A certain cautioustaciturnity can generally be expected of Iron Curtain athletes emerging tocompete in the free world. To come suddenly from a land where talk is alwaysdangerous and dreams must ever be censored into a world where everyone sayswhat he likes is in some respects like rising too fast from the depths of thesea. Small bubbles of hope begin pounding in the bloodstream like nitrogen inthe arteries of a skin-diver with the bends, and the better part of survivallies in applying a high degree of recompression. A noncommittal grunt is aboutthe best any reporter can hope to get from a Russian athlete breathing free airfor the first time.
All of which isonly to say that the latest Iron Curtain athletes to arrive in this countryhave been just as tight-lipped about their first impressions, their plans forthe future, their hopes and their dreams as any of their predecessors. The factis that Zaryad and Garnir, the Moscow 3-year-olds who came over last week tocarry the colors of Horse Training Factory No. 33 in the $100,000 Internationalat Laurel, Md. (see page 33), have refused to say a single, solitary word.
We frankly can'tblame them. We don't know much about a horse's life in Russia. As topThoroughbreds, Garnir and Zaryad probably have it a good deal better than manya lesser comrade. But what if they lose the International? What if they shattera sesamoid in some later race? Does that mean the glue factory then and there?Or perhaps an endless wintry life of Siberian troika hauling? We don't know,and we suspect that maybe Garnir and Zaryad are not too sure themselves.
November 10, 1958
But we do know, andwe guess they do, too, by now, that endless acres of rich Kentucky bluegrasslie only a reasonable number of kilometers beyond the finish post at Laurel,green pastures that beckon to all who would browse in the sweet scents offreedom.
What are theRussian horses thinking? What do they say to each other in suppressed Slavicwhickerings? Will they stand obediently at the end of the race and letthemselves be shipped back to bondage, or, with one great effort, will theytoss their jocks, clear the nearest fence and head for the bluegrass?
We're thinking ofBoris Pasternak, too.
The sports car boomin Florida has led one enterprising bank, First National of Fort Lauderdale, toprovide what may be a national first—a low-slung drive-in window for thelow-slung depositor. All First National did was to erect a 12-inch wooden rampbelow a regulation window. "Now the driver and the teller are face toface," said First National VP William B. Lennan, affably rubbing his palms."Up to now all the sports car customer ever saw of the teller was herhands."
While we're onthesis, antithesis and synthesis, we'd like to pass on these crises:
1) The AutomaticCar Wash Association is in a swivet because the tread on the 1959 Pontiac hasbeen increased by five inches. "It will cost our industry about $1.5million to adapt our equipment to the wider tread," moaned Car Wash'spresident, Jack Milen, wringing his hands. Milen also complained that deeplysculptured rear ends and deep-dimpled grilles have receded out of range ofrevolving car-wash brushes.
2) Service stationoperators are despairing because their hydraulic grease racks are becomingobsolete; they aren't big enough to accommodate Detroit's long, wide ones.
Black, White orJust Gray
We live today in anage of often confused standards and morals, an age in which the smoke from awidely watched stovepipe recently came out gray instead of black or white. Norcould anyone clearly distinguish the shade of the smoke that is reported tohave risen on the University of Michigan campus, where several suddenlyfrightened students were busily burning parlay cards. Were these young men theequivalents of urban gangsters running some evil policy racket? Or were theyinnocently engaged in a pastime shared by millions all over the U.S.? No matterhow you look at it, and through no fault of the students themselves, the answercomes out gray.
In Great Britain, ahighly moral nation, the weekly football pool is an accepted and legallyprotected national game. In the U.S., where attitudes toward organized gamblingof any sort are far more confused, football betting is scarcely less acceptedthough not always strictly legal.
This was thesituation at the University of Michigan where two top athletes, Fullback TonyRio and his roommate, Basketball Captain Jack Lewis, were accused of being"pushers" for a football pool along with several other students. Theaccusations came out as the result of an "exposé" by an eager youngjournalism student named Barton Huthwaite, who joined the group to spy on them.Huthwaite's story hit the Detroit papers in the same editions that carried thenews that 18 Michiganders had won a piece of the Irish Sweepstakes.
There was nosuggestion that either of the athletes had made any vast profit out of thefootball cards. There was no suggestion that the activity either had or couldhave affected their play on the field. The only notable reaction on the AnnArbor campus itself was a bitter rejection of young Huthwaite, who was promptlyburned in effigy as a "stool pigeon."
