For nine years Malaya has lived under a state of emergency, thanks to bands of murderous Communist guerrillas, but the planters and sportsmen who remain are made of stern fiber. Last week, when police flushed a nest of guerrillas in a patch of jungle just off the ninth hole at the venerable Selangor Golf Club, a bald major took a sip of gin and tonic on the club porch and expressed the general view: "Shocking. One might have sliced right into the buggers' camp."
DEMONSTRATION BY PANCHO
Why can't the U.S. produce tennis players good enough to win and keep the Davis Cup? Tantalizing data toward a partial answer came from Australia, where young Ken Rosewall, 22, a bulwark of the Aussies' cup team for four years, now turned pro, has been testing his game against old Pancho Gonzales, 28, of Los Angeles, who used to be an amateur himself before he found there was no real chili money in it. After seven matches Pancho led Rosewall six matches to one.
In other words, Pancho seems to be taking up where he left off last year with another young-amateur-turned-pro—Tony Trabert, whom he beat 74 matches to 27 over the course of 1956. Since Lew Hoad, Australia's remaining whiz kid, is reported simply waiting till next year before he, too, turns pro (and takes on Pancho), it is perhaps time to agree, once for all, that the Davis Cup no longer stands for the summit of excellence in tennis competition, though its interest and international appeal remain strong.
February 4, 1957
Amateur tennis groups in the U.S. are concerned with broadening the appeal the game makes to youngsters. Perhaps a healthy first step would be the acceptance of the open tournament—an idea the USLTA has at last agreed to study. That would be a recognition (which golf made 62 years ago) that a man can make an honest living as a professional after his amateur days are over. Incidentally, such recognition might bring enough youngsters into tennis to win the U.S. a nice long hold on that nice old Davis Cup.
Mad dogs and Englishmen are not in it. "This is sheer damn lunacy," snorted an oldtimer, casting a baleful look at the strange scene taking shape nearby. One had to agree there was something to what he said. It was a black January night, the moon was hidden behind thick clouds and a freezing wind was blowing off the hills of Nottingham. A chilled but curious crowd of several hundred shuffled reluctantly away from the warmth of the Mapperley Golf Club and edged toward the first tee, where Sidney Warren-Green, the club pro, was about to demonstrate his thesis that night golf is feasible.
"This isn't fun, and I'm not crazy," Warren-Green was first obliged to announce. "This is a serious experiment in golf, and I hope you will regard it as such." Nobody really did, however.
Four kerosene lamps just barely drove the darkness away from the tee where Warren-Green and the other members of his foursome were to hit their first shots. Halfway down the fairway was a red lamp tended by two caddies and off in the distance another kerosene lamp marked the pin. One by one the players drove off into the inky blackness with scarcely the vaguest notion where their shots might settle. The pair of caddies down the fairway did their best to take bearings on the balls as they plopped into the soft winter turf, probing the area with pocket flashlights to confirm their suspicions. "Dead on target" or "A little left," someone in the gallery would occasionally volunteer as the golf balls whistled off into obscurity. "If you're off the fairway you've had it," one of the golfers muttered.
This weird British foray into nocturnal golf proceeded for 11 holes, by which time most of the gallery had evaporated and the players, too, had had enough. Due to some amazingly proficient and consistent play only two balls had been lost and five birdies had been carded. Yet even the participants had to concede that the Warren-Green experiment is not quite ready to leave the drawing board. "Accurate judging of distance is not really possible," the inventor explained. "A stranger would have some difficulty in clubbing himself, and it is virtually impossible to read the green. You've got to know it."
Nonetheless, he was not entirely discouraged. "Given nice quiet conditions, it would be a beautiful after dinner game and ideal for the man who has missed his weekend golf because of bad weather or daytime engagements," Warren-Green explained back at the clubhouse. He might have added that it would be helpful to have a fluorescent ball, a portable radar to track it and a faultless golf swing to strike it with. Perhaps the time will come.
MUTINY ON THE "BOUNTY II"
Dick Homestead, first mate on the cruising-racing sloop Bounty II during her maiden voyage from Sausalito, Calif. to New York, first entertained thoughts of mutiny 24 hours out of port. At the time, he and Skipper Ove Rasmussen were crouched in Bounty II's spacious cockpit, inching through one of the smallest railroad tunnels in the U.S., at Corte Madera, Calif., with barely 14 inches of headroom. Oddly enough, they were right on course.
Homestead and Rasmussen, employees of the Coleman Boat & Plastics Co., Sausalito, were the crew for the all-plastic Bounty II on her flatcar-assist-ed cruise to the 1957 National Motor Boat Show at New York's Coliseum.
"I thought the trip would be a fine adventure," said Homestead, "but the only thing I got out of it was a genuine feeling of compassion for the Brotherhood of Railroad Trainmen."
He was seated—comfortably this time—in the Bounty II's cockpit, counting visitors to Coleman's prize exhibit at the Coliseum and recalling the odd voyage.
