Rallye at theSummit
This is an article from the April 11, 1960 issue
There is atradition of friendliness among the fraternity of sports car drivers that is aworld apart from the snarling surliness of the run-of-the-highway motorist.Sports car drivers habitually wave to one another when they meet on the road;their silvery horns are invariably used to sound cheery greetings rather thanthreats, and they have even been known to pause politely at a green light whileanother driver makes a left turn.
Last week theFrench gave visiting Premier Nikita Khrushchev a brand-new sports car when hedropped in to visit the Renault factory in Normandy. We hope he uses it todrive to the summit in the happy tradition for which it was built.
It was 5:30 a.m.Saturday in Dallas and the sportsmen gathering in Union Terminal were mentallywalking on tiptoes, as if afraid of waking the baby.
"Texas &Pacific Railway special to Hot Springs now ready for passengers on Track10," boomed a loudspeaker. With that, 600 horseplayers, lifting their feetlike zombies, moved into their 17-car train for a 371-mile run to a race track,a somnambulant credit to the perseverance of their breed.
Leaving Dallas at5:45 a.m., they would ride seven hours to the Oak-lawn Park track in Arkansas,spend five hours there, ride seven more hours back again, getting home about 3a.m.
It was a servicethe T&P offered three years ago, half tongue-in-cheek, only to findracing-starved Texans were railbirds in more ways than one.
"I'll betwe're up even before the horses," mumbled a passenger settling himselfdrowsily into his seat last week. The train rumbled on through Dallas suburbsand into farmland where, indeed, no horses seemed to be awake.
The sleeping townsrolled by: Eula, Elmo, Cobbs, Wills Point. Two coaches fitted with specialcounters began serving bacon and eggs. Hunch players, their winners alreadypicked, got out boxes of dominoes and decks of cards.
At 7 a.m. a manreached into a paper sack, pulled out the day's first beer. Texas railroads aredry, but Texans needn't be. On one car platform sat a garbage can filled withshaved ice. Adjoining it was a men's lounge, stacked to the ceiling with beer.The T&P helped. It thoughtfully provided 1,000 paper cups.
Edgewood,Fruitvale, Mineola, Hoard flashed by. "I haven't been on a train in 10years," said a diner patron, coffee slopping on his pants as the carswayed. "They haven't changed a bit."
"It's Gibletsin the first for sure," announced a plunger, waving a pencil-speckled pieceof graph paper. (Giblets finished fifth.)
Crow, Hawkins, BigSandy, Wilkins. Up front the engineer had his orders, "Most important forthe people on this train to be at the track by 1:45 p.m." The railroad'sgeneral manager had signed the instructions himself, to be sure his customersmade the daily double. "The daily double is when you bet the first tworaces and make a lot of money," the conductor was explaining meanwhile to aneophyte.
Gladewater,Greggton—thump, thump, thump! The special ground to a horrifying halt. "Myhorses quit in the backstretch and so do my trains," moaned the Gibletsman. Car 5, victim of a flat tire, was left on a siding, and the train was offagain, 40 minutes late.
Now it was a realrace to make the daily double, and the engineer opened up the throttle."We've got to make it," the conductor confided. "If we don't all600 of these people will claim they had the winners."
Hallsville,Marshall, Lodi, Bivins. On Car 6 a sideburned guitar player strummed You Are MySunshine. Everybody sang. "If I ever get to heaven I want to go with thiscrowd," said a lady. "My mother-in-law should see me now," threw ina happy man. "The eyes of Texas are upon you," Car 6 reminded him.
An hour out of HotSprings the conductor proudly proclaimed: "The T&P has called the racetrack and told them we're coming. The track will hold up the daily double untilwe make it."
And sure enough,the track waited until its Texas fans arrived near 2 p.m. "Thank theLord," gasped a railroad official.
A half-dozen hourslater the special was turned around, beef was being served at the dinercounters, and Deep in the Heart of Texas rang gloriously from Car 6.
"Thanks,"said a red-eyed customer with deep sincerity as he stumbled off the train inDallas at 2:30 a.m. "Thanks for a nice ride."
Though it has yet to gain the popularity of such regional pastimes as eatinggrits and strumming on the old banjo, ice hockey is catching on in the South.Entered in evidence are the words of L. Richardson Preyer, a North CarolinaSuperior Court judge whose judicial impartiality does not extend to twoCarolina teams in the Eastern Hockey League. After imposing a six-monthsuspended sentence and a $25 fine on John Brophy of the Charlotte Clippers forassaulting a policeman while confined to the penalty box, Judge Preyer toldBrophy: "I don't want to impose such conditions of suspension as would keepyou, in the course of your employment, from punching your opponents."
Warden Vernon L.Pepersack of the Maryland Penitentiary didn't see any reason why hisinstitution shouldn't be represented the other night at the South Atlanticweight-lifting championships.
The event, afterall, was taking place only seven blocks away at the Baltimore YMCA, and thewarden didn't want to send a cheering section, only a prisoner named JenkinsHudson, who had a knack with the bar bells.
