Bobby Morrow, the Texas speed demon who won three Olympic gold medals and became the third SPORTS ILLUSTRATED Sportsman of the Year, heads our list for the season's greetings because his appearance in these pages spans the year. His picture appeared on the cover of our first issue for 1957, and his name turns up in this, the last one. He is still involved in exceptional and happy events: a few days before Christmas, Bobby Morrow became the father of twins, a boy and a girl (see "Mileposts," page 4)
To Bobby and his pretty wife Jo Ann; to all the readers who have been with us through the year; to those who have joined us along the way; and to Ron Floyd and Viki Jo Morrow (5 pounds 11 ounces and 5 pounds 4 ounces, respectively), who, we hope, will join us in due time, SPORTS ILLUSTRATED wishes a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
SPORTSMEN OF THE WEEK
December 23, 1957
No true sportsman makes a distinction between vocation and avocation. The spirit that once prompted the late John (Bet-a-Million) Gates to wager fortunes on such impromptu athletic events as the progress of a housefly across a windowpane lives on in all those who find the complexities of everyday life as stimulating as any challenge in the arenas of organized competition. For the millions who earn their daily bread in the heart of Manhattan Island, the most challenging, frustrating, uplifting and invigorating game in all the world is encompassed by the simple necessity of getting to and from their jobs.
This never-ending diurnal race against time is run according to a multitude of rules, supervised by an army of heartless and incorruptible referees and beset by hazards that would do credit to the imagination of the world's most diabolically ingenious steeplechase planner. Yet on each working day of the year, the sportsmen of New York City and its metropolitan environs thrill to the challenge, rejoicing as giants (the Biblical, not the ball-playing, variety, that is) to run their course. Their rewards, like those of all sportsmen, lie in the deep satisfaction of accomplishment under adversity, a goal sustained, a second sheared from the time between coffee in the breakfast nook at Westchester and the coffee break in Rockefeller Center or Madison Avenue.
Anyone who can claim more than a block or two between home and work is qualified for the race, but the real pros are those from the far horizons of Westchester, New Jersey, Long Island or Connecticut who each day must pit their native skills against an elaborate complex of railroads, highways, subways, ferries, bus lines and crowded sidewalks. Like racing sailors, they must plot their own courses through the maze as the hazards dictate. They must not only choose a bridge but the right bridge out of some eight, the right tunnel out of four, the right combination of subway, bus and railroad out of an infinite variety of combinations.
Storm, sleet, snow, rain, dark of night, labor troubles, highway construction and plain human cussedness—all these bid fair each day to halt the doughty commuter in the completion of his appointed rounds, but somehow each day the commuter gets there—and gets back again—reveling anew in the heady knowledge of his superior skill.
Last week, perhaps as a providential year-end reward for his months of sportsmanship, the New York commuter was given a special treat. To provide one really worthwhile run, the heavenly Race Committee tossed everything in the book at him including 1) a threatened bus strike, 2) a flooding rain, 3) a realized subway strike, 4) the worst snowfall of the winter, and 5) a surprise 15° freeze. Despite it all, sporting Manhattanites took just a touch over three days to learn the new course and cover it in a jog trot. And only one of them—as far as could be determined—transgressed the rules. He was Commuter Stephen P. Kennedy, who, stuck fast on the Tri-borough Bridge approach, took unfair advantage of his position as Commissioner of New York's Police Force by hailing a passing police launch on the river at nearby College Point and ordering it to take him to work.
THE SUCKER WAKES UP
On the evening of November 19 at Madison Square Garden two professional wrestlers, Antonino Rocca and "Dr." Jerry Graham, incited a riot (SI, Dec. 2). They were participants in a tag, or team, match at the end of which Rocca, a Hero, discovered that he was bleeding. He hastened to Dr. Graham, a Villain, and banged the doctor's head against a ring post. The doctor also bled—handsomely. The approximately 13,000 spectators were so moved by this display that they showered the ring with bottles and chairs. The police went into furious action, and three days later Chairman Julius Helfand of the New York State Athletic Commission fined the inciters $1,000 each.
It is now our painful duty to report that all this sacrifice of blood and treasure was in vain. On Monday night, December 9, when Dr. Graham and Mr. Rocca once again opposed each other in the not-unexpected rematch, only 9,000 people were present. Confronted with this dismal rejection of their earlier efforts, Rocca and Graham simply gave up. They went through their standard, but not riot-provoking, histrionics and left quietly, along with the spectators.
However, the two actors could take some comfort, at least, in the fact that their November riot had been a succ√®s d'estime. A number of journalists, conditioned to the belief that a wrestler never is prepared to bleed for "the good of the game," had declared not only the blood but the feud authentic. The subsequent commercial failure of the skit, which has been tried and proved on the road from Portland to Amarillo to Columbus, could be attributed to the cold or the subway strike. Nobody—neither the wrestlers nor Promoter Walter Johnston—was prepared to face the bleak possibility that their patrons, who have made New York wrestling's No. 1 sucker town in the last year, were beginning to wake up.
