Representatives of the NCAA and assorted sports federations opposed to AAU control met last week in Chicago and, though they pretty much agreed that development of track and field, gymnastics, basketball and other sports would best be served by separate autonomous organizations, they decided to wait a while before acting on their belief.
Two reasons lay behind the postponement, though other reasons were given. The U.S. meets the Soviet Union in a dual track meet at Palo Alto this year and a struggle for power between the AAU and the rest of the track world could result in a weakened U.S. team. Not only that but Stanford University, sponsoring the meet, is on the hook to the USSR for a $100,000 guarantee.
NO HELP WANTED
A wistful Rocky Marciano said last week that if a federal boxing commissioner should be appointed he would like the job. His first act, Rocky said, would be to appoint "a board of boxing composed of ex-champions." Sorry—but what prizefighting needs least of all is control by prizefighting people. The sport's degradation has occurred because boxing people lack the moral fiber to maintain its integrity. What boxing needs is a tough and knowing head cop.
It is not, however, likely to get one very soon. In spite of Senator Estes Kefauver's fine exposition of boxing's underworld control, the corrective bill prepared by his Senate committee on antitrust and monopoly has little chance of passage. The Justice Department and Attorney General Bob Kennedy do not want a boxing commissioner in the Justice Department, since this would give it the aspect of a regulatory agency, quite a departure from its function as a law-enforcing agency. All other agencies of this nature, Kennedy points out, are set up specially—the Federal Trade Commission, the Interstate Commerce Commission, the Atomic Energy Commission, and so on.
If a federal boxing commission were to be established, it would offer very slight employment opportunities for old, retired boxers.
UP AND OVER FOR FIBER GLASS
You can take it from Harold Abrahams, technical committee chairman of the International Amateur Athletics Federation, that the IAAF will not ban fiberglass vaulting poles outdoors. In his cluttered, hectic London office, Abrahams, 100 meters gold medalist in the 1924 Olympics, explained last week that "the fiber-glass pole is not so different in fact, only in degree," and is not inherently better than steel, since "a steel pole could in principle be made at least equally flexible and probably more so." The fiberglass pole is just easier to construct to vaulting specifications, it would seem. In the light of this information, legislation against the fiber-glass pole would be farcical. "Honestly," Abrahams said, "I don't think there will be any change."
MAMA ROE'S FULFILLMENT
During the school hockey season now ending, the feats of the four Roe brothers of St. Paul made history. John Roe captained his Williams College hockey team to its best season ever (16-3-1), and in the Williams forward line his younger brother Tom, with 82 points, ranked high among collegiate scorers.
Meanwhile, back in St. Paul, Bill Roe, a senior at St. Paul Academy, broke Tom's league scoring record with 45 points, and the youngest Roe brother, Jimmy, became the second sophomore to win a letter on the academy team, which took its second straight private school tournament championship.
None of the boys' hockey skills derive from their father, who has never played the game. They derive, instead, from the distaff side. In the mid-'30s Mrs. Roe, who had been raised on a Minnesota lake, struck out for Carleton College with her hockey stick and skates packed as carefully as her prom gowns. She even managed to play in several freshman practice sessions until she decided that ladylike decorum was not being served by her presence on the squad. It was a sad day then for Mrs. Roe but now things seem to have turned out rather well.
OUT OF THE FRYING PAN
What it is in the dark depths of the human soul that drives men to become baseball umpires has yet to be disclosed on any analyst's couch. Now comes Air Force Sergeant John P. (Pete) L'Angelle with a possible clue. Sergeant L'Angelle, stationed at Stead Air Force Base north of Reno, is attached to the Air Force's survival training and helicopter school. He is a veteran of the Chinese and African campaigns of World War II, in which he flew 57 missions as a B-25 crew member. And during this career he lived dangerously between missions—as umpire in many an Air Force baseball game.
"Once when I was umpiring a game at a base in Europe," he recalled the other day, "I threw a full-bird colonel out of a game. He was a coach and had been getting pretty nasty. Of course, he got me thrown off the base, but it was worth it." There you have it. Umpires are men who like to make dangerous decisions. If you doubt it, consider this: Sergeant L'Angelle, retiring after 20 years in the Air Force, will go to work in the Class C California Baseball League as an umpire.
CHOICE OF THE PROS
For the second year in a row Wilt Chamberlain has failed to make the All-Star professional basketball team, selection of which is made by the players of the National Basketball Association themselves. Despite the Stilt's high scoring throughout the season and his recent record of 100 points for the Philadelphia Warriors in a single game, the players preferred that their pivotman be Bill Russell of the Boston Celtics.
Fans might have voted otherwise but the pros knew what they were doing. As they saw it, the less sensational Russell is a team player, superb on defense and highly skilled at setting up scoring situations for other players. He makes his own share of points, too, of course. Chamberlain's abilities, if not his inclinations, make him an individualist. His scoring record could not have been made if he had not constantly been fed the ball by teammates. As the pros well know, basketball is a team game.
Or, to quote Bob Cousy (see page 20): "The Celtics could win the championship without me, or without anybody else on the team, but not without Russell."
