GAMESTER AT GETTYSBURG
This is an article from the Dec. 9, 1957 issue
The grave concern the nation felt on learning of Dwight D. Eisenhower's third serious illness in office was lifted quickly by a succession of incidents—all initiated by the President himself. He got out of bed, he did some work, he went smiling to church on Thanksgiving Day, and at the end of the week he was at his Gettysburg farm in front of a TV set—like millions of other Americans who glow to the spectacle of the senior military academies locked in sporting struggle.
The President bowed to duty by sending a warm "personal best wishes" telegram to the Navy. Then, grinning, he tipped Army in another wire of what he had told Navy, adding, "The requirements of neutrality are thus scrupulously observed. But over a span of almost half a century, on the day of The Game I have only one thought and only one song: 'On, Brave Old Army Team' "—an encouragement that was no less candid for being, as it turned out, ineffective in the slosh of Philadelphia's Municipal Stadium.
These events were signals that President Ike, thrice felled, was getting up off the canvas again. As a New York Times editorial put it: "Evidently he has had one medicine at his command that no doctor could order from the nearest drugstore. He has taken and prospered by the medicine of courage."
Less courageous men might have been emotionally invalided by a severe heart attack, an operation for ileitis and now a "shock" piled onto and perhaps caused by the burdens of the presidency. But Ike has withstood them and bounced back, not imprudently but with the consent of his doctors. This well-tempered courage is no longer surprising. Where was it tempered? Perhaps at West Point, in the days when Ike won his nickname and his varsity letter on Army's football team. The strains of the presidential office, though increasing, are not new, and Eisenhower's illness has given currency to the observation of Woodrow Wilson almost 50 years ago, when he was still president of Princeton, that unless the burdens of the presidency are lightened "we shall be obliged always to be picking chief magistrates from among wise and prudent athletes...." Fortunately, the American people have a man who qualifies.
RHAPSODY IN BLUE
Midshipman Tom Forrestal of the United States Naval Academy was "in uniform" except for a big green shamrock stamped on the breast pocket of his white shirt. Midshipman Forrestal is Irish, and he likes to advertise the fact, Navy regulations notwithstanding.
A grin split his darkly Celtic features, twisting his broken nose even further off center.
"The Grocery Seven did it," he shouted, hoisting a container of milk in a toast. "To the Grocery Seven. The best damned line in the whole world."
Quarterback Forrestal, like the rest of the players in the Navy dressing room, was finding it hard to contain his jubilation at beating Army 14-0. An invitation to the Cotton Bowl added to the Navy delirium.
"Did you ever see a line like that?" Forrestal bubbled. "Eighty-eight yards. Army, the best ground offense in the nation, and all they can get from us is 88 yards. Now you know why we call our line the Grocery Seven. They bring home the bacon."
He posed for a picture with Ned Oldham, the halfback who scored all of Navy's points.
"Oldham was great today. He wasn't running with his legs. He was running with his heart. That first touchdown...six guys must have nailed him and still he goes over.
"You know what helped us win today? Those blue jerseys [Navy, for the first time in history, wore light blue jerseys with gold numerals]. We were supposed to wear white, but we've been having bad luck in white. We lost the North Carolina game in white and tied Duke. So we asked Eddie [Coach Erdelatz] if we could have another color for the Army game. He had them made about a week ago. Superstitions are silly I guess, but even if they are, these blue jerseys really helped."
When the Naval Academy superintendent, Rear Admiral W. R. Smedberg III, announced that he would permit the team to play Rice in the Cotton Bowl, Fullback Ray Wellborn fell into a trance.
"This is something I've been dreaming about since I was 8 years old," said Wellborn.
"I'm from Houston, see. I used to play for Rice before I came to the Academy. Doak Walker was my idol when I was a kid. I used to paint his number 37 on my chest with Merthiolate so my mother couldn't make me take it off when I went to bed. I used to dream of playing in the Cotton Bowl just like Doak Walker. Now it's happened and I almost can't believe it. Man, this is the happiest day of my life."
One of the Navy trainers shouted over the locker room din: "Hasn't anybody got anything to drink but milk? How can I celebrate with nothing stronger than grade A?"
Bob Reifsnyder, Navy's battling All-America tackle who got tossed out of the game for fighting (see page 20), shouted back:
"You think you got troubles? How can I smile for the photographers with this tooth that's coming out?"
After that, there wasn't much left to do except pose for the photographers, grinning, of course.
HORSE JOKE NO. 1
Child: Daddy, what is a camel?
Father: What is a what?
Child: What is a camel?
Father: A camel is a horse that was designed by a committee.
