Women in Motion (cont.)
This is an article from the Nov. 17, 1958 issue
Disbelief rolled over Don Stallings like a line plunge. "Isn't that your mother out there near the Tennessee huddle?" a teammate was asking the North Carolina tackle. "Oh, my gosh," Stallings answered faintly. "It is mother."
"I thought the game was over," Mrs. Stallings tried to explain later. She had seen a scuffle between the two teams on the opposite side of the field at Knoxville. "I figured everybody was shaking hands." So, tucking her umbrella under her arm, she set out straightaway across the grass. "But, oh my, it was rough out there," Mrs. Stallings was shocked to relate. "I heard one boy say to another that he was ready to kill somebody. Me, I just kept walking. What else could a body do? I was in the middle of the field. No use going back."
When Mother Stallings reached her 6-foot 4-inch son she smiled up at him and said: "Dad and I came to the game to surprise you, honey."
"Mother," said Don, "believe me, you did."
Sounds in the Line
The backs may go tearing by on their way to do or die, but it is up front in the trenches of football where the lines join, clashing ponderously, that Saturday's wars are won. And although football is not a notably vocal game, all is not quiet on the front; psychological warfare is being waged there. Notre Dame linemen, for instance, growl ferociously as they come out of the huddle. To inure themselves against this intimidatory tactic, Southern Methodist linemen growled at each other for a week before they played Notre Dame. Notre Dame has not always growled. Back in 1931, when Tommy Yarr was their captain and an All-America center, they used a more subtle ploy. Whenever a young lineman of the opposing team reported in to the game, Yarr would approach the referee and say, so the substitute could hear him, "Mr. Referee, what is the name and position of this young man?" Then, before Yarr snapped the ball, he would address the young man politely: "Welcome to the game, Mr. Doe. We will run this play right through you." More often than not they did.
The taunt, polite or vulgar, remains the standard technique, but there are variations and inventions. When Illinois played Ohio State last month, the Illinois linemen whistled like bobwhite quail before each OSU play. Although OSU Fullback Bob White did not demonstrably lose his temper, he gained only 35 yards in 17 rushes. Last year when Navy was clobbering Rice, Navy End Pete Jokanovich withdrew two tickets from his uniform and offered them to his opponent, suggesting that he accept them so he could get into the game. In September when Rice played Stanford on the West Coast the temperature was 99°. This was typical Houston weather and suited Rice to a wing T, but the Stanfords were drooping from the heat. In the third period, with Rice well in the lead, Rice linemen hooted at the enervated Indians: "Y'all better move around or y'all'll get cold."
There is not as much chatter this year as in the past. A new rule prohibits the defense from using "words or signals which obviously disconcert opponents when they are preparing to put the ball in play," and there are other reasons. "You're too busy trying to figure out what you're going to do," says Texas Guard Bob Harwerth. "With defensive signals, quick snaps and all that, the game is too complicated to do much talking." Many linemen also wear mouthpieces which are not conducive to well-enunciated sarcasms.
The new rule would gladden the heart of a grim, efficient but taciturn tackle of our acquaintance who used to be ragged by a little halfback to "talk it up in the line." One afternoon he had enough, and, getting up so that he towered above the pesky halfback, said evenly: "Noise is not necessarily a manifestation of spirit."
Or, as USC Guard Lou Byrd puts it, "Naw, I don't do any talking. Might tell myself to get going maybe, but Coach always says the kind of talk he likes to hear from me is the pop of the pads on a good hit."
On september 15, Erwin Erkfitz, a 47-year-old Detroit health-food-shop proprietor, left Los Angeles to walk to New York on six pairs of ripple-soled shoes. Erkfitz' aim: to dramatize the need of Americans to use their legs more often. "Let's use our legs or lose our legs," aphorized Erkfitz grimly as he sallied forth on U.S. 66 with a modified heel-and-toe action which gets him 7 mph on the flat. Erkfitz also hopes to break the transcontinental walking record, which he understands is 69 days 22 minutes.
