At this time of year many an office worker sits and dreams of slipping off from work to his favorite fishing hole—only most of them never get to go. Last week, however, the dream came true for 50 anglers at the Bol-Lin Company (makers of stainless-steel kitchen equipment) in Dallas. Their boss, Jerry Bollin, an ardent angler himself, told them all he was taking them up to Arkansas' Bull Shoals Lake for a week's fishing, all on company time. It turned out to be the ultimate in employer-employee relationships. By the morning they started out on their 500-mile safari in five company trucks and seven private cars, toting 10 boats and 2,000 minnows and goldfish for trotlining, the industrious workers had worked extra-hard and filled enough orders to cover the week they had gone fishing.
Another sportsman playing hooky from his job last week was Gene (Big Daddy) Lipscomb, the mountainous tackle of the Baltimore Colts (playing weight: 288 pounds). By the time Big Daddy completes his off-season wrestling tour next month, he stands to earn some $60,000. Meanwhile, he manages to reconcile professional wrestling's patently playful premeditated pachydermic pawing with his own fiercely competitive instincts: "People always ask me about fixes," says Big Daddy. "I tell them I just do the best I know. Not once has anyone told me how a match should come out. About the other guys, I don't know. What's more," he adds, "I don't ask."
On the face of it, nobody could object to the fact that the Lincoln Park (N.J.) Garden Club wanted to plant a row of lilac bushes. The trouble was that the ladies planted the lilacs in the outfield of the town's baseball diamond, thereby shortening the distance between home plate and the outer reaches of left field to 180 feet. This was all right with the Little League ballplayers, but it caused great concern last week among fathers of the Little Leaguers, who had been known on occasion to play a game or two themselves.
"I nearly cracked up my car when I noticed what had happened," said Councilman Spencer Parnham, in an echo of the cries that greeted Walter O'Malley's fence in Los Angeles some years ago. "We're happy to have the ladies beautify the place, but we don't want them to change the character of the field. This shortened left field will make a home run slugger of everyone over 12 years of age."
"I don't know what all the fuss is about," countered Sonia Feder, president of the Garden Club. "The planting was approved by the recreation committee, which has plenty of male members who understand baseball. It was up to them to decide whether it's a Little League or regular-size field, and they could certainly have told us if we were interfering with anyone's pleasure."
The Whole debate was referred to a future meeting of all interested parties. "They're just going to have to move those lilac bushes, that's all," said Councilman Parnham. "The bushes may be moved," sniffed Mrs. Feder, "but not by us."
Nobody was planting lilacs in left field at San Francisco's new Candlestick Park, but Giant sentimentalists did try to have a piece of sod from the old Polo Grounds put into the West Coast playground.
A two-foot square of grass and earth was flown west from New York last week, but Matty Schwab, Candlestick's groundskeeper, refused to plant it. Might contain weeds, he explained.
Victory by a Hair
That oddball who dives under the water on your video screen to shave may not be such an oddball after all. At least there is a faint association between him and the college swimmers who were breaking all the records at New Haven a couple of weeks ago (SI, April 11).
John McGill shaved his chest, arms and legs, and won the 220-yard medley in 2:03.3, nearly eight seconds better than he had ever done before. Jeff Farrell, a double winner, also competed while smooth as a baby's cheek.
"The only possible answer for McGill's performance lies in the fact that he shaved the hair off his body," says Phil Moriarty, Yale's swimming coach.
"Whether shaving means extra speed or not," said Bob Kiphuth, the former Yale coach and recognized dean of the field, "it gives the boys a feeling of cleanness. They feel awfully different and light in the water."
The Spell that Relaxes
Out in Oakland, California a boxer named Johnny Gonsalves was trying out another gimmick to quicken his pace. More tabby than tiger, the 29-year-old veteran of 74 fights never seemed to get untracked until the final rounds. The paying customers figured he was lazy.
Harvey Livingston, Johnny's manager, didn't believe it, though. "Maybe the boy needs help," he thought, and forthwith packed his lightweight off to a doctor for hypnotic treatments.
Last week, after seeing the doctor three times, Gonsalves climbed into the ring again for a match against Bobby Scanlon. After 10 rounds of waltz-me-around-again-Willie, a typically languorous Gonsalves won a split decision, and the 2,850 bored, booing fans bombarded the ring with debris.
But how about the hypnosis? Johnny was asked in his dressing room. Had medical science flopped? "No," said Johnny calmly. "It worked fine. From the first round tonight I felt relaxed. The main thing the doctor is trying to teach me is to relax. In his office he tells me to close my eyes and think of something peaceful. I pretend I'm sitting under a tree and the sun is shining. I think of a brook and picnics when I was a little kid. It relaxes me. I used to be too tense."
By this time everybody in the dressing room was relaxed, thinking of their picnics when they were kids.
Manager Livingston broke the spell, observing that he wasn't discouraged by developments. "You can't do it all at once," he said. "Johnny sees the doctor again Tuesday."
...And Still Champ
Ex-heavyweight champ Floyd Patterson may be down but he's far from out, according to a New York newspaperman who dropped in to see him in the abandoned Connecticut roadhouse where he is training to win back that lost championship.
Adversity has brought quick maturity to Patterson [wrote Arthur Daley in his New York Times column]. He's grown into a solid 190-pounder and he's finally started to think for himself now that he no longer has his managerial Machiavelli, the disbarred Cus D'Amato, brainwashing him....
"I took a worse mental beating than a physical one from Johansson," Patterson said sadly. "I didn't believe I'd ever come out of it. I just sat home behind locked doors and drawn shades, thinking, thinking, thinking...
"Then one night my wife went upstairs and left me watching television. Finally I turned off the set and just sat there alone. Then a sudden thought popped into my mind. I don't know where it came from or why or how. But I thought of the time I visited the wards in a cancer hospital. There was a little girl there, maybe 4 or 5 years old. Her arms and legs were no thicker than my finger. She was wasted away.
" 'Who am I to feel sorry for myself?' I said out loud.
"The next day I walked out of my front door, ready to face people for the first time in a month and a half. I was cured." Emotion flitted across the usually impassive features of the former champion.
"If I win the title back," he said, generously conceding that this was no sure thing, "I intend to display some of the things that Johansson does. He's done more with it in a few months than I did in all the time I had it. He made it a much bigger thing than I ever thought it was. I didn't carry the championship well. He has capitalized on it.... I know now I could do more with it than I did."
THE SUMMING UP
Like a reliable fullback driving for yardage, college football in 1959 chalked up another first down by registering an attendance gain for the sixth straight year. Some 623 teams, the NCAA reports, averaged alltime highs of 7,278 rooters per game and 31,479 per home schedule, totaled 19,615,344 in 2,695 games. True, the percentage of increase was only 1.7, compared to 5.4 in 1958, but the weather last fall left much to be desired. Games were played under unfavorable conditions 37.6% of the time, compared to 25.7 in 1958. Sectionally, biggest total attendance increases were recorded in the South—211,000—and the Pacific Coast—146,000; biggest losses in the Midwest, where attendance dropped almost 200,000. Individually, biggest per-game increases were made by Northwestern (up 12,692) and Indiana (up 9,244); biggest per-game losses by Tulane (down 19,724) and Rice (down 19,419). Syracuse, No. 1 in the nation in just about everything else, was 33rd in home attendance.