noting that as late as election eve the Republican incumbent was still being upbraided by the Democrats for getting his exercise on a golf course. It is not our purpose to analyze the election in detail. It just seems fair to say that golf seems to have won in a landslide.
WINNERS AND LOSERS
Among the athletes who offered themselves to the voters on election day were Dizzy Trout, the old Detroit Tigers' pitcher, George Mikan, the "Mr. Basketball" of the Minneapolis Lakers, and two former football coaches at the University of Washington, Howie Odell and Johnny Cherberg.
Well, Mikan lost his race for Congress and Trout his try for sheriff of Wayne County, Mich. But Odell was voted in as a county commissioner out in Washington and John Cherberg had the rich and rare pleasure of being lieutenant governor of the state whose university not so long ago briskly dispensed with his services.
November 19, 1956
We are a little chary of overdrawing the lessons from these examples, but it is tempting to suggest that if you want your boy to get ahead in politics, forget about basketball and baseball and teach him to be a football player. Or, of course, a golfer.
Olympians were dropping by the hundreds from Pacific skies into Melbourne, but one day last week—Tuesday to be exact—the better part of Australia forgot its role of host to give full and undivided attention to a sport of another breed: a horse race. No ordinary horse race, mind you, but the two-mile classic known as the Melbourne Cup which, if you can picture it, is a sort of Kentucky Derby, World Series and Rose Bowl game all wrapped up into a handful of minutes. Horse racing, come to think of it, is a sort of religion in Australia. That is, everybody participates, to the extent that an estimated $980 million was bet on the ponies in 1955 (in the U.S., whose population is 20 times that of Australia's, the total bet, legal and illegal, was perhaps $7 billion).
Certainly no race anywhere holds the population in such frenzied grip as the Melbourne Cup. A fairly authoritative legend has it that in 1951, for example, a judge in Newcastle District Court looked at his watch, halted sessions in the midst of a larceny case, and ordered Exhibit A—a stolen radio—tuned in on the Cup race. This time, for the 95th running, 90,000 fans (including some 400 visiting Olympians) poured out to Flemington race course, a sprawling 316 acres of reclaimed swampland on the banks of the Maribyrnong River, to drink in the springtime sun, wash down hot meat pies and chilled oysters with beer and focus on the 22-horse field.
Australian eyes were chiefly on the favorite, a New Zealand-owned gelding named Red Craze, winner of eight races this season. In fact, Red Craze had become such a center of attraction that when his owner, Mrs. A. B. Bradley, received the usual threatening letters a cordon of armed guards was placed around his stable. Another circumstance worthy of respectful note in the U.S., where a weight of more than 130 pounds on a horse is traditionally considered brutal and crushing, is that the favorite was asked to carry, over the two-mile distance, 143 pounds.
But when all bets were down Red Craze wasn't quite up to it. He lost in a photo finish to the 15-to-l long shot Evening Peal (weighted at 116 pounds), who became the seventh mare in close to a century to win the Cup.
The bookies, of course, were delighted at not having to pay off on Red Craze. And the rest of Australia, having witnessed another historic day, was ready to turn attention to the Games.
SAYS THE A.M.A.
The editors know of only one other weekly magazine in the country which has devoted an entire issue to honoring the Olympic Games. It, too, appears this week, but not on newsstands, for it is The Journal of the American Medical Association.
The Journal's method of saluting the Olympics is its very own and manages to be original without departing an inch from tradition. There, as always, are the learned articles punctuated with tables and charts; there are the X-rays which (to the layman's eye) look like snapshots of doom. But this week the articles are about injuries, nutrition, longevity, etc. as they are connected with sports, and the X-ray is of Dr. Roger Bannister's heart.
Like a doctor with a new patient, the Journal records a brief medical history of the Olympic Games and finds that fitness was achieved in the centuries before Christ very much as it is achieved now. "At the site of the games, training table meals were provided. Fried and boiled foods and cold drinks were forbidden. Cheese, figs, and wheat bread were staples of the training diet, and most of the competitors abstained from wine.... Only light conversation was permitted at meals to encourage proper digestion."
All through history, in fact, doctors seem to have urged physical activity on their patients, though not always for the right reasons. In the 16th century, for example, one man prescribed exercise because it tended to "calm the humours," and another ruled that, while swimming was beneficial in many cases, it was positively not to be used in the treatment of melancholy.
Along with the ancient and the modern medical lore, there is one article in nontechnical English that almost anybody can understand. It was written by Robert Kiphuth, the swimming coach at Yale, and its title is "Physical Fitness for All." Mr. Kiphuth offers a modern prescription for fitness and—encouragingly—offers it to everyone, of whatever age or condition:
"...even if the body has not been given sufficient exercise, nature quickly helps to repair this past neglect.... The organic systems begin to show more energy, the muscular system begins to become better toned.... Gradually the body shows greater endurance and more capacity for work, and there is a rapid recovery from fatigue."