As Erkfitz, accompanied by an associate in a station wagon, struck out across the southern California desert on U.S. 60 he walked into 110° heat. "It left me a little tired," said Erkfitz blithely as he changed shoes. He encountered serious trouble on U.S. 89 in the high tablelands of northern Arizona, meeting strong winds and rain. "Fate was unkind," said Erkfitz glumly, sticking a blister with a needle. He got up the following morning an hour earlier—at 3 a.m.
A vegetarian, Erkfitz gets his energy from nibbling on energy wafers, Fig Newtons with a wheat base, sunflower seeds and a rather tasteless candy. He gets his inspiration from verses with a marching measure—he is fond of Edgar Guest—and from the dicta of Percy Cerutty, the austere Australian who coaches Miler Herb Elliott: "Thrust against pain and be contemptuous of it. Pain is the purifier, the wisdom bringer."
When our Phoenix correspondent first tried to locate Erkfitz, he was unsuccessful, UNFOUND ERWIN ERKFITZ DURING VIGOROUS PATROL ROADS WEST, EAST OF KINGMAN, he wired. COOPERATIVE DRAGNET PICKED UP PAIR BUMS THREE TIMES, BUT ERKFITZ EITHER WAY AHEAD OF SCHEDULE, WAY BEHIND OR WEARS CHAMELEONLIKE PROTECTIVE COLORING THAT CAUSES BLENDING INTO ROADSIDE.
Our Detroit correspondent phoned Erkfitz' wife, who explained that Erwin had, no doubt, changed routes. "He's a little erratic at times," said Dagny Erkfitz.
Indeed, that's just what Erwin had done; he was marching steadfastly toward Flagstaff on U.S. 66-89. And there, with the help of a highway patrolman, Erwin Erkfitz was run down having a chat at a root-beer stand. He is constitutionally unable to pass a filling station or an onlooker without pausing to explain his mission.
"It takes him three hours to go through some of those small towns," says Erkfitz' associate. "That is what's making it rough on us. He could make 60 miles a day but he spends all his time talking."
"Nothing will stop me," says Erwin Erkfitz.
And nothing has. Implacable and chameleonlike, he has stalked into the rising sun on U.S. 66, averaging 50 miles a day—through New Mexico, across the Texas Panhandle, up through Oklahoma and Missouri. At week's end he was marching through Indiana on U.S. 40, just about even with a schedule that calls for him to take off his ripple-soled shoes and bathe his feet in Atlantic Ocean water before Thanksgiving.
Credit Rating Report
The cruelest insult yet cast at Frankie Carbo was flung discriminately about the nation this week in a William J. Burns International Detective Agency flier distributed to hotelmen and merchants. It reflected on Frankie's credit standing. It made the spurious suggestion that, as a fugitive since last July, Frankie may be running low on funds and crudely try to pass a bum check or two.
The implication is unfair. It must have hurt Frankie, a proud wearer of silk and cashmere. He never has resented accusations of murder or forthright declarations that he is the world's No. 1 fight fixer. These have given him a certain classy cachet. But it is unjust to say, as the folder does, that he may be suffering from the shorts. Frankie is, after all, a friend of millionaires, among them James D. Norris, the shy, retiring ex-president of the International Boxing Club now fighting so hard to avoid giving testimony before the New York grand jury that indicted Carbo as an undercover fight manager.
Frankie has always dressed well, eaten well, lived well since he discovered the simple virtues of the fix. He has been entertained at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York and has basked in a $75-a-day suite at the Shamrock in Houston. He has executive ulcers that a Madison Avenue vice-president would envy.