As journalists wecan't ourselves feel particularly proud of Mr. Huthwaite's methods. As devotedenthusiasts of clean college football, however, we can't help but deplore anykind of tie-up, no matter how innocent, between campus athletes and organizedgambling. We believe Michigan Athletic Director Fritz Crisler was absolutelyright to suspend both Rio and Lewis from play until their cases are tried."It is necessary," said Fritz, "for athletes to maintain evenhigher standards of conduct than are expected of students generally." Butwe can't help wondering, nevertheless, if the real fault does not lie farbeyond the Michigan campus itself in a national set of morals and standardsthat sees the smoke of wrongdoing as black on one side and white on the other,just as it chooses.
The Latin phrasemens sana in corpore sano was familiar to U.S. educators long before theRussian word sputnik. Yet in today's suddenly speeded-up effort to developminds capable of coping with sputnik and all it stands for, a concomitanteffort to build healthy bodies seems to have lagged far behind.
To find outprecisely where U.S. higher education stands in the field of physical fitness,the National Collegiate Athletic Association has polled some 450 membercolleges, has received precise answers from 395. The returned questionnairesrevealed on the one hand an overwhelming gain in enthusiasm for intercollegiateand intramural sports on the part of students in the smaller colleges, on theother a distressing lack of facilities and equipment to gratify that enthusiasmand an equally distressing official indifference to physical education as ascholastic requirement. Fifty-six of the reporting colleges have no physicaleducation requirement at all; of those that do, only 5% require physicaltraining for the full four-year course. In general, the larger the institutionthe larger the indifference.
College enrollmentduring the next decade is expected to increase by at least 100% and nobody canquarrel with the basic aim this represents. But as the Latin phrase citedearlier implies, much of the advantage to the nation and to its students willbe lost if mens and corpus are not each developed with equal concern.
Record of theWeek
James J. JohnstonJr., a 42-year-old welder and golfer who lives in North Fort Worth, Texas andhas never shot below the high 80s, decided, although he doesn't now recall why,to break the world marathon golf record. For basic training, he bounced on atrampolin in his backyard every night for three and a half months. Four nightsa week for three and a half months—still purely as a training measure—hetrotted through 54 holes on the Rockwood municipal course in less than two anda half hours. Once in a while he jogged 12 miles through city streets in thedark.
One day last weekhe announced that he was ready. With 14 clubs in his bag, accompanied by twogolf buggies equipped with spotlights and the first of 30 accomplices, who wereto work in shifts, handing him his clubs and finding his balls, he set out tobreak the record. He lost nine balls and five pounds, drank four gallons ofmilk and orange juice, and in 23 hours and 58 minutes he played 328 holes at anaverage of 90 strokes a round on Rockwood's par-70 course and broke the oldrecord (324 holes) by a full 4.
"Now I'mthrough with that silly business," said Johnston after thanking the remainsof his task force, and went home to bed for a few hours of sleep. He got up thenext morning, went to work and was back at Rockwood in the afternoon.
"I was alittle sore," he said, "but I got in 18 holes and I parred the lastfive. I haven't done that well in a long time. Maybe I have worked some of thekinks out of my swing."
The criticizing offootball is a good and healthy thing, even though it goes on so steadily inthis country that it has come to form a kind of background noise against whicheach season's games are played. Recently, though, two critical voices wereraised very much in the foreground. They belong to two of the country's topfootball coaches—Woody Hayes of Ohio State and Bobby Dodd of Georgia Tech.
That big-timecoaches should speak out against any aspect of football is itself man-bites-dognews of the rarest kind. But even more curious was the response of the coachingprofession. For the most part, the coaches' first reaction was not that Doddand Hayes had raised important questions which needed examination. It was,rather, that they were wrong in their assertions and would have done better tokeep their mouths shut.
Hayes's complaintwas against dirty football, both in and out of the Big Ten. The officials, hesaid, are over-officiating the offensive team and letting the defense get awaywith piling on, with driving the ball carrier backward so that he falls on theback of his head and with using the forearm as a flail. Hayes also criticized"the tackle five yards in the end zone and the tackle two yards out ofbounds.... Too many good football players are being punished by tackles thatnever should have been made."
But all thatHayes's outspokenness gained him was apathy from other coaches and a reprimandfrom Big Ten Commissioner Kenneth L. Wilson. Hayes, said Wilson, has done"a disservice to football," and he "knows full well that there arebetter channels than public discussion for disposing" of any suchcomplaints.
Hayes offeredproof of his assertions in the form of football films to anyone who wanted tosee them. So far nobody has wanted to.
Bobby Dodd'scriticism was of recruiting violations. "The head coach is the manresponsible for violations and no one else," he said. "Usually thecoaches know what's going on. Maybe once in a while an alumnus will just go outon his own and buy a football player. But usually it's done with the sanctionof the coach."
