THE INSIDE TRACK
This is an article from the Feb. 27, 1961 issue
•Look for an upset in the Big Ten swim meet—and a hot protest from favored Indiana if it occurs. Reason: the conference, aware that Indiana's only weakness is team depth, has decided to award points for 12 places instead of the usual six.
•Duke Football Coach Bill Murray just got the good news that junior Don Altman, quarterback who led the Cotton Bowl comeback over Arkansas, will sign a major league baseball contract and lose his senior year of eligibility.
•Fines are coming up for athletes who cut classes at Kansas University. Too many of the boys are being lost through midseason scholastic difficulties. The first cut will cost $1, and the penalty will double with each offense.
•The American Football League teams may never equal the NFL's, but they're full of trust and confidence in each other. AFL Commissioner Joe Foss now plans to give club owners and players lie-detector tests in an effort to resolve some disputes over players' services.
•Finding a place to play is worrying the Los Angeles Lakers. The club should make the NBA playoffs, but the city's Sports Arena is already booked on playoff dates.
•Watch for a five-city indoor track circuit to spring up in Texas next year. Reason: the success of the indoor track meet at Fort Worth earlier this month (7,200 paid admissions, 2,000 turned away).
•After two discouraging years for duck hunters, Canada's Prairie Provinces are again dry; there will not be enough water for nesting ducks during the spring breeding season, which means severe restrictions on bag limits next fall.
For a brief spell during his early training at Palm Beach, Ingemar Johansson was, by his standards, a stern disciplinarian, even to observing the dietary laws of the prizefighting profession. Passionately fond of the American delicacy strawberry shortcake, he gave it up for Lent and the duration of his training period (SI, Feb. 13). But one night he and his sweetheart, Birgit Lundgren, slipped away to a movie, Exodus. Then they stopped for a snack. Ingemar ordered strawberry shortcake. A couple of nights later Ingemar called room service at his hotel. "Please send up a double order of strawberry shortcake," he said.
The man seems to be hooked. He is back on the same easygoing diet that amused boxing experts during his training for the first Patterson fight. Despite his brief flirtation with austerity, he seems to think shortcake is good for him. It had better be, because he is about 20 pounds above the 198 he hopes to weigh when he meets Patterson on March 13.
"I am heavy now," he says, "but I want to keep some of this weight until just before the fight."
No American trainer, not even his own Whitey Bimstein, would agree with him. Ingemar pits the experience of 23 professional fights against the opinions of men who have trained thousands of fighters.
As admirers of the good life, we would like to think that Ingemar is right. But we are doubtful.
LENT IN BLIGHTY
Englishmen who adore animals—and there are a lot of them (SI, Feb. 20)—were roused to fury last week by a suggestion that their dogs be put on diets for Lent. The bold man who made the suggestion was no less a personage than William Cardinal Godfrey, Archbishop of Westminster. In his Lenten pastoral letter, the archbishop appealed for human and canine abstinence so that money saved might go to feed starving humans.
Reaction against the archbishop was immediate and fierce. The head of the Canine Defense League called the idea "fatuous." "It would be punishing the animals," he added. "They would not know what it was for. We have some animals who behave in a more Christian way than some Christians." Miss Pat McCaughey, owner of 12 Airedales, voiced a typical opinion: "I wouldn't dream of cutting down the diet of my dogs. I'd rather go without myself."
The Englishman's castle, apparently, is really his kennel.
All week long a golfer friend of ours has been telling the toes on his right foot to relax. He is taking the advice given by Jack Heise in his 128-page book How You Can Play Better Golf Using Self-Hypnosis. "Every good golfer, whether he recognizes the phenomenon as such," writes Heise, "employs self-hypnosis in his play."
Most professionals, Heise continues, take up the game as youngsters and learn to play by instinct. Most amateurs take it up as adults and are self-conscious. What the amateurs must try to do is lose this self-consciousness through self-hypnosis.
Go to bed, Heise advises, and start talking to yourself: "I am going to relax every muscle in my body...starting from my feet...and going to my head...the toes on my right foot are relaxing...." With steady progress, an amateur golfer will soon be able to hypnotize himself right on the green.
Our golfer friend reports progress of a sort. His toes are so relaxed that they've fallen asleep. He hopes it doesn't spread.
Madison Square Garden echoed last week with the din of 2,548 dogs, but it was a mere whisper compared with the angry growls evoked by the final judging of the Westminster Kennel Club Show (SI, Feb. 13). Even before the audience could choose its own favorite from among the six finalists in the best-in-show ring, Judge Joseph E. Redden had given the nod to a poodle, and the most important show of the year was over. When viewers tuned in their TV sets seven minutes later for the scheduled 11:05 judging, Westminster officials were involved in the noisiest controversy in the history of this 85-year-old event.
Chief target of press and public indignation was Dr. Redden. The quarrel, however, was not with his choice—a six-pound black toy, Ch. Cappoquin Little Sister—but rather with his speed. One reporter suggested Judge Redden was trying to catch a train (false: he was spending the night in N.Y.); another, that Garden officials threatened to turn out the lights at 11 p.m. (false: Garden management was not involved). Advertising pressure was suggested (false: the show's television sponsor budgeted for TV time until midnight).
Two days after the show an embarrassed Westminster Kennel Club admitted the fault was its own. A club official had hastily scanned the schedules of 13 TV stations carrying the show, noted that several were cutting out at 11 p.m. for late news, and decided to get the show over by 11. Did this affect the judge's choice? "If I had been there an hour," Dr. Redden says, "my choice would have been the same."