It sounds like an old, old story, familiar to nearly everybody from high school on. And yet Mr. Kiphuth in writing his article, and the American Medical Association in honoring sport, seem to indicate a hope that the message will get through and that a few more people will discover that simple fitness is the best available substitute for sleeping tablets, vitamin pills, chemical aids to digestion and the drugs that ease the tense.
REFLECTIONS IN TEXAS
In Austin, students of the University of Texas hanged Football Coach Ed Price in effigy, and a few days later Price resigned. The effigy-hanging was a childish act of resentment on the part of those for whom nothing is a substitute for victory (Price's team had lost seven of eight games this season), and its cruelty was softened only a little a few days later when 100 or so Texas students gathered at Price's home to praise him for himself—he is an extraordinarily well-liked man—and for the coaching job he had done.
Price's lack of success, it appears, lies primarily in his inability to recruit the best high school players. Oklahoma, year in and year out among the best college teams in the country, is always well supplied with Texas boys, who presumably should be on Price's squad but who instead have helped Oklahoma wallop Texas five times running. This is a most bitter state of affairs for Texans to contemplate, and the result was bitter criticism of the coach.
At any rate, Price resigned and that was that. Except that Anita Brewer of the Austin American-Statesman sought out Price's wife and asked how she felt about Ed's resignation.
"After the West Virginia game, it seemed to be inevitable," Betty Price said. "But we kept on hoping—hoping we'd beat Arkansas, then Rice.
"It would be unfair," she admitted, "to say I haven't cried. I have, and many times. It would be untrue to say that I was left untouched by the quarterbacking in the stands and the criticism of Ed I have heard."
In previous years she had tried staying away from games because she thought the worry over each play, the hurt of each grandstand critic's remark could be avoided at home. But she found that she still worried, and she missed seeing the games.
Then last season she discovered something. She began sitting with her children (Patricia, 10, and Danny, 9) in the Knothole Section and found the place she should have been all the time.
"Children don't criticize the coach. They don't quarterback every play, and they're always for the home team. Sitting with the children, I could be hopeful with them. I could relax and enjoy the game.
"But," she said, "it was difficult to explain to the children why Ed was quitting. To children, who are taught it doesn't matter if you win or lose but how you play the game, it is hard to make them understand that their father is resigning because his team didn't win."
Archie Moore has now moved into Chicago for his final training period before the Nov. 30 championship fight with Floyd Patterson, and bulletins and pronouncements in Archie's best style have already begun to crackle out to the press. ("I am not without pity for the boy," etc.) Archie's battle cries, of course, are part of the public and professional Archie and among other things are intended to have a stimulating effect on the gate.
A fortnight ago, when Martin Kane, our boxing writer, visited him at his California training camp—up in the rattlesnake country, miles from telephones and the now-attendant press—Archie was in a more reflective mood.
At night, sitting by the fire in his ranch cabin, Old Archie's eyes misted over when he talked about the years of his disappointment—the long years when he spent the strength of his youth in tank towns and became one of the ring's great fighters—knowing, accomplished, courageous, terribly dangerous. Now he has come, late, into the center of the stage against a strong youngster who is still sharpening the tools of his trade, and Old Archie, who knows better than anyone how sharp his own tools once were, cannot help but wonder if the years have dulled them too much.
Still, Old Archie is confident because it is the nature of the man to be confident, and he took a long, hard look at Patterson during the signing in Chicago and came to some conclusions.
"I size up Patterson," he said, "as a man that is definitely cunning and not naive. He doesn't let you see himself. I have a good suspicion that he's an awful good fighter, even at this stage.
"In Floyd's heart," he said, "he wants the championship. I have it in my heart to win, too. I've been fighting over a span of 22 years. I'd be the only light heavyweight champion ever to win the heavyweight championship. I'd be the oldest to win it. I know they kick Jersey Joe Walcott's age around the same as mine, but I'd be the oldest.
"I'd like to close out a beautiful career with that."
Archie husbanded the strength left to him. Some days he skipped his road work, some days he did not box. When he did, he hit hard although he was as gentle as he could be with his sparring partners, Windy Wenbourne and Clint (Tiger) Bacon. "He isn't out to kill us," Tiger explained.
Old Archie was clearly overweight, perhaps as much as 10 pounds over the 183 or so which would be his best fighting weight now, but it did not seem to worry a man who can make the light heavyweight limit at will.
He drove his latest sports car—a red TR3—down to Ramona most mornings. There he chatted with friends, did the camp's grocery shopping and usually stopped at the home of an octogenarian couple to leave a basket of food. They live in a $40,000 home, own a Lincoln and are destitute.