Dodd named twocoaches who "knew what the alumni were doing" when illegal recruitingdrew penalties from the National Collegiate Athletic Association: Bud Wilkinsonof Oklahoma and Ralph Jordan of Auburn. But, said Dodd, "the EthicsCommittee of the Football Coaches Association can't and won't publicly spankits members who have been caught breaking the rules." He suggested thatschools placed on probation by the NCAA have no right to awards and honors, andurged that football writers refuse to vote honors to the coaches and players ofsuch schools.
Dodd's words werewidely circulated but drew no stronger reaction than a lofty silence from BudWilkinson and an angry retort ("Dodd has lost his sense ofperspective...") from Ralph Jordan.
Meanwhile, yetanother football controversy centered on Halfback Ron Podwika of North CarolinaState, who played October 25 against Duke University but won't play football atall for the rest of the year. He is in a Durham hospital with a collapsed lung.He acquired it, according to North Carolina Coach Earle Edwards, when a Dukeplayer dropped to his knees on Podwika's chest as Podwika lay on his back afterbeing tackled. This is a rather extreme form of what Woody Hayes calls pilingon.
Bitterlycriticizing the game's officials, who called no penalty on the play in whichPodwika was injured, Edwards said, with harsh irony, "If they don't stopsome of it, someone is going to be badly hurt." And he added soberly,"If we all don't try to stop it, I don't want to coach."
At Duke, FootballCoach Bill Murray denied that Podwika was the victim of deliberate roughness,and he ran off a movie which showed, he said, that there was "considerabledoubt" as to how Podwika was injured.
"The publicpress," said Coach Murray, "is not any place for these criticisms to bemade because they are always misunderstood and always cast reflections on theplayers, coaches and officials not intended by the people who madethem."
And there it wasagain—the idea that criticism of football is best kept in the official family,that it is none of the public's business.
We say that aslong as college football wants the public's support, the subjects raised byBobby Dodd and Woody Hayes are the public's business. The American FootballCoaches Association meets next January. We nominate for their agenda seriousexamination of both charges. And the public will want to know what conclusionsthe coaches arrive at.
The Hired Hand
No amateureathlete these days can long evade the questing eye of the professional scout.It was just a matter of time, therefore, before the pros got around to Bill, aneager, playful but hard-working member of an Amish farm family in east-centralIndiana.
Bill's job on theErnest Schwartz farm was to pull the family buggy. The Schwartzes, like many oftheir persuasion, have no use for such devilish contraptions as motorcars. Itwas a pretty dull routine for a young standardbred whose grandsire had oncebeen famous throughout the harness world as the pacer who first covered a milein 1:55.
Billy Direct wasBill's grandsire's name, and in the official studbooks he himself was listedunder the fancy handle Bourbon Direct, but the name never showed on anyofficial racing programs.
Like many achin-whiskered neighbor in his part of the country, however, Amishman ErnestSchwartz often lightened the drudgery of his daily chores by letting his farmhorse stretch his legs along the gravel lanes that divide farm from farm.Between the shafts of the Schwartz buggy Bill soon proved himself a champ. Insome five years of impromptu buggy racing he was beaten only once, and that solong ago that even Ernest Schwartz has forgotten the winner's name. It wasinevitable that horse fanciers from further afield would take note of thislegendary local hero.
And so, just asinevitably, it came about last year that old Bill, the hired hand at theSchwartz place, made his professional debut as the pacer Bourbon Direct at thevenerable age of 7 years. Under the hands of a knowing trainer-driver namedJerry Landess, who got Bill in shape for the big time in exchange for 85% ofhis winnings, the sleek pacer took eight first places in his first season andset a new track record of 2:07[1/5] for the mile at Lebanon.
Last week, a realpro and an authentic celebrity, he was back home near Berne, Ind. for anotherwinter of buggy pulling. From miles around, neighbors dropped their chores tobring their best nags for a go at the hero home from the wars. One by one theyraced him in match races along the 40-rod gravel road by Ernest Schwartz'sfarm. But by now old Bill, or rather Bourbon Direct, was a real champ."None of these people," said Farmer Schwartz, beaming right proudly athis prodigal, "even came close."
I had my houndequipped with wings—
'T was probably illegal—
So now he hunts all sorts of things,
Since he's an eagle beagle.
They Said It
President John A. Hannah of Michigan State, discoveringa silver lining in a year in which his team has now lost three in a row:"Every student during undergraduate years should experience a losingfootball season."
Vice-president Nixon, on why he prefers to sit high inthe stands at football games: "I guess part of the reason is that I sat onthe bench so many years."
Heavyweight Bert Whitehurst, after Sonny Liston beathim: "Liston could be a great fighter, but he has such a powerful left thathe drives you so far back with it he can't hit you with a right."
"Jimmy's a compulsive child; we don't inhibit him."