"We lasted exactly 27 hours on the Bounty, and then we had to abandon ship and hitch a ride on the caboose. In those 27 hours we had traveled 90 miles. I've ridden out a lot of rough storms at sea, but I've never been bounced around as much as I was on that flatcar. It must have had square wheels. The lockers wouldn't stay closed, and the gear we had stowed for the trip spilled out all over the cabin.... You couldn't even stand up."
Homestead, Bounty II's cabinetmaker, and Rasmussen, construction foreman, did not fare much better after they deserted ship.
"The railroad changes cabooses every 150 miles or so. We had to do more packing and unpacking in those eight days than a customs official does in a year. It got cold, too. Some of our canned food didn't thaw out until after we had been in New York for two days."
Though the trip was a hard one, Homestead feels it was worth it because of the enthusiastic reception Bounty II is receiving at the boat show.
"People are amazed at the low cost of the Bounty," he said. "You can figure most boats 40 feet and over to run about $1,000 a foot. We sell the Bounty (which is 40 feet 10 inches) for $18,500, less than half the going rate. Maintenance costs are cheap, too. Think of wood boats. Every seam is a potential leak. Our glass fiber hull is seamless, incapable of springing leaks, thus eliminating the annual expense of hauling her out of the water for caulking. Glass fiber is also completely resistant to marine parasites, electrolysis, dry rot and water absorption. You wouldn't have to take this boat out of the water any more than once in five years."
Though Homestead feels his crosscountry experience with the Bounty II would qualify him as a freight train conductor, he plans to fly back to Sausalito when the boat show is over.
"My wife told me she thought I was insane to make the train trip East," he explained. "If I came back that way, she probably would have me committed."
A MAXIM FROM JOEY
There is a tale still told around Salem, Massachusetts about the master of a spang new Yankee clipper who, after observing British seamanship, wrote in his laconic log: "The British do everything by main strength and ignorance." This is a thought that from time to time has been applied by older boxing men to the clumsy antics of the new television breed of fighter, which is a cross by James D. Norris out of Jimmy Powers, recognized by the IBC but not by the AKC.
From the recently dead past there rose the other night an elderly, blubber-bellied fellow of 35 or so who sells automobiles. He presented himself as the impertinent challenger to a lean, square-shouldered crew-cut of a fighter 10 years younger, and on this particular night 10 times more likely to succeed. Joey Maxim had had 109 professional fights. Eddie Machen had had 19. The odds favored Machen about 4 to 1. Youth and strength would prevail, it was clear.
But, very like an old gentleman slashing his cane at a gang of young toughs, Joey Maxim held off the prevalence of youth for a few glorious rounds and established that a man who once has held the title of champion may, though he lose it, never forget it. Joey stabbed the raw, impetuous Eddie with a virtuoso jab. Joey's experienced eye saw a weakness and crossed Eddie's left with a right. Joey backed off at the precise moment to avoid a right and advanced, though it looked like the minuet against the mambo, to sting his man in the briefly exposed liver.
It went on like that for a few rounds, and then, as if taking teacher's word for granted, Machen seemed to realize that this was actually no more than sleight-of-hand performed by an elderly uncle for the neighborhood children, that he had nothing to fear but his own inexperience. It is notorious that Joey Maxim never could have licked his weight in field mice if he had had to depend on power alone. What he had depended on, throughout his career, was a deftness in avoiding the big punch and a knack for annoying the other fellow with feather taps and ardent hugs, the latter timed to break up relentless onslaughts before they could get started.
In the ninth round Machen caught Maxim with a right hand that left him, a limp mass of rendered lard, on the canvas for a count of nine. The fat, however, had not softened Maxim's heart or head. He was up at nine, beating an honest retreat, the kind that wins a fighter points for ring generalship. While his head worked smoothly and his heart beat strong, Old Joey's flaccid legs gave way on one attempt at the two-step, and he slipped for an instant to his knees. He was up again quickly and, just for the sake of pride and elegance, punched young Machen on the side of the head with a quick right. His ultimate gesture was a 10th-round exhibition of grace and elderly wisdom in avoidance of excessive punishment, but with nothing in it to suggest the craven.
Maxim lost the fight, naturally, but he lifted the hearts of many who believe that 109 fights teach more than 19 fights. Someday our schools will teach spelling and punctuation again, and someday television will be forced to depend on something more than youth, main strength and ignorance.
APPOINTMENT IN VANCOUVER
With a circumspect lack of ceremony, Sid Flaherty, the San Francisco boxing manager, has closed shop and moved north. Sid's new location is Vancouver, Wash., a small (pop. 41,700) city across the state line from Portland where gamblers and bookmakers have long prospered on Oregon money. Flaherty, no doubt, hopes to find the Vancouver climate more bracing and profitable than California's, where the investigative heat withered his devious manager-promoter operations. More important, his coming brings the first permanent show of International Boxing Club (James D. Norris, president) strength to the Northwest, the final stand of the independent, nontelevised promotion.