So the warden senthis man, and now the State Department of Correction, the parole board and—whoknows—maybe even the U.S. Olympic Committee are facing a potential dilemma ofsome magnitude.
Hudson went to theSouth Atlantic championships accompanied by guards and the warden himself.
He thereuponflabbergasted his escorts and 500 cheering spectators by lifting the staggeringtotal of 955 pounds in three hoists. The feat made a shambles of previous meetrecords. It would have won at the Pan American Games and it would have earned abronze medal at the last Olympics.
"I knew hecould do it," said Hudson's coach, Jack Lipsky, a Baltimore physicalculturist who met his middle heavyweight (196 pounds) while conducting aweight-lifting program at the penitentiary.
"He only needsa few matches and he'll go over 1,000 pounds. He's a natural athlete with greatstrength and a grip like a vise. This boy will break the world's record [1,035¾pounds], no question about it."
Warden Pepersackwas almost as pleased as Lipsky. "This kind of thing keeps a man in contactwith society," he said. "He feels a responsibility because the publicis looking in. What he did was good for the morale of the wholeinstitution."
Hudson himself, a25-year-old who had never lifted a bar bell until Lip-sky's class eight monthsago, was relatively silent about his first evening out in three years (of a40-year stretch for armed robbery). "I used to play football, basketballand softball," he said, summarizing his prison athletic career, "but Igave them all up to concentrate on weight lifting." It was a concentrationwhich left the exholdup man nearly unbeatable at such sporting holdups as thetwo-arm snatch and clean and jerk.
How about hisfuture? Jack Lipsky wants badly to get Hudson—under proper escort—to a juniorchampionship event at Schenectady, N.Y. in May and the Senior Nationals inCleveland the following month. The latter are also the Olympic trials, and thecoach obviously has Rome on his mind, too.
But was it a worldtour that the judge had in mind when Hudson was sentenced? Not likely, suggestsWarden Pepersack, who has handed the whole matter over to parole officials.
Even Coach Lipskyrecognizes the problem. "Wouldn't you know it," he moaned last week."At last I get a world champion and where is he? In prison!"
'Everything Is forKeeps'
Agent Chick Langstood in the gathering dusk of Florida's Gulf-stream Park one night last weekand talked about his employer, Jockey Bill Hartack. An agent's job is to gethis jockey mounts that can win, and Lang's effectiveness is reflected in thefact that Hartack, who earned about $250,000 last year, has won the NationalRiding Championship three times during the six years of their partnership. Forservices rendered, Lang received a 20% commission, double the standardrate.
"Isn't he apip?" Lang said. "You read about Hartack's style, the way he sits ahorse, his hands, his strength, and so on. That's a lot of garbage. He winsbecause he wants to win so desperately.
"He's the sameat anything. He's been over to my place playing checkers with my 12-year-old.I've seen my boy start to make a move, then try to pull back and make another,and Bill said, 'Oh, no, you don't.' My boy said, 'But we're not playing forkeeps.' Bill looked him straight in the eye and said, 'With me, everything isfor keeps.' "
Just 24 hoursafter delivering this bit of rhetoric, Agent Lang announced that he wasquitting. He and the 27-year-old Hartack had quarreled before (and Lang hadquit before), but they had always been able to patch things up. Last week thequarreling was so bitter as to appear irrevocable. "Hartack," saidLang, "is an ungrateful person. He hates racing and everybody in racing.He's got a serious emotional problem. It's Hartack's world, and the rest of usare supposed to live in it."
"I have anobsession about winning, if you call that an emotional problem," Hartackretorted. "Chick's happy-go-lucky. He can accept anything. I can't. If Iride 1,500 horses a year and 1,000 of them lose, it hurts me 1,000 times. Thewinners I take for granted, but the losers hurt."
The chief causesof the split-up were Hartack's tendency to scratch mounts Lang had booked himto ride (he refused to ride a favorite at Hialeah last year after $136,000 hadalready been bet) and the jockey's occasional lapses of self-control."After one race," said Lang, "he came back to the paddock and saidloudly, 'Don't ever put me on a horse like that again,' and carried on ingeneral. I didn't say anything then, but afterward I grabbed him by the shirtand said, 'Bill, the next time this happens, I'm going to take you apart—crowdor no crowd.' "
In happier timesHartack once was asked whether he didn't feel badly about refusing to ridemounts Lang had selected. "Why should I feel bad?" Hartack said. "Ididn't pick them. Chick did." But didn't he feel any responsibility?Hartack frowned for a moment, then casually lit a cigarette. "The hell withthat," he said.
The Name's theSame
When a visitingOxford-Cambridge squash team arrived last month for a U.S. tour it expected tohave some trouble playing with the harder, faster American squash ball but wasgame to give it a try.
A couple ofdefeats later, however, the gameness was wearing a bit thin. After a 5-1beating at the hands of the Pentagon Squash Club in Washington, D.C., thecaptain of the British team, Roger K. Jarvis of Cambridge, felt a word ofexplanation was in order.