THE INSIDE TRACK
•Because Tennis Star Dennis Ralston will undergo surgery for removal of bone chips in his knee and will be out of action for six weeks, the USC junior may not be available for competition until the NCAA tourney in June.
•Phil Woolpert, who guided the University of San Francisco to consecutive NCAA basketball titles in 1955 and 1956, will return to college coach ing next year as head coach and athletic director at the University of San Diego.
•Oakland has petitioned American League President Joe Cronin for a franchise. All the AL teams but the Yankees lost money on heavy travel expenses to Los Angeles last season, making two West Coast entries a financial necessity.
•Atlantic Coast Conference baseball teams will employ seven radical, game-speeding rule changes in first-round conference games this spring—part of a campaign to have college baseball included in the Olympic program.
•Two Southwest Conference basketball officials will be barred from athletics even if authorities now investigating fixing of games by officials are unable to get enough evidence to convict them in court.
DIP THE WHITE AND ROYAL BLUE
Recorders of American Thoroughbred racing history often have been too lenient in bestowing the awesome title of First Lady of the American Turf. One recipient who was not miscast was Isabel Dodge Sloane, owner of Brookmeade Stable, who died last week in Palm Beach. Mrs. Sloane, an heiress of the Dodge automakers, had an energetic passion for gracious living. She entertained one house party after another, most of them made up of tireless bridge players, in Palm Beach, Long Island and Saratoga. Although she never forced her tastes on her guests, anyone at a loss for something to do in the afternoon had only to follow his hostess in one direction: to the races.
There, since she acquired her first horse in 1924, Isabel Sloane sat through as many bad seasons as good ones, always rooting ardently for her silks of white and royal blue crossed sashes and never complaining when she lost. Her Brookmeade stable won $8,940,679 between 1925 and 1962, and horses bred by her earned $10,562,159 between 1935 and 1961. She won the Kentucky Derby with Cavalcade in 1934. She had a potential champion in Sailor and genuine champions in Sword Dancer and Bowl of Flowers.
Of many fine things we will remember about Mrs. Sloane the two best are her iron loyalty to Brookmeade employees and her firm adherence to the best sporting principles. A few years ago, when her longtime trainer, Preston Burch, retired to manage Brookmeade's Upperville, Va. farm, Isabel Sloane passed over many an experienced trainer to take on Preston's inexperienced son, Elliott. Less than six months later Elliott Burch saddled his first horse (Oligarchy) in a $100,000 stakes (the Widener) and won it for the boss lady.
The next year Sword Dancer lost the Derby by a nose to Tomy Lee, and Brookmeade's jockey, Bill Boland, put in the first claim of foul in Derby history since 1880. Said Owner Sloane to Trainer Burch as all of Churchill Downs went into a roaring, puzzled frenzy, "Who is claiming foul? Certainly I'm not. And besides I wouldn't want to win the Kentucky Derby on a foul." The claim was disallowed, relieving Mrs. Sloane of what might have been an embarrassing victory. Racing will miss its real "first lady."
PURSUIT IN THE SNOW
Moviemakers have always been fascinated by the idea of a chase on skis: plumes of snow flying out behind as a skillful skier hero whirls over the mountains just ahead of his villainous pursuers. In 1932 Hannes Schneider, the great old Austrian skimeister, made a film with this theme called Der Weisse Rausch. Some years later an American, Warren Miller, did another one called Ski Crazy, starring a U.S. racer named Darrell Robison. Last week the fiction became a reality. Somebody really did chase a skier.
The pursuer was a process server in the employ of Mrs. Jane Swope Brandt of New York, a woman determined to extract some alimony from her ex-husband, Robert Lee Brandt. Brandt was off skiing at Catamount, a Berkshire resort on the New York-Massachusetts line. The process server, undismayed, pursued him through the snow and hit him with a summons.
But now Mr. Brandt's lawyer contends that Mr. Brandt had wedelned or rotated or snowplowed or whatever across the New York line into Massachusetts before the server (who could legally function only in New York State) caught up with him. We're awfully glad we aren't the judge in this one. Any positive proof, like tracks, must be rapidly melting.
BACK IN THE SWIM
Yale's Payne Whitney Gymnasium has long been known as a Grade A finishing school through whose portals passed some of the finest swimmers in the world. For the last decade, however, as bigger universities jumped into the water, Yale's swimming reputation has been sinking. It reached a distressing low a fortnight ago when the varsity lost a dual meet to Harvard. Then in the first event of the final dual meet of the season last week the scoreboard over the Yale pool flashed "Yale 0, Visitors 7." But even though the varsity seemed headed for another licking, the undergraduates packing the galleries were noisy and joyful. Reason: the "visitors" in this final meet were the Yale freshmen—one of the best freshman teams in Yale history.
The freshmen won six of the 11 events, bettering six NCAA freshman records. As they used to say in Brooklyn (not Brookline), wait till next year.
THEY SAID IT
•Former Los Angeles Ram Dick Hoerner on plight of the NFL's tailenders: "Three out of every five players want to be traded."
•San Francisco Giant Coach Wes Westrum discussing baseball as the fan sees it: "It's like church. Many attend but few understand."