Reason for Thanks
In his proclamation setting aside the fourth Thursday of this month as a day of national thanksgiving, President Eisenhower last week cited as reason for gratitude the fact that "the present year has been one of progress and heightened promise for the way of life to which we, the people and the government of the United States of America, are dedicated."
One strong indication of this heightened promise, said Ike, is "in the prospect of improvement of relations among men and among nations."
Nowhere in the nation was simple evidence of improvement of international relations more easily discernible than in the news of sport.
November 23, 1959
On one international front it could be learned that a famous onetime West Point football star, Pete Dawkins, has become suddenly a white hope of Oxford rugger. On another, one could contemplate the pleasing mellowness of senior golfers in their 70s and 80s (years, not strokes) who had come from England and Canada to play against a team of amiable Americans (see page 36). Then there was the team of British professional golfers whose friendly feelings for the U.S. were seemingly dimmed not a whit by the sound trouncing they got from a U.S. team in the Ryder Cup—though some of them (see page 39) lamented too much hospitality.
Maryland's Laurel race track played host to the Thoroughbreds of nine nations in the annual Washington, D.C. International, and the spirit of international amity represented by the race itself was carried even further by the presence of a French filly with an Italian name (Mi Carina), who is owned by the United States Ambassador to Britain and was ridden by an American of Italian ancestry named Arcaro. Elsewhere in the horsy set, plans were being made to return the courtesy call of the great French trotter Jamin (see page 53), a new U.S. track darling, by sending a brace of U.S. horses to trot against him in France; and international amity was as always the keynote in New York's great week-long National Horse Show.
A handsome young Swede with a power-packed right still dominated the U.S. heavyweight boxing scene, as a 24-year-old Briton, Dave Charnley, arrived to try for the lightweight limelight. And a famous American yacht, Vim, will soon head south to help Australia win away America's and yachting's most coveted cup.
These instances, and many more like them, are evidence of an improvement in international amity well worthy of a nation's thankfulness, and they are in no way tarnished by an overseas triumph that put one of Mr. Eisenhower's White House predecessors in temporary eclipse. This occurred in Nottingham, England, where a university student greeting passers-by in the town square beat President Theodore Roosevelt's world record of 8,513 consecutive handshakes (at a Washington reception in 1907) by pressing 9,001 British palms.
A vital factor in the development of international good will on the playing field is the ability to take a licking in good grace. In this case, we are confident that the late T.R. would have hailed his own defeat with a hearty "Bully!"
Open Door to Open Tennis
That sense-making day when the world's best tennis players may meet officially regardless of their means of livelihood is still not here, but it is drawing closer. "Lawn tennis officials," as Britain's Manchester Guardian put it, "are beginning to admit that a crisis is upon them."
The most recent admissions of the criticial need for a sensible solution to the outdated and artificial amateur-professional problem came from the two most influential tennis organizations in Britain: the All-England Tennis Club and the British Lawn Tennis Association, respectively the host and the sponsor of Britain's annual Wimbledon championships.
Neither admission was much more than a formal recognition of the "desirability" of open-tennis tournaments, a recognition previously attested by Sweden and France at a meeting of the International Federation last summer. But if Britain's step forward was both dainty and diffident, it was at least a step. With U.S. support already tentatively if tacitly hinted at by the USLTA's President Vic Denny, with Sweden, France and Britain on the record as in favor, open tennis might conceivably become a reality as early as next July when the International Federation meets again.
Hands Across the Hors d'Oeuvres
Ever since the days of Charles Dickens it has been taken for granted that homegoing British travelers would let fly with a critical blast about life in the United States, but members of the British Ryder Cup team have given a new note to their comments. Called upon to explain in the British press why they were beaten 8½-3½ at Palm Desert, Calif. (SI, Nov. 16), they said bleakly they were too well-fed, too well-treated and too well-entertained to win.
The American host for most of the Ryder Cup trip was Robert Hudson, a West Coast groceryman (Hudson House) who has been cementing international relations through golf for years with no publicity whatever, merely from devotion to golf and good food. This time, the Ryder Cup visitors reached New York on the Queen Elizabeth one morning, and began their lunch-to-tea circuit with a press reception, a luncheon, some picture taking and a lot of golf talk, after which they were whisked by bus to the Atlantic City Country Club in time for a dinner of—what else?—roast beef. They got in a practice round next day, dinner at Hackney's Seafood Restaurant, and wound up their seashore stay with an 18-hole pro-amateur best-ball tournament played in rain and high winds followed by dinner with members at the country club: pineapple supr√™me, consommé, filet mignon, potatoes, broccoli, salad, cake and coffee.
Then on to Washington, D.C. in time for cocktails at the British Embassy next day, where their lack of interest in food and drink created some comment. "Most of them had soft drinks," said a guest wonderingly. The second day in Washington was spent playing golf at—where else?—Burning Tree, followed by the annual Harvest Dinner for members that night. Third-day food consumption in Washington began with brunch and was followed by exhibition matches at noon at the Congressional Country Club, a cocktail party with hot canapés and another dinner that night. Next day the rotund visitors checked into the Hotel Dinkier Plaza in Atlanta in time for lunch, played golf at—where else?—the Peachtree Country Club and at East Lake, were given a buffet luncheon by the Atlanta Journal (cream soup, sausage, eggs) as a warmup for a dinner by the Coca-Cola Co. The dinner menu included crabmeat ravi-gote, green turtle soup au sherry, sirloin steak champignons, rissolé potatoes, broiled tomato, heart of palm vinaigrette, baked Alaska flambé, demitasse, vin rosé and Coca-Cola.
