WATER OF LIFE
Nashua, the onetime record money-winner ($1,288,565) who brought a onetimerecord selling price ($1,251-200), now seems odds-on to set more records atstud. Thirteen of the 19 foals in his first crop have already made it to theraces, six winning and three placing. On the basis of this showing, 10yearlings by Nashua were sold at Saratoga and Keeneland for an average price of$42,000. Leslie Combs, who headed the syndicate that bought Nashua, sold sixshares in the 8-year-old stallion recently for $60,000 each (compared to theoriginal $39,100). "What I'm most tickled about," said Combs, "isthat all six of Nashua's winners so far were foaled and raised on mySpendthrift Farm. You just can't beat that water." One thing thatSpendthrift water won't do is quench Leslie Combs's blazing modesty.
His competitiveappetite sharpened by the current Olympics, a 45-year-old horse trainer fromGlen Head, N.Y. has cooked up a potpourri of athletic events he calls theSportsman's Decathlon. "The 10 events I've picked," says William Dobbs,"best test a man's physical fitness and all-round ability." What'smore, Dobbs will put his money where his muscle is, offers to bet $10,000 hecan lick all challengers—provided they're his age or older.
Dobbs'sDecathlon, to be completed within a week's time, includes:
1) Swimming:50-yard freestyle.
2) Riding: taking a horse over 10 jumps in a show ring.
3) Track: 100-yard dash.
4) Water skiing: 10-minute run up and down a regulation slalom course.
5) Motor sports: 20 laps around a half-mile dirt track.
6) Shooting: 15 rounds with a .22 rifle at 100 yards.
7) Gymnastics: 50-foot rope climb.
8) Tennis: two out of three sets.
9) Golf: 18 holes, medal play.
10) Sailing: racing a 40-foot yawl, singlehandedly, over a 150-mile course.
Specific details,Dobbs says, will be worked out when a $10,000 challenge is forthcoming.Meanwhile, he is training for only one of the 10 events. "I can hardlybreak 100," he says, "but every 45-year-old plays golf, so I had toinclude it."
"Sam,"said a friend of Snead, "I've got someone who can beat you, and $5,000 tobet on it."
"Amateur or apro?" said Snead.
"Strictlyamateur," said the friend.
"You'reon," said Snead.
Next morningSnead was first at the tee. An enclosed van pulled up and out stepped a550-pound gorilla, wearing Bermuda shorts and carrying a golf bag.
"A bet is abet," said Snead.
Snead slammed hisfirst drive 300 yards down the middle. The gorilla took his putter and drove423 yards to the green, the ball stopping a foot from the cup.
Snead hit a goodapproach shot and sank his putt for a birdie 3.
The gorilla tookhis putter again, lined up the putt and drove the ball 423 yards.
While the bigOlympic show is going on before huge crowds in Rome's huge stadiums, theOlympic Village, temporary home of the 6,000 athletes, has become the offstagesetting for a delightful little show of its own.
In the women'ssection, naturally called The Harem, officials have already rated the U.S.girls as the most ingenious (and the most scatterbrained). One group talked abus driver into taking them to the beach instead of the musty old Baths ofCaracalla for practice; other U.S. girls discovered that washing machines canbe used as whirlpool baths for tired arms and legs, as well as lingerie, and aban on shorts was" immediately thwarted by the wearing of a teentsy-weentsyballerina skirt. The ban had been put on, U.S. officials said, because shortswere "offensive" to Italians. Their first check with Roman men,however, showed the girls the absurdity of that contention.
(During theopening-day ceremonies a dark-haired, ivory-skinned woman in a very low-cutdress stirred a riot of neck-craning as she moved to her seat in the stadium."One of our Italian beauties," said a Roman smugly. "Sorry,"corrected an American. "That's Liz Taylor.")
Among othergirls' teams, the Australians, in their lime-green shirts and bush hats, arerated the most dashing but rank with the Italians as the least tidy, while theFrench, in their Balmain frocks, are the most chic. The Koreans are the shyest,blushing when other girls see them in dressing gowns. And the English are theleast self-conscious, rushing around the quarters in pants and bras and wearingthe shortest of shorts outdoors.