FOR SERVICES RENDERED
This magazine regularly offers its readers advice on bridge by Charles Goren, a world expert on the game; it also has a department called the 19TH HOLE which does a careful job of answering questions concerning sport—at no cost to the questioner except the price of a stamp. We offer these bits of information in friendly spirit to the members of a women's bridge club fn Dallas, who recently found themselves snowballed into the following situation:
An argument arose one day over how long a bridge player should shuffle the cards. Unable to settle it themselves, the club members wrote to a bridge expert. He replied that a player should continue to shuffle one deck as long as his partner is dealing from the other—and he enclosed a bill for $10.
Feeling outrageously overcharged the ladies decided to balk. One of them went to a young lawyer of her acquaintance and asked his advice: Did they have to pay the $10?
"Unfortunately," said the lawyer, "I'm afraid you must. It's a legitimate charge for professional services."
So the ladies paid. A few days later they got a bill from the lawyer for $25.
NATURE AND MAN
Some wise and gentle words on conservation were spoken last week from an unexpected quarter. In addressing members of the International Council on Hunting, which was holding a three-day meeting in Rome, Pope Pius XII had this to say:
"Your council aims at the protection and judicious multiplication of game throughout the entire world. It is necessary to have an international association for this purpose to coordinate scientific data and practices, which vary from country to country. Your aim might seem of secondary importance to ignorant persons, but in effect you are preserving and increasing one of the bases of human prosperity.
"Game not only provides food; science and study have shown that various species—even some that at one time have erroneously been considered harmful—have their uses. It has unfortunately happened in the past that...a merciless chase has exterminated certain types of animal whose disappearance one must bewail because it has unbalanced the natural equilibrium willed by God's divine wisdom.
"In your work of protection and preservation of species threatened with extinction, you are definitely working according to God's will and preserving nature's balance as He created it."
The most ingenious, and rakishly successful, undergraduate trick of the year occurred late in the football season, at the game between the University of Southern California and UCLA (UCLA won, 20-9). At half time, as the UCLA card-stunt section flashed its elaborate pictures to the spectators across the field, one clear-cut rectangle in the huge composition remained consistently out of step with the rest. It was an area nine seats wide and seven seats high in the upper left-hand corner. When, for example, the over-all pattern showed the letters UCLA in blue on a gold background, the rebel area flashed a gold SC on a field of red—the enemy colors of Southern California. This sort of thing went on through every one of UCLA's 26 stunts, though sometimes, for variety, the SC changed to a cheery HI or a mocking HA.
Many people assumed that a group of Southern California students had smuggled themselves into the UCLA cheering section, to flash their saucy signal from enemy territory. Actually, the plot was far darker than that—Southern Cal operatives had infiltrated the supreme headquarters of the UCLA card-stunt organization and tampered with the master plans so that UCLA, in happy ignorance, was pulling the awful stunt on itself. The hoax was brought off by an undergraduate group known as the Trojan Squires, and all it required was a month's planning, plus modest amounts of petty theft, espionage, impersonation and forgery.
The 3,000 or so students who make up the card-stunt sections in a football stadium can't see the picture they are making and don't know whether they have it right or not. All they can do is follow directions. When a student takes a seat he finds stapled to it the colored cards he will use and a printed direction sheet which tells him that on Stunt No. 1 he is to hold up the blue card, Stunt No. 2 the red one, and so on. All this has been worked out and prepared far in advance, of course, with enthusiastic drudgery.
As a first step in their plot, the Trojan Squires picked up a few UCLA instruction sheets abandoned after an early-season game, and had forged copies printed. Then they dispatched one of their group to the enemy campus where, filled with utterly phony UCLA spirit, he joined rally committees and helped fill out the 3,000 instruction sheets for the SC game. In this way the Trojans learned the number, order and color schemes of the Bruin card stunts, and were able to plot contrasting colors for their own pocket of resistance.
Early on the day of the game eight Squires, disguised with UCLA rooters' caps and megaphones, made their way to the UCLA card section and to the rectangle of 63 seats for which they had special plans. Working stealthily, they removed the Bruin equipment and stapled their forged instruction sheets and new color cards in its place. Then they retired to their own side of the field, like an artist backing away from his work to admire the effect.
Presently the UCLA stands filled up with students, and at half time they followed obediently the directions they had been given. On every Bruin picture appeared the unmistakable SC stamp of approval. It was somewhat as if the Russians had announced with modest pride that they had got the second sputnik into its orbit, and then we had revealed that we had Lassie riding around inside it.
AMAZE YOUR FRIENDS
Zinn Arthur, a photographer and fisherman from Marblehead, Mass., has been sowing bewilderment, dismay and (when the light dawns) amusement about the country lately, all for the price of a 3¢ stamp. On the handsome letterhead of an imaginary outfit called Gordon Mahar, Limited, maritime specialists of Squid Point, Nova Scotia, he sends the following letter:
During his recent visit here, your friend Mr. Zinn Arthur caught a certain number of large fish and asked that these be sent to various friends. The one assigned to you was a giant Tuna or Horse Mackerel weighing 1,100 pounds. This fish dresses to approximately 859 pounds, to fill 3,400 standard four-ounce cans (approximately 284 cases). If you will send us your check in the amount of $600, we will forward your fish by express collect—neatly tinned and labeled for your personal use.