The first public indication that Sid's caravan was on the road came several weeks ago when Bobo Olson, his onetime middleweight champion, took over Zutz's Cafe, a Vancouver nightspot. Last week a South African heavyweight named Ewart (Pottie) Potgieter, whom Flaherty recently acquired, arrived in town, and Eddie Machen is expected momentarily.
Pottie, whose surname means "one who makes watering pots," is no ordinary heavyweight. Before his American debut in Holyoke, Mass. last month he proudly announced: "I have a chest expansion of 54 inches and a size 20 neck. I have a 90-inch reach. I am 24 years old. I am 7 feet 2 inches tall, and I weigh 332 pounds. I am some eight inches taller and 88 pounds heavier than Primo Camera, and I always fancied boxing."
The fight, unfortunately, was not as grand as the dimensions and resulted in Pottie's first loss in 12 bouts. Pottie stood like a fighter and had a certain grace, but his left was an ineffectual paw and his right ponderous, obvious and harmless.
After the fight, Pottie's physician advised that his patient "should look for some other type of work," but the big fellow was undaunted. So was Flaherty. "The fans in the Northwest area are crazy about heavyweights," he said. "I get mostly lumberjacks and ranchers up there; big, tough guys and they want to see big, tough guys fight. I'll make sure Potgieter won't get hurt. And if he proves he can fight, I'll steer him right into the heavyweight title."
Whether the big, tough guys will prove as credulous as the innocents who gaped when Primo Camera bludgeoned them down some 20 years ago can only be resolved by time and Pottie's toughness. But if it takes steering, Pottie has a clever pilot in the IBC wheelhouse.
The businessman swinging a bat in the picture opposite is, of course, Catcher Roy Campanella of the Brooklyn Dodgers. To appreciate Campy's midwinter activity you have to begin with—Jackie Robinson.
Jackie Robinson was always a needier—whether he was wearing down a pitcher from a spring-legged stance off third or simply slipping iron under the skin of his own managers and teammates and opponents. Now, though in retirement for barely two weeks, Jackie has been at it again.
He has let it be known he thinks that Roy Campanella, his old Dodger teammate of 9 years, who hit only .219 and suffered from a sore hand last year, is old, tired and washed up.
Jackie's needle caught Campanella bending over the counter in his Harlem liquor store. Campy straightened in and let out a long bull bellow, who was heard and gratefully recorded by Sportswriter Dick Young of the New York Daily News.
"I'd be surprised if Jackie didn't say something like that about me," Campy cried. "He has been shootin' off his mouth about everybody. And most of the time he doesn't know what he's talkin' about....
"I'm willing to bet I'll catch at least 100 games for Brooklyn in each of the next three years....
"A guy like Jackie should have gone out of baseball with a lot of friends. Instead, he made a lot of enemies. He was always stirring up this stuff in the clubhouse, too, making a lot of trouble.... He better learn to talk differently to those people who are working for him in that director of personnel job of his. If he talks to some of them the way he talked in baseball, they'll wrap something around his neck."
After a pause for breath, Campanella assured the interviewer that the repaired right hand felt fine and that he would be catching for the Dodgers "for quite a while." In a demonstration of general fitness he picked up a 40-ounce bat lying beside some liquor cartons and swung it in a vicious, whistling arc.
Now, there is a school of winter thought which holds that all the Dodgers need—to win the National League pennant again this year—is a sound, determined and, if possible, angry Roy Campanella at the plate and behind it. It could be that Jackie Robinson, old Dodger, has done as much as any living man could do to insure just that.
He'll learn, this gangling novice,
He heard it wrong, that's all.
You see, he tossed a basket—
He should have tossed a ball.
CURRENT WEEK & WHAT'S AHEAD
•Big Point for the Reserve
The new Army order requiring a minimum of six months of active duty for young reservists can be a blessing in disguise for athletes. Draft-eligibles entering the reserve should be able to pick periods of service that would fall in the off-seasons of their sports.
•Chevrolet and the Hay Bales (cont'd)
Look for a special prototype Corvette at the Sebring 12-hour Grand Prix next month—a car that is designed to race with the world's best on an all-out, over-all basis. After that, if all goes well: Le Mans.
•Oxford Switches to Yanks
Rowing coaches at Oxford have adopted American techniques for the traditional race against Cambridge next month. The introduction of lighter riggers, oars with wider blades and reduced body swing (in use here for a generation) brought old-guard grumblings, but Oxford's miserable record—only five victories in the last 25 races against Cambridge—spurred the change.
•Truth in Texas
The man Diogenes was hunting popped up in Austin, Texas when hometown Middleweight Rocky Caballero, after receiving a 10-round decision over Jimmy Martinez of Phoenix, announced: "I didn't like it. I thought it was fairly close but I think Jimmy beat me."