Dr. Redden's judging abilities aside, we believe that sports promoters should quit trying to tailor their competitions to fit TV schedules. This has already occurred in pro basketball and it is an arrogant and irritating practice.
Economics has been called the dismal science. Last week, before the Texas legislature, Dr. Arthur A. Smith, a dignified, scholarly Dallas banker and economist, proved the name is not unjust. Representative V. E. (Red) Berry had just finished talking for 40 minutes in favor of his pet measure, a bill for a referendum on legalizing pari-mutuel betting (SI, Jan. 30), when Dr. Smith took the floor. Parrying abuse and heckling, he suggested that some of the legislators take a course in economics and others in logic. (Horseplayers have no use for that parlay.) He brought down the house of 1,500, all eager for a chance at "illogical" betting, when he said that playing the stock market was not gambling. "Gambling does not create any wealth and every cent collected by the winners must be lost by someone," Dr. Smith argued, with an irrefutable lack of sporting verve.
Berry, on the ropes of logic and economics, could only say that the people of Texas should be given a chance to vote on his measure anyway. The consensus is that Dr. Smith won a round but that Rep. Berry may win the battle. Passer-by and telephone polls show a heavy majority in favor of pari-mutuel betting. But Texas has plenty of blue noses and they are still to be counted.
Two college basketball coaches sat in the bar of a Washington, D.C. hotel the other night discussing the thoroughness of modern recruiting.
"In the past year I wrote 472 high school basketball players east of the Mississippi and watched 150 of them in action," said one coach. "Yes," said the other, "and I'll bet I know every one of them."
There followed, across three Martinis, a new parlor game called Guess the Player:
Coach A: "A blond 6-foot 7-inch center from West Flushing High, N.Y.?"
Coach B: "His hook shot is no good."
Coach A: "A left-handed forward from Lower Coalminia, Pa.?"
Coach B: "He's only making D-plus in English. We couldn't get him in."
Coach A: "A quick little Irish guard from Corn River Falls, Ind.?"
Coach B: "He dates a blonde with a convertible from Chicago. Northwestern has the inside track."
Coach A: "A 6-foot 10-inch New Oldhaven kid with a fallaway layup shot?"
Coach B: "Come on. He's a good one, but you know we can't use Negroes yet."
Coach A: "Well, I know you're planning on using a 6-foot 4-inch redheaded jump shot from East Apple, N.J. You're doing great with his mother."
Coach B: "Sure. I telephone her about once a week and say, 'Hello, Gloria. How's Billy doing today?' "
Coach A: "I know you do. I've been in the living room twice when you called."
For half an hour the battle of the nameless players continued. Finally Coach A said, "A 6-foot 9-inch ambidextrous Baptist from Alabama?"
Coach B thought and fussed and frowned and thought. Finally his face lit up. "You rat!" he cried. "There isn't a 6-foot 9-inch Baptist from Alabama!"
"You're right!" roared Coach A, and the game was over.
In many ways, 18-year-old Raymond Patterson is much like his brother Floyd. He has the same sad-eyed look, the same slightly apprehensive expression, the same reticence. Like Floyd, he is currently training for a championship bout—in this week's finals of the New York Golden Gloves heavyweight division. Ray Patterson fights from a peekaboo crouch, like Floyd, and he occasionally springs forward with the patented Patterson lunge. He has wide shoulders and solid hips, his legs are perhaps too solid to permit nimbleness and he rolls like a sailor when he walks.
"Floyd handles my training," he says proudly, "when he's not in training himself." Sometimes the brothers spar together. "But Floyd doesn't try to hurt me, he tries to teach me." Would Ray ever get in the ring with Floyd—say, for the world heavyweight title? "I wouldn't fight Floyd serious," he says. "He taught me what I know. I'd be using it against him."
Last week the National Broadcasting Company presented a one-hour television show which may in time win an Emmy award as "the worst 60-minute show utilizing video tape and special effects to be presented in prime evening time and dealing with the subject of sports." Billed as The Bob Hope Buick Show and widely advertised as "starring Bob Hope and the outstanding athletes of 1960," it turned out to be a procession of spoken and photographic clichés. Examples: Hope (to 7-foot 2-inch Wilt Chamberlain): "How's the weather up there?" Navy's Joe Bellino to teenage actress Tuesday Weld: "How would you like to go out to the Coliseum and see a football game?" Hope (interrupting): "There's no football game out there tonight." Bellino: "Don't worry, Bob, we'll think of something."
Aside from this, NBC used film clips of Chamberlain and Jerry Lucas making baskets in which all the activity centered about people waving their hats and hands aloft. It tried to make the viewer believe that Joe Bellino scored three touchdowns against Army in the 1960 game (by using a film segment from the 1959 Army-Navy game). Instead of using Patterson's comeback victory of 1960, it reran his 1959 flogging of incompetent Brian London.
Perhaps the whole show was summed up by Hope himself in his opening monologue in which he said, "This is a sweaty spectacular." But there wasn't enough sweat put into it.
'A GREAT LOSS OF TALENT AND GRACE'
The jet crash near Brussels that took the lives of all members of the U.S. figure skating team was a tragedy at once wildly improbable and starkly appalling. Of it, President Kennedy said: "Our country has sustained a great loss of talent and grace which had brought pleasure to people all over the world." Our regard for the athletes involved was expressed in Barbara Heilman's story on Laurence Owen and her family in our Feb. 13 issue. There is little we can add that would give a better measure of our shock and grief.