"In Englandyou chase the ball; in America it chases you," he told listeners after thematch. Then plunging his hand into a small bag he pulled out an English ball,happily pushed his thumb into the spongy surface and said: "That's wherethe game got its name—squash."
A press releasejust fluttered in upon us from Ibadan, Western Nigeria, and we pass along partsof it to you as pleasing on two counts.
First, it'sheartening to hear that Ibadan's new 35,000-capacity Liberty Stadium, thefinest in all Africa, will be finished by October, when Princess Margaret is toopen a festival of games there. Second, it's nice to note that African stadiumbuilders have quite the same worries as their busy counterparts on SanFrancisco Bay, the Potomac and the Hudson.
Liberty Stadium isan elliptical bowl with an approved En-Tout-Cas running track, a footballfield, covered stands on one side, lights for night games and a cafeteria.
Transportationdifficulties are met "by a lot for 2,000 cars and 6,500 bicycles, and roadsfrom three sides."
And financing?"The stadium should be a money-making proposition," a spokesman said."We expect to hold an average of 40 full-scale sporting events annually.With only moderate attendance the stadium will be self-supporting."
All of which mustsound strikingly familiar to Americans whose own cities are talking about newstadiums. But at one point the Ibadan designers are going their Americancounterparts one better. The press box, it seems, "will be glass-enclosed,air conditioned and feature a bar within easy reach of reporters."
Ogunquit, Me., aquiet coastal village at the conflux of the Josias River and the sea, is apleasant combination of things pastoral and piscatorial; a town of clams, fish,lobsters and 800 souls. The sporting Ogunquitian likes to spend his winterweekends skating out on Moody Pond, driving off to Bridgton for the skiing, orbundling by the TV, there being no local movie. But all that changed on St.Patrick's Day when gold was discovered on the municipal parking lot.
The Ogunquit GoldRush started when the Ellis C. Snodgrass Co. found some fine alluvial gravelwhile dredging out a cove. Waste not, want not, thought Ogunquit, and Snodgrasswas asked to dump the gravel on the town parking lot, where it was duly spread,greatly improving the surface. In the process, the engineer in charge of theproject, Irving Pickering, discovered a tiny gold nugget.
Pickering thenborrowed the community's only gold pan from one Frederick E. Kemp Jr., panned$8 worth of dust and nuggets out of the gravel, returned to his office and puta sign over the door: "Klondike Town Hall." That was Thursday, March17.
The word, needlessto say, got around. Kemp retrieved his gold pan and went to the parking lothimself Friday, only to find 150 other prospectors scrabbling around thesedans. The gathering alarmed Police Chief Chris Larsen, who properly foresawbigger crowds on Saturday, accordingly banned all gold hunting in the towngravel.
The miners obeyed,but public pressure rose and on Saturday night the Village Manager, Percival H.Wardwell, rescinded the no-digging decree. "Let them prospect to theirhearts' content," he ordered.
Sunday dawnedgloriously sunny, the first day of spring. Nobody at all was out skating onMoody Pond, but 2,500 people were down on the Ogunquit parking lot. They hadcome from six states with clam hoes, shovels, picks, sieves, kitchen colanders,pots, pans and bare hands; the biggest bunch of mining amateurs since 40,000roamed the California countryside round Sutter's Sawmill in '49.
In the midst ofthis enthusiastic display was Village Manager Ward-well, rejoicing in theinflux of trade to his town. Come summertime, Ogunquit is influxed withbeatniks, artniks and tourniks, but this was the first cold-weather boomever.
By evening theexcitement was on the wane. Nobody said how much gold he had found, beingtight-mouthed in the sourdough (and the Maine) tradition, but a little had beenfound for sure.
The next weekend acouple of hundred diggers were back on the parking lot, including Kemp, whoallowed in his taciturn way that he had "a pretty good amount of thestuff," and planned to make mining his weekend avocation for some time.
Even if the veinwas running low on the lot, grander planners were talking of slipping up theJosias as soon as the ice is out to find the source of the gold.
That sounded likegood weekend sport for spring, and no need to tell wives left behind inOgunquit what every geologist knew: Maine rivers have a lot of gold, but nonethat can be profitably mined.
The ball waspopped into the air,
It fell to earth, not foul, but fair;
And now the batter is undone,
Because he did not choose to run.
They Said It
Ben Martin, Air Force Academy football coach, on histeam's wide-open style of play: "We get boys who take a big chance everytime they take up a jet. They just aren't the type to play conservativefootball."
Dizzy Dean, former St. Louis Cardinal pitcher,responding to gags about his 240 pounds (vis-√†-vis his playing weight of 160):"Yeah, but in those days I was being paid by Branch Rickey."
Percy Cerutty, coach of sub-four-minute miler HerbElliott, on women athletes: "In the hard competitive grind there is noplace for women unless they no longer want to be women. Sport for women shouldbe kept in the Victorian Age—when no one took it seriously."