LESSON FROM BOSTON
Several hundred Texas A&M students marched across the basketball court in Austin the other night, after the Texas Longhorns had defeated the Aggies 83-73, and started slugging opposing rooters. The Longhorn band struck up The Star-Spangled Banner, but that didn't help, nor, for the next 20 minutes, did anything else until the public address system sounded an appeal for doctors to treat the injured. Four students required hospital attention. