PROS LIKE PROS
The arrival of the professional football season (preseason games have been drawing huge crowds) again brings into focus the extraordinary impact the game has had on America in the last decade. A striking aspect of this phenomenon is the-hold pro football has developed on men at the executive and professional level—the men who run things, who deal with people, who have to attune themselves to constantly changing factors within the supposedly stable world in which they work and operate.
For fairly obvious reasons, these men are fascinated by the pragmatic efficiency evident in pro football, the precision, the attention to detail, the continual appraisal, procurement and training of personnel, the discipline and control wielded by coaches and their assistants, the constant challenge of new ideas and new developments and the reaction to that challenge, the counterchallenge.
These men like pro football because it is a business, beyond the emotions of college football and free of the charges of hypocrisy and overemphasis. They like it because it is a profession, to which its members are almost totally dedicated. And they like it because it is a sport in which greater questions of cause and effect are caught in microcosm and in which the outcome is uncertain until men. in play, have pitted their brains and their bodies against other men.
September 9, 1962
TALK ABOUT ALGERIA
The Houston Colts put on quite a show for early arrivals in Cincinnati's Crosley Field recently. First, Pitcher Hal Woodeshick and Catcher Jim Campbell almost had a fight when Campbell tried to hurry his teammate out of the batting cage. Woodeshick refused to be hurried, saying, "I'm taking my cuts."
"What for?" said Campbell. "You're never around long enough to bat."
Woodeshick went for Campbell and the two had to be separated.
Then Infielder Bob Aspromonte, upset because First Baseman Norm Larker wouldn't let him use one of his bats, threw it the length of the dugout and broke the knob end. Then he pulled all of Larker's bats out of the rack onto the concrete floor. Larker didn't go for Aspromonte—just for Aspromonte's bats, pulling them out of the rack and flinging them to the floor, too. When none broke, he took one and started hitting it against the concrete steps.
"What in hell is going on here?" suddenly roared Manager Harry Craft, and an uneasy peace settled over the Houston Colts.
Washington Pitcher Don Rudolph may be the man to start the trend that saves baseball from itself. Speedy Don beat the Orioles 4-0 last week with a six-hitter that required only one hour and 47 minutes to play.
"That was my seventh game this year under two hours," Rudolph said. "My idea on pitching is to get in the groove and keep going. There's no point in messing around out there, shaking off the catcher, picking up the resin bag, wiping the forehead and all that stuff. That makes no sense to me. Two hours or less is my object."
Rudolph says the average time between his pitches has been timed at six seconds. His speed-up drive certainly hasn't hurt his pitching. He's won eight, lost six for the last-place Senators, has a 3.00 earned run average and earlier in the season, over a four-game stretch, retired 30 men in succession.
Miss Britt Sullivan, long-distance swimmer, recently did 94 miles from Montauk Point, on Long Island, almost to Coney Island. At intervals in this water marathon she consumed three packages of cigarettes and nine bottles of warm beer.
"I use the cigarettes as a sort of incentive while swimming," Miss Sullivan says. "I promise myself another cigarette if I can just go another 200 strokes, then again for another 250 strokes, and so on." The beer, she claims, contains minerals which plain water lacks, and any other beer-drinker would agree.
Miss Sullivan, no Spartan, trains between swims by not going to bed before the late late show, never rising before 10 a.m. and never going near the water. She stands 5 feet 5 inches and weighs 127 pounds. Her fitness program consists of 15 minutes a day of deep sit-ups with a 30-pound weight on her chest.
For cigarette and beer money Miss Sullivan had hoped to win the $10,000 prize in the 50-mile Lake Michigan swim from Chicago to Kenosha. But, alas, she had to give up her quest near the Baha'i Temple in suburban Wilmette. It was a sad blow for her and for lovers of eccentricity.
ONE-MAN PEACE CORPS
Mal Whitfield, twice Olympic champion at 800 meters, is home from Africa for rest and relaxation before returning for his fifth year as a physical education lecturer at the University of Nigeria.
"You can't buy these countries any more," said Whitfield of the African nations. "You must help them develop a belief in the dignity of man."
Whitfield had to learn three native languages to carry out his duties. He found food so poor in Africa that he turned to farming. "I got myself some books on agriculture and started my own garden. Eventually I had 21 varieties of vegetables growing, including carrots as big as your arm. Then I got some baby chicks from Holland, and before you knew it I had 250 laying hens going for me."
Whitfield developed an NCAA-type competitive program among the five Nigerian universities. "I'm trying to get the U.S. State Department to send over more coaches, and I don't mean armchair coaches. I mean high school coaches who will get right down and work with the kids. Sport is the best thing America has left with which to sell good will and democracy."
He was sharply critical of the current fight between the AAU and the NCAA for control of U.S. track and field. "This hasn't left a good taste in the mouth of our foreign friends," he said. "They don't understand how we can have become so confused."