Unfortunately, your fish was not landed as promptly as might be considered desirable, and the flavor has become somewhat strong for anyone except a real lover of Horse Mackerel. It is quite possible that you might prefer to have your fish mounted in a lifelike fighting attitude suitable for gameroom or den decoration. This fish, of course, is too large to go on the wall, but we can stuff him with sawdust and fit him with realistic glass eyes and hand-colored lips to provide a fierce expression—mounting the whole on a concrete block carved and painted to simulate waves. There will be no charge for this service. Merely send us your check in the amount of $700 to cover crating costs, preliminary handling and transportation to the nearest F.O.B. point. It is a fairly simple matter to convert this handsomely mounted game fish into a striking and unusual lamp base. In this case, we would suggest that you use it only in an extremely large room.
Please let us have your instructions at the earliest possible moment as we need the warehouse space to make room for other fish that Mr. Arthur has caught that are still arriving hourly.
Very truly yours,
Mr. Arthur reports that while reaction to his low-keyed spoofing is not always favorable, it is always strong.
NUDE WITHOUT VIOLIN
It was the day after the season's first big snowstorm and in the lobby of the historic Nassau Tavern in Princeton, N.J. a great fire roared in the old stone fireplace. A little away from the blaze, and appearing to be not uncomfortably warm, sat a stocky, balding man about 50. He was fully clothed, a fact worth noting because not long ago this same man, Per F. Scholander, a sort of roving professor of zoophysiology attached to Norway's University of Oslo, was engaged in learning how to sleep "proper bush" (nude, that is) on the cold, bare ground during the Central Australian winter.
Professor Scholander's models in this experiment (and those of his colleagues in an expedition sponsored by, among others, the U.S. Navy and Air Force) were the aborigines of Central Australia who have been sleeping outdoors in the altogether for centuries. The study as a whole was stimulated by a growing interest in polar regions. The arctic races, the Eskimos and the Lapps, were not of much scientific help since they dress so warmly that there is no problem of acclimation.
The Scholander group decided that the so-called "naked races" were the best subjects and this brought them to the Australian interior.
In sleeping "proper bush," the aborigine sets up a windbreak and builds small fires on either side of him. With that, he is able to sleep raw without a trace of shivering or thrashing about. When the fires begin to die down, the aborigine may get up and stoke them or he may not.
Professor Scholander described how the white men got into the act:
"We would lie down stark naked on the ground. We tested two men every night; sometimes it would be two natives and other times it would be one native and one of us. The first night I tried it, I dreamed I was sitting on an iceberg one minute and in a burning house the next." Later on, many of the scientists were able to sleep comfortably most of the night in freezing temperatures.
Tests showed that the natives' foot temperatures dropped more sharply than those of the scientists. "This," said Professor Scholander, "is known as insulative cooling. The principle is the same as a duck standing on ice. The feet are ice cold, preventing heat loss from the body."
Further experiments are planned, but one thing has already been determined: the white man can acclimate himself despite the fact that his adaptability has grown sluggish because it is so rarely called upon.
From the present findings, outdoor sportsmen may conclude that a fall in the lake in wintertime may not be a complete catastrophe if the victim can struggle ashore, set up a windbreak, build two small fires and stretch out between them "proper bush" while his clothing dries out.
Professor Scholander was asked if he found that he himself had retained the degree of adaptability he achieved in Australia. In other words, on this chill, snowy day in Princeton, would he be comfortable outdoors in his shirtsleeves? Or would he shake and shiver like the rest of us?
The professor looked out the window at the snow, then at the roaring fire. "Now I would shake and shiver like the rest of you," he said, "and probably worse."
The dwindling bear within the earth's skin
fishes the liberal river of his dream
and knows no season.
The fish in the high interiors of the sea
glides tranquil miles below the storm;
the wreck comes down, absurd.
That roaring metropolitan dark
where a prizefighter falls
is a private season
ruled by the timekeeper's reckoning,
the soft machinery of the heart.
Elsewhere and outside
snow burns slowly its white fire.
A skier in his splendid freedom
regards the deep way of his descent.
A skater, hands folded behind,
bends through circles
as through sleep.
THEY SAID IT...
•Duffy Daugherty, Michigan State football coach: "In our first three games this season we didn't have a single fumble. In our fourth, the Purdue game, we fumbled 10 times. That shows you what an extra week of coaching will do."
•William T. Piper, 76-year-old president'of Piper Aircraft, commending an old-fashioned approach to physical fitness: "Walking is still the best means of transportation in the world."
•Wilt Chamberlain, Kansas' 7-foot basketball center, reflecting on his possible chances in the Olympic decathlon in 1960: "I haven't tried pole vaulting yet. I'm afraid I would get way up in the air and then find myself with a lot of leg and nothing to do with it."
•Thomas L. Girault, Mississippi-born and-educated president of Colorado State College's Board of Trustees, after his school canceled basketball games with three Louisiana colleges because a Negro guard would not be permitted to play: "Any money we may be out is simply peanuts when compared to the principle."