HORSE JOKE NO. 2
This being the awards season, it seems only fitting and proper to bestow recognition on a man named Clarence E. Paulson, a 44-year-old oil company supervisor from Strawberry Point, Iowa, whose ingenuity has produced a fresh tactic in man's unending struggle with his environment and vice versa. Mr. Paulson disguises himself as the front half of a horse when he goes goose hunting in Iowa wheat fields. Since even a goose knows that half a horse is no horse at all, Paulson necessarily has a partner who brings up the rear. This winter it has been Fritz Ko-pecky, 40, a coffin salesman from Des Moines. Bent into jackknife positions, covered by a horse's hide on a metal frame and looking as if vaudeville had not died after all, the two men have been stalking about the prairies and into shotgun range of the feeding birds. Once there, they throw off their horse-hide and bag the limit.
It sounds easy and possibly unfair, but both Paulson and Kopecky swear that their method is harder on them than it is on the geese. All that bent-over walking, they say, is painful—they may have to go three miles—and it is hard to keep in step in a muddy field. Still, it is better than sitting in a wet blind all day, and it does bring in the game.
The bundle of horsehide and aluminum tubing which serves the two hunters as a costume is known as Dobbin. It is—or was—a bay, with a black mane and tail. Dobbin's head is remarkably lifelike except that it has no ears, and it can be detached, along with the neck, for storage in the back seat of a car. Paulson, who invented Dobbin, takes the head. He feels that as the brains of the operation he is entitled to it. Kopecky, playing the hindquarters, admits he is sometimes tempted to kick up his heels and wag his rear, as he has seen professional tailbearers do on television shows.
To keep a smooth pace, Paulson counts cadence as long as he and his partner are out of earshot of the geese. Somewhere there is probably a hunter who peered out of his blind one day and saw Dobbin amble past, muttering, "Left, right, left, right," to himself. If there is, he has wisely kept quiet about his experience.
Dobbin's bloodlines go all the way back to the Trojan horse, naturally, but they also include the buffalo. Plains Indians used to disguise themselves in a buffalo robe and horns and walk right into a herd.
Paulson has done much the same thing with ducks. Once he took his horsehide to South Dakota, buckled a skeptical friend into what might be called the rear seat and led him straight into a field containing thousands of ducks. They couldn't shoot—Paulson was not a resident of South Dakota—so they just walked around a bit, gently pushing ducks aside with their feet. The birds looked up at their visitors, quacking sociably, but Paulson and his friend didn't answer. They didn't know what to say.
COCOONS FOR THE COURT
Teddy Tinling, the British tennis-wear designer, who was forced to resign as Master of Ceremonies of Wimbledon's center court after Gussie Moran outraged the staid gallery by wearing visible, Tinling-designed lace panties beneath her abbreviated tennis skirt several years ago, has, as they say, done it again. Tinling has invented what he considers the most revolutionary and original silhouette since the advent of the New Look in 1947.
Teddy's latest (see page 11) is a one-piece costume with a loose, even maternity, aspect about the middle and a shorter and tighter hemline. It has, quite naturally, been called the Sack Look. This term distresses Tinling terribly. He prefers to call his new creations, which he adapted from the late Christian Dior's "spindle" line, "cocoons."
"The sack," said Tinling last week, "is to me a straight, shapeless thing and, because I believe in the beauty of women's figures, it is a name I will never endorse with pleasure."
Shirley Bloomer, a top-ranking British player, has already chosen several cocoons for a South African tour next February. After performing acrobatics in Tinling's fitting room to test the garments' practicality, she announced that they were "very, very revolutionary." With certain modifications—such as small pleats let into each side at thigh level—Miss Bloomer is convinced that it will even be possible to play tennis in them.
Tinling took a smug line. "How many times at Wimbledon," he said, "have I been horribly embarrassed to see a skirt blowing up at the back just as one of the girls is going to serve right below the Royal Box! Well, that's all over. These cocoons literally cannot blow up."
Heretofore, Christopher Brasher has been known as one of the spunky young Englishmen who set the pace for Roger Bannister's under-four-minute mile and perhaps also as the winner of the Olympic 3,000-meter steeplechase at Melbourne. Not long after Bannister gave up competitive running for medicine, Chris Brasher gave up competitive running for journalism, and is now sports editor of the eminent London Observer. As an outspoken observer himself, Brasher is making new news already—not long ago, for instance, he was tossed into the Thames by Cambridge oarsmen Who felt he had derogated their traditions in print.
Now Brasher has spoken out in the Observer on the far riskier subject of amateurism. We hope that his words will cause only an editorial splash, for Brasher is highly qualified to speak, and repeated immersions in the Thames might give him an intolerable chill even if they don't water down his very welcome cerebrations. In brief, his findings on the contradictions of amateurism in Britain:
Soccer—Payments to amateurs are "widespread" and "ingenious." "A case is reported of one amateur asking ¬£500 as a signing-on fee."
Track and Field—"The vast majority of athletes and officials are amateur in every sense of the word. However, when both athletes and officials get into international class they have necessarily to spend an increasing amount of time on their sport and many temptations exist.... A top-class miler in America can get $500 per appearance in the short indoor season while he is in form. Nobody in this country is able to make a living from [track and field]."