The chances are that Frankie never passed a bum check in his life, mostly because he does not like to sign his name to anything, including hotel registers. Besides, he deals pretty much in the anonymity of cash and, besides that, he has many hospitable friends who are glad to put him up when he comes to town. Just a few weeks after his indictment last July, for instance, he was reported, though not in the society columns, to be the incognito house guest of wealthy Artie Samish at Palm Springs, Calif. Samish, the tax-evading slushmaster of the California legislature, got out of the McNeil Island federal pen only last March and the two boys must have had a lot to chat about.
It is hard to say where Frankie is just now. He likes to present a moving target. But lately he has been confining himself pretty much to the Southwest, handy to Mexico, from which he cannot be extradited on present charges. Thus he has been seen dining with Al Weill, an old friend, at Agua Caliente but he has also been observed in Reno, living not at all like a man who is short of funds.
It is to be hoped that when District Attorney Frank Hogan finally lays hands on Frankie he will right the Burns Agency's wrong. Chances are he will find that Frankie has plenty of loot in his pockets, and, if so, he ought to count it publicly in simple justice to a maligned man. Frankie is a heel and a thief but he is a notably well-heeled thief and fair's fair.
There had, incidentally, been some speculation among boxing's many friends of Carbo that if Mr. Hogan had been elected to the United States Senate this month the indictments against Carbo and others might be allowed to lapse, or at least be pressed with less vigor than Mr. Hogan has shown. It was a foolish hope at best and it has now expired in the election returns. Mr. Hogan lost his Senate race. His term as district attorney runs until December 31, 1961.
Horns of Plenty
Those enterprising, sports-minded people at the Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory are at it again. Late this summer they were stringing cable across a box canyon not with nuclear projectiles but with a bow and arrow (SI, Oct. 6). And this month they are investigating radioactive fallout with the help of deer antlers.
Antlers, says Dr. Harry Foreman of the Biomedical Research Group, because of their high calcium content are remarkable depositories of strontium 89 and 90. An average rack of antlers will build up half as much calcium in one season as a human skeleton will in a lifetime, and the calcium soaks up fallout like so much blotting paper. By grinding antlers and measuring the radioactive content, scientists can obtain a fairly accurate annual index of fallout wherever the deer, with or without the antelope, play. "I don't think we could have devised a handier or more convenient method," says Dr. Foreman, proudly.
Any old antlers lying about your house? Either trophy-room or basement-corner variety will do, says the doctor, so long as they were not found discarded in the forest and so long as you can remember when and where they were taken. Dr. Foreman asks that first you write him brief particulars. If your antlers will help the investigation, he will ask that you mail them accompanied by an identifying tag. (Fallout does not affect the flesh of the animal itself, nor are the antlers dangerous to handle.)
There has to be a catch to all this, of course, and there is. Dr. Foreman complains of a tight budget. Antlers, he says, should be sent postpaid.
They Said It
Justice Harold Burton, in a television interview, reaching into sport for a metaphor to explain the function of the Supreme Court: "It isn't that umpires are infallible or perfect, but if there is going to be any contest—a long contest, a close contest, a hard contest—and you're not going to break up in a riot or a squabble, you'd better agree on an umpire before you start. Take his decisions and go ahead with the game. And in government it's the same principle."
Captain Barney Gill, assistant Army coach, of Notre Dame End Monty Stickles: "I knew he was an end before I ever saw him play because when I shook hands with him at dinner his forefinger jabbed me in the elbow."
Vice-President Nixon, to the Phillies' Richie Ashburn, about to leave on baseball-clinic lour of Venezuela: "Just mention my name."
Walter (Spike) Briggs, former Detroit Tiger president, off to hunt big game in Tanganyika: "Where I am going there are no tigers. In fact, there weren't many tigers where I just came from."
Cookie Lavagetto, on the language problems confronting him as manager of the Washington Senators: "A Cuban is a pleasant fellow. If he understands you, he nods his head, he smiles and he says, 'Sí, sí.' If he doesn't understand you he nods his head, he smiles and he says, 'Sí, sí.' ".