The Russians,perhaps the neatest in their V-neck dresses, are also, alas, the most confined.Their coaches have refused to give them shopping money until the competition isover. Lest this alarm Avery Brundage, it seems fairly well established all willget the same amount—win or lose.
In a written diagnosis of its football prospects for this fall, an AtlanticCoast Conference university uses the adjective "great" 19 times:"great receiver," "great passer," "great tackle,""great guard," "greater desire to be a great team." But thereport concludes: "Impossible to make an over-all evaluation of the team inadvance. Line strength unknown."
VOICE OF THEFAN
"I'm tellingyou," the voice on the Baltimore radio growls, "that Courtney is theworst in the business on pop fouls. He smells up the whole joint. Richards mustbe daydreaming when he plays him. Why would Richards keep Triandos, the bestcatcher in the league, on the bench and play Courtney, the worst? Richards hasgone nuts on platooning."
The voice is thatof Bennett (Benny the Fan) Levine, a dress-shop operator turned sportscasterwhose 10-minute show, Bricks and Bats, is heard after every Baltimore Oriolegame. By candidly saying what he thinks, Benny has brought the fresh (and allbut unknown) breath of criticism to the air waves, where sportscasters usuallysound like (and often are) paid employees of the home club, and has captured aphenomenal 38.6% of all listeners in the Baltimore area. "Look," hewill say, "that Richards is getting $50,000 a year to know when to takepitchers out. So he leaves 'em in too long." Or "No wonder we'relooking for a right fielder. They don't play anyone out there long enough toget his batting eye."
Benny claims heis not second-guessing. "What I say on the air about a play or mentallapse, I say when it happened—just like any fan. That's why people likeme." And how does Oriole Manager Paul Richards enjoy Bricks and Bats?"He doesn't discuss it with me," says Benny, "and I don't discussit with him."
Twenty-fourhundred prisoners gathered along the third baseline of a New York prisonrecreation field one day last week and heartily cheered 20 fellow inmates whowere simultaneously challenging the U.S. champion. The scene was Riker'sIsland, the champion was Bobby Fischer, and the game was chess. The occasionprobably was the first chess exhibition ever held in a prison, and the crowdcertainly was one of the largest ever to see a U.S. chess match, in or out ofstir. The match came about because the aging American champion—he is now 17years old—has developed sociological interests he did not possess when he firstwon the title at 14.
His opponentslooked tough. A kindly-featured pickpocket opened with the Najdorf variation ofthe Sicilian defense; a sturdy outdoor type, in for grand larceny, opened agood game with the French defense. Play started at 6:41; at 6:57 the player atthe 15th board gave a startled cry. He was checkmated. Heartless roars ofsatisfaction at his discomfiture came from the bleachers.
Fischer trottedeasily from board to board, lower jaw stuck out, occasionally glancing at themildly noisy spectators. Cheering for a chess match is almost a contradictionin terms, and the prisoners found it difficult to encourage their favorites."Hit him, man!" one of them yelled to the player with the Frenchdefense. "Hit him with your bishop!" At 7:30 the spectators returned totheir cells. The eliminated players, a few guards and a handful of prisonerswith privileges crowded around the last board, watching each move with thesilent intensity found at the decisive game of every chess tournament.
It was now nearlydark, and a cool breeze swept from the river, stirring the line of trees thatscreened the watchtower beyond right field. At 8:10, a full hour and a halfafter the beginning of play, the last prisoner resigned. It was the kindlypickpocket, and his Najdorf variation of the Sicilian defense had done himproud. As he departed for his cell, he wore the slightly dazed look of a manwho has just changed careers.
Johnny Unitas of the Baltimore Colts, who has thrown right-handed touchdownpasses in 37 consecutive games, found his right side completely blocked byincoming linemen in practice last week. NFL pass defenders will be interestedto know that he switched the ball to his left hand and tossed a perfectspiral.