Golf—"The distinction between amateur and professional is real, and ought to be maintained.... The rules are strict and clear; and although in America there have been some doubtful cases, and one leading amateur is at present under suspension for having accepted expenses from his employer, the problem is no live issue over here."
Tennis—"No top-class player can be called an amateur.... The winner of the men's singles title at Wimbledon can command up to ¬£250 a week in subsequent tournaments."
Rowing—"Rowing is still a strictly amateur sport."
Show Jumping—"A top-class rider, certainly one owning his own horses, can earn his or her living from show jumping. On this basis alone it is impossible to classify it as an amateur sport."
Skiing—"Skiing is another sport in which the world-class performer is entirely professional.... During the season the top-class Continental skier is living entirely free and may also be given a small allowance by his national association."
In an essay of conclusion entitled "Straightening out the Line," Brasher reported his verdict:
"The difference between amateur and professional was only a social distinction of the nineteenth century. Now in the second half of the twentieth century such social distinctions have no place."
Brasher did not mourn "the loss of original amateurism," but jabbed a sharp pen at today's subterfuge and cheating.
"When a situation reaches this state it is obviously time for the laws to be changed.... The amateur in most international sports has ceased to exist. Let him be buried officially before the situation becomes more of a mockery than it is at present."
CHAMPION OF THE WEEK
The other Friday midnight, Bus Eaton, 35, an unemployed truck driver who had nothing better to do, stepped up to a bowling alley in Portland, Ore., bowled a game, bowled another, then another—and kept on bowling. All Saturday morning, Saturday night and into Sunday morning his pace was remarkably steady. He would take a four-step approach, release his first ball, sit on a chair for 20 seconds awaiting the return, then roll his second ball. At times he appeared to be asleep in the chair, but he providently rested one foot on the ball-return, so that he was jolted alert whenever the ball arrived.
At 9 o'clock Sunday morning he shaved for two minutes with an electric razor plugged into an outlet in the alley bar. Every two hours he drank a cup of broth, varying his nourishment at intervals with orange juice, Coke and milk. He removed his shirt because a seam was causing a blister to develop, modestly asking the permission of the women in the audience before he took it off. Then he went back to bowling.
Between 2 and 6 on Sunday afternoon Eaton almost quit. "I think I would have," he said later, "if I could have thought of a reason."
At 8 o'clock Monday morning he shaved again and then resumed bowling. At 7:15 Monday evening, he rolled a 109 game and stopped. He had bowled continuously for 67 hours and 15 minutes and had completed 425 games—a new world record for this particular endeavor. His average was 157.5 pins a game, his high game 235 (his 138th) and his low game 95 (his 379th).
His record set, Bus Eaton headed for a hot tub, then dressed and went out with friends to sample the fresh outdoor air of Portland until one a.m. By Wednesday he was back in his home town of Roseburg, Ore., 170 miles away. "Had to get back to bowl in my regular league," he said.
There has been talk for years now about how the atom is going to benefit humanity, and at last it looks as if there may be something to it. The B. F. Goodrich Company has produced a new atomic golf ball which can add 10 yards to a golfer's drive. The balls are given two minutes' exposure to gamma rays of high intensity, and some of the atomic energy thus put into them appears to come out when you hit them; anyway, they get up and go. The process does not make the balls radioactive—a Geiger counter would pass one by without a click of interest.
There are, however, two thorns to the rose. For one thing, atomic golf balls are so costly to produce right now that nobody is going to produce them, except experimentally. For another, the U.S. Golf Association thinks people are driving golf balls too far already (SI, Sept. 30). The association has a machine which indicates the velocity of a golf ball, and if a ball doesn't fall within the prescribed limits of performance, it doesn't get approved. The USGA has asked the Goodrich Company for a few irradiated samples of the new product, to be used, as the USGA says ominously, "for testing."
The holder is small
And loose in the joints
If he muffs the ball
He goes for three points.
THEY SAID IT...
Bear Bryant, Texas A&M football coach, when asked if he would accept a coaching job at Alabama: "Alabama is my school.... When you are out playing as a kid, say you heard your mother call. If you thought she just wanted you to do the chores you might not want to answer her. But if you thought she needed you, you'd be in in a hurry. I feel the same way about this."
Terry Jaeger, advertising manager for Kennecott Copper Company, hearing that the men who chartered his 52-foot schooner Serene and disappeared with it had been apprehended in the Canary Islands: "A shocking thing to do, taking a fellow's boat like that. Hope I can prove piracy. Like to hang them."
Sam Griffith, winner of the Miami-Nassau powerboat race, when asked what kind of man it takes to win: "He should have a head hard enough to hold up tinder a roof caving in, a self-sealing skin and luck enough to fall out of a 10-story building and walk off whistling ... fellow like Sam Griffith, for instance."
Roman Kiselev, interpreter for the touring Russian hockey team, after the Russians walked out of a professional wrestling show in Kitchener, Out.: "That's not wrestling; it's a circus."