"They're old," Archie explained, "and don't want to give up those nice things." Archie can understand that.
TEARS IN CALIFORNIA
The state of California resumed last week in Los Angeles the self-appraisal of its state of boxing. The barn-door target of the present inquiry is boxing's fattest oligarch, 300-pound Babe McCoy (nee Harry Rudolph; New York City Police No. E-5043), whose matchmaker's license the Reform Commission seeks to revoke on the grounds that he connived in fixed fights, was an undercover manager and associated with gamblers.
The witnesses, boxers and managers testified, with one exception, to McCoy's lordly disdain for an equal contest. Only Art Aragon stood by the fat man in the dark chronicle of rigged bouts and duplicity.
Among the accusers was the onetime light heavyweight champion of California, Watson Jones, who in March had told Governor Goodwin Knight's investigating committee that he was just "McCoy's little colored boy." Jones was no less explicit this time. "McCoy was my boss man," he said. "He gave me back what he thought I should have. I don't remember how much but it was a lot less than half."
He went on to list fights in which "McCoy would just tell me to go there, make it look good and get out early." He told the commission how McCoy wanted it done. "He'd also say to let the crowd see me get hit on the chin so that it would look good." It didn't look so good now, as Jones continued: "I never cheated Mr. McCoy. I brought him all my money. I brought him every nickel." Then, in the fullness of his long shame, he broke down and wept.
SOCCER AT MICHIGAN STATE
The game of soccer, a quietly booming participant sport in U.S. preparatory schools and colleges, has carried out one of its most notable new invasions this season by thrusting a boot in the door at football-preoccupied Michigan State University.
While Football Coach Duffy Daugherty and his players were out of town, an informal soccer club on the campus was expanded (with the blessing of Athletic Director Biggie Munn) into-a varsity soccer team good enough to begin its first intercollegiate season with victories over Michigan and Kenyon.
As soccer coach, Athletic Director Munn named a 28-year-old teacher in the physical education department, Gene Kenney, who is also assistant coach of wrestling. Coach Kenney played a lot of intramural soccer during his undergraduate days at Illinois, and so he accepted the assignment with a soccer buff's enthusiasm and the understanding there would be no recruiting of players, no juggling of late lab sessions and practically no spectators. Biggest crowd so far: 250 at the Michigan game.
Because of classroom conflicts, Coach Kenney never has his full squad together at any one practice. "I have my forwards three nights a week," he says cheerfully, "and my fullbacks the rest of the time. The entire team got together for the first time in the Michigan game." Despite these disadvantages, the team jelled quickly and for a good reason: all but four of the players are foreign-born and grew up with the booting game.
Their remaining games (against Michigan and Purdue) will be played away from home, and so the Spartan booters will not be in direct competition with the crowds of 58,000 that regularly fill Macklin Field Stadium for the football games. But next year, the new Michigan State team might well adopt an old Ivy League device for drawing soccer crowds: play the game just before a football game, preferably right outside the football stadium. People from the parking lots can't help but stop for a look—and if they look long enough they're pretty sure to like soccer.
EYE ON THE BALL
Wayne Mantooth, head football coach of the Muleshoe (Texas) Mules, lay on a hospital stretcher in Lubbock last Friday waiting to be wheeled into surgery. Most of his stomach was to be removed because of ulcers, and Mr. Mantooth understandably looked worried. Someone offered a word of preoperative encouragement. "Oh, it isn't the operation," said Mantooth, summing up the problems of all coaches everywhere. "I'm worried about tonight's game."
The runner slackens up his pace
Although the pressure mounts;
He's just recalled a doubtful place
In his expense accounts!
—IRWIN L. STEIN
CURRENT WEEK & WHAT'S AHEAD
•Off with the New, On with the Old
Don't be surprised if there is a return next fall to the system of "split" squads of football officials in intersectional games instead of the present system (a wartime economy move) of using strictly home-conference crews. Some of the biggest officiating rhubarbs of the season have been traceable to hairline regional differences in interpretation of the rules.
Eddie Arcaro revealed at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. that Nashua wouldn't run well with dirt hitting him in the face or with another horse on the outside. "Sometimes I was condemned because I hustled him right to the front.... Nashua's retired now, so I guess it's okay to talk."
•Spectacular, But Not up to Par
Wilt Chamberlain, holding back a bit because he is not yet in top condition, scored 18 points in 15 minutes for Kansas University's varsity basketball team in a warmup game with the freshmen. In a similar game last year Chamberlain, playing on freshman team, led them to an 81-71 defeat of the varsity.
•If at First You Don't Succeed, Try Another Brand
Britain's Stirling Moss, twice runner-up to World Champion Racing Driver Juan Fangio, will try for the top spot next year driving British Van walls in the eight Grand Prix races. Moss drove for Mercedes in 1955, Maserati this year.