PULL OVER TO THE FEEDER
Man has always wondered how fast birds can fly and has argued endlessly about it. Men have chased birds with cars, flown alongside them in planes, tried to clock them with a stopwatch. Crawford H. Greenewalt, the ornithologist president of E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Co., put a hummingbird in a wind tunnel.
But it took Dr. Wesley E. Lanyon of the American Museum of Natural History, and a friend of his named Orville Dunning, a radar engineer, to settle the age-old arguments. You know those radar things cops use to snare speeders? Well, they used a somewhat similar device and caught birds dragging, so to speak. The champion thus far is a ring-necked duck, which was clocked at 66.1 mph. Second was a black duck (55 mph) and third a quail (44.5 mph). It went down from there through pheasant, coot, wild turkey, herring gull, blue jay, house finch and white-throated sparrow to the black-capped chickadee, which putted along at a sedate 17 mph.
THE INSIDE TRACK
•Bob Cousy, Boston Celtic star who is playing his last season in the NBA before taking over as basketball coach at Boston College, has already recruited himself some of the East's best prospects for his 1963 team. Among them: Washington, D.C. guard John Austin.
•The AAU is sending a 3½-page letter signed by Executive Director Donald Hull to high schools warning them against a "power grab" by the NCAA. Obviously hitting at the NCAA's newly formed federations, the letter says that athletes who participate in open competition not sanctioned by the "recognized governing body" (the AAU) will disqualify themselves from international competition.
•Robert Hayes, America's top sprinter whose 9.2 in the 100-yard dash last winter equaled Frank Budd's world record, hopes for an eventual pro football career, but thus far he's just another halfback on Florida A&M's talent-saturated team. Coach Jake Gaither expects speed as a matter of course. Last year he had three backs who had run the hundred in 9.6 and six who had done 10 flat or better. His top running back this season, Robert Paremore, was clocked at 9.3 in Hayes's 9.2 race.
A FOOTBALL MAJOR
Jerry Rhome, SMU quarterback who led the Southwest Conference in pass completions last year as a sophomore (74 of 179), has quit school. The reason: the ground-conscious offense put in this year by SMU's new coach, Hayden Fry, gives Rhome little chance to develop as a passer. "I've always had hopes of playing pro football," says Jerry, "but my only chance is as a passer. I don't believe I can develop that talent under the new SMU offense." Jerry wants to transfer to another school, sit out his year of ineligibility and then play two more years of college ball before starting business negotiations with the pros.
How does Jerry's father, a high school coach, feel about this? Says Byron Rhome: "That's what college is supposed to do—prepare you for the future."
DISASTER IN JAKARTA
The Fourth Asian Games opened in Jakarta last week and almost immediately headed for disaster. Indonesia had built a 100,000-seat stadium, a modern 14-story hotel and Asia's first six-lane highway, complete with cloverleaf, but it had neglected to learn the basic rules of international sport competition. It went through the motions of inviting all members of the Asian Games Federation, but somehow the entry blanks for Israel got lost and those for Taiwan turned out to be blank sheets of paper. Israel and Taiwan claimed Indonesia had succumbed to political pressure from the Arab nations and Communist China. The International Weight-lifting Federation withdrew its sanction from the games, the International Amateur Athletic Federation did the same, and Japan considered quitting for fear of jeopardizing her 1964 Olympic plans.
A suggestion was made that the competition be divested of its official designation as the Asian Games and that it be simply an international event. The Indonesian trade minister angrily criticized G. D. Sondhi of India, vice-president of the Asian Games Federation and a leader in the move to strip the games of official status, and said that Indonesia should enter into no new trade relations with India until the affair had been settled. The Indian ambassador to Indonesia expressed shock and surprise and reminded the trade minister that Mr. Sondhi was not acting as a political representative of India but as an international sports official.
Sport is sport and politics are politics, and they mix uneasily. If you must mix them, do so warily, with an eye on the consequences. Perhaps it is cynical to point this out, but if the Indonesians had kept politics out of sport the Asian Games might have been a huge success and a political triumph instead of the sorry mess they are.
THEY SAID IT
•Steve McQueen, a racing car buff and star of TV's The Bounty Hunter, after promising not to race sports cars during the filming of his new movie: "I don't know yet if I'm an actor dabbling in racing or a racer dabbling in acting."
•Mickey Wright on why she resents being called the Arnold Palmer of women's professional golf: "Palmer and I don't have a thing in common. I have a classic swing like Gene Littler and Jay Hebert. Palmer's swing is all wrong. He's just lucky he's as strong as an ox."
•Hub Reed of the Cincinnati Royals, commenting that NBA players hope Jerry Lucas winds up in the rival American Basketball League: "It's nothing personal. We wanted him in the other league to keep it going. Then when we get through in this league maybe we could still hook on for a couple of years with a team in the ABL."
•Football Coach Ralph Jordan of Auburn: "They used to have another name for pursuit and gang-tackling. They called it piling on. We may be a year late at Auburn, but we're going to this new hell-for-leather, helmet-bursting, gang-tackling game they're playing here in the Southeastern Conference. Since Bear Bryant came back to Alabama it's the only game that can win."