So it went for two weeks before the matches began. "We should fly straight to the Ryder Cup in the future," said Dave Thomas as the team took off, "and practice on the spot instead of working our way across America. It's too tiring."
Arabs at Laurel
Until last week there had never been a race of purebred Arab horses in the United States, and this was a source of profound dissatisfaction to American owners of some 10,000 of these noble animals. The most dissatisfied was Mrs. Bazy Tankersley, a young-looking, practical, tireless horsewoman who operates the AlMarah Arabian Horse Farm outside Washington, D.C. Mrs. Tankersley felt more strongly about it than her fellow enthusiasts because she owns more Arabs—some 200 in all—than anybody outside Saudi Arabia and its environs.
Last May, Mrs. Tankersley persuaded John Schapiro, president of Maryland's Laurel Race Course, that Arabs should race again, and soon had 14 owners committed to bring their steeds to the track. Out in Rock Island, Ill., Mrs. William Hewitt, of the Deere farm equipment family, was personally working a marvelously poised and responsive Arab stallion named Ofir. A Florida businessman, Max Culpepper, was training a dark brown 7-year-old stallion named Michael, periodic winner of 100-mile endurance contests in Florida. Out in Walnut Creek, Calif. there was John Rogers, a retired oil executive who became interested in Arabian horses when he watched them race their classic four-mile distance in Arabia; he was training Ankthor, son of a celebrated Bahrein Island racing mare. On the banks of the Connecticut River in New Hampshire, a hard-working farmer named Nomas Reed was training a gray stallion named Ibn Lwow, pronounced "Wolfie." The reason for all this personal attention was simple. None of the horses had ever raced before, here or anywhere else.
Nor had any of the owners raced horses. True, most of them put their animals in the hands of Jack Mobberley, an experienced Virginia trainer, for final preparations, but Mobberley had never worked with Arabs before. To make sure they could go 2½ miles, the Al-Marah Farm's veterinarian, Dr. Steven Lange, checked their respiration, heart action and temperature three times a day, early in the morning, immediately after a workout and two hours later. He accumulated a lot of valuable data on reduced variations in heartbeat and temperature as conditioning progressed; alas, there was no previous accumulation of material to compare it all with.
As a result, Arab owners were in a fine fidget of anxiety by race day. It wasn't at all the usual horseman's fear of not winning; nobody seemed even to think about that. It was more like the tension of a parent at graduation exercises. The Arab race was run as an exhibition (no betting and no purse) before the much-heralded International (see page 56). What if it turned into a fiasco before the unsparing eyes of 32,000 Thoroughbred fans? Suppose it ended with these superb saddle horses and family pets strung out all the way around Laurel's dirt track? At 8:30 on the morning of the race the owners were sternly ordered away from the Arab barn by Trainer Mobberley: they were too nervous and were making their horses nervous
Well, there were Arab race horses before there even were Thoroughbred horses, and if there was one thing this first Arab race demonstrated it was that Arabs know what to do when running in the same direction with a lot of other horses. Ten of them lined up in the fall sunshine, at once composed and high-spirited. They broke well from the starting gate, Ibn Lwow in the lead. All were bunched most of the way in the first time around the track as the first mile was covered in 1 minute 58 seconds. Three lost some of their interest about that point. But the remaining seven were still bunched at two miles, all within five lengths of Ibn Lwow. Michael was a length behind him, and on either side of Michael were Mrs. Hewitt's two horses, an 8-year-old gelding and the tireless, untroubled Ofir. It is rare in a 2½ mile race to find the field still together in the last half mile, but seven Arabs were still in contention at that point.
A hundred yards from the finish, Ofir pulled ahead to win by a length and a half. Michael was second, and Beldarra, a 5-year-old gelding, the entry of a Seaside, Ore. breeder, a good third. The time: 5 minutes 5[1/5] seconds. Since the world record for 2 1/2 miles, set by Miss Grillo in 1948 at Pimlico, is 4 minutes 14[3/5] seconds, it was plain that it will be a long time before Arabs can catch their Thoroughbred cousins. But the first Arab race was a thriller—close, clean and composed. Promptly invited to race again, most of them are getting ready for a run at Pimlico on Thanksgiving Day.
New York City has 8,042,000 people, 2,282,000 trees, 786,240 buildings, 52,099 hospital beds, 35,234 elevators and escalators, 3,364 churches and synagogues, 908 theaters and 33 museums. So says The 1959 Statistical Guide to New York City, released last week by Mayor Wagner's Department of Commerce and Public Events. We believed all this and we were mighty impressed until we came to the page that says that New York has "three" major league baseball teams. Now we don't know what to think. Miss Cecilia Winkler, who has spent the last three years compiling the guide's statistics, explained this, sorrowfully. "There were these pages and pages of figures, all from the 1954 business census, and I simply transcribed them. Perhaps I should have put an asterisk or a 'please note,' but I didn't think of it. It's all very unfortunate." And then Miss Winkler became more cheerful. "You know," she said, "the funny thing is that I used to play shortstop when I was a schoolgirl."
This baby tern
Now has a brother,
For one good tern
They Said It
Ben Schwartzwalder, Syracuse football coach, before his team executed Colgate 71-0: ''If I ever get so greedy that I'm not satisfied to win by one point, then I'll know there's something wrong with me."
Robert Moses of New York City, durable, stubborn boss of parks, bridges, tunnels, slum clearance, etc., and a mover and shaker in general: "The most I can possibly expect is to be remembered for a very short time as the Archie Moore of public works."
Sir Grantley Adams, Prime Minister of the West Indies Federation, looking down a long nose: "There would be fewer revolutions in the Latin American countries if the people were taught to play cricket."