Twilight was gathering when Floyd Patterson walked out on the front porch of his training camp and said to nobody in particular: "Well, this is the hour.... There comes a time when you have to face it, and this is it."
For weeks the films of Patterson's loss to Ingemar Johansson had been gathering dust at the camp. Nobody wanted to push Patterson into watching the pain and the agony of his defeat, but everybody knew that he would have to study the pictures sooner or later. Now he was ready, and into the viewing room with him went Trainer Dan Florio, Sports Editor Louis Chantigny of Montreal's Le Petit Journal and several others. No one spoke as Patterson himself set up the projector, snapped a switch and sat back, fingernails to mouth, his face a mask.
"There wasn't a sound at first," says Chantigny. "You could see he was trying to keep all expression off his face. But he looked like a guy who was going to get killed."
Suddenly it was the third round, and Patterson-on-film was on the floor. Patterson-in-the-flesh buried his head in his hands and groaned, "Gee, how could I be so bad?"
But he seemed to relax as disaster followed disaster. By the fifth knockdown he was smiling, and at the knockout he seemed genuinely relieved. When the lights went up, everybody started talking at once. "He had leverage on you." "You should have bobbed and weaved." "Don't let him get set...." Patterson said: "I should have looked at the pictures a long time ago. I know now that I can never be as bad as what I've seen."
The film was rewound and started again. Patterson sat quietly, unsmiling. When he saw himself hit the deck for the third time, he said, "That's enough!" Nobody moved. Patterson stalked across the room and pulled the plug. He was coldly furious, and mostly at himself.
The Texas interscholastic league stripped the Stamford High School football team of its state championship the other day. The reason: one of the team's players, a 220-pound center named Wendell Ray Robinson, had gone to live at the local fire-house when his parents moved from town, and Stamford boosters had paid for his room and board. Robinson ostensibly had worked for his keep, but the league decided that his firehouse duties were somewhat nebulous. "My job was to operate the radio," Robinson explained, "and tell the police when the fire truck went out. But I never needed to." Small wonder. The Stamford fire and police departments are housed in the same building.
END OF THE RAINBOW?
Utah's Rainbow Bridge is due for a dunking when a power dam being built on the Colorado River is completed. The only thing that can save Rainbow, the world's largest natural bridge, is a protective buffer dam. But the House Appropriations Committee has turned down a 3½ million request for the buffer, arguing the whole project would cost a pot of gold—at least $23 million.
NEW FOREIGN AGENT
The Bureau of Internal Revenue, which has forced a number of other citizens into odd financial corners, has now transformed the great Heavyweight Champion Joe Louis into a shill for Fidel Castro's non-convertible, anti-American Cuban government. At one time Louis owed a million and a quarter in taxes. The Bureau has squeezed some of it out of him, and is still squeezing, although Joe is given a sort of allowance out of income—"leaving him I with some hope he can live," as Commissioner of Internal Revenue Dana Latham puts it. The commissioner adds: "He cannot make any large amounts of money. His earning days are over."
In the interest of living with some hope, Louis turned to a milk company, a recording company and public relations. Now, in his latest venture, he is vice-president of the Louis-Rowe-Fisher-Lockhart Enterprises, Inc., of New York—and a registered foreign agent. The firm has a contract with Castro's tourist bureau for $287,000 to promote vacations and conventions in Cuba, especially among American Negroes.
Louis, who is one of Floyd Patterson's psychoanalysts and a spy for Patterson on Johansson's revolutionary maneuvers at Grossinger's (the Swedish Sverdlovsk), says firmly: "We have nothing to do with politics. All we do is develop tourism for the Cuban tourist bureau."
Joe is not the first champion to try to mend his tattered fortunes in Havana. We are living with some hope that he has better luck than Jack Johnson.
TEE WITH MILK
The epicurean cows of Farmer Tom Fieldson of Gainsborough, England are driving golfers on an adjoining course to distraction. Fieldson's cows eat all golf balls hit into the rough, even race out on the fairways to slurp up well-hit drives. Their take on one recent weekend was 200 balls.
CASH AND CARRY
Anyone still eager to bet that the new eight-team American Football League won't get started next September should at least know this: the AFL already has sold $1,200,000 worth of tickets for its first season. A check around the league shows that the Los Angeles Chargers lead in advance sales with 9,000 season tickets delivered, 5,000 more on order. Of special interest are the figures from Dallas, where the AFL's Texans are competing with the National Football League's new Cowboys. The Texans have now sold 4,000 tickets, well above the entire preseason total of an earlier (1952) NFL team in that city. Cash aside, league officials also are happily surprised at the amount of playing talent available. Says Commissioner Joe Foss, "We first set the player limit at 60 per team, then expanded to 70. Now we're removing all limits. It will cost our teams more than we anticipated, but that's the way they want it. This is a very encouraging condition."
FITNESS NOTE (CONT.)
In a Woonsocket, R.I. parade, units representing Culture, The Spirit and Social Service marched on foot, while the unit representing Athletics rode in a convertible—top down.
CAST OF CHARACTERS
Strapped for cash to continue his medical studies at Western Reserve University, David Jenkins, 23, Olympic figure skating gold medalist, turned in his good conduct medal (amateur division), joined the professional Ice Follies troupe for one season....
The State of Maryland has tendered a $37,500 sales tax bill to the new owners of Bally Ache, bought after the Kentucky Derby for $1¼ million. Lexington's Joseph Arnold, who heads the owning syndicate, says he purchased the horse from Leonard Fruchtman in Kentucky (no sales tax until July) and does not propose to pay a tax in Maryland (where the deal was first announced)....
Major Felix A. (Doc) Blanchard, the redoubtable fullback who made football history with Glenn Davis at West Point in the mid-'40s, was made chief of the Air Force's 77th Tactical Fighter Squadron in England, his first command....
Miler Ron Delany, missing from current Coast races because of sacroiliac pains, plans to test his aching back at the New York Athletic Club meet this Saturday at the shorter distance of 880 yards.
WHAT'S EVERYBODY LOOKING AT?
These attentive bleacherites are scouts for 13 major league clubs. They assembled in Pittsburgh the other day to look over a left-handed young man named Sam McDowell (right). A 17-year-old senior at Central Catholic High School, Sam has pitched 40 no-hitters over a nine-year baseball career. According to the rules, of course, the scouts can't do anything about Sam until he's out of school. But graduation day is this Sunday, and guess who's going to be waiting for Sam when he gets home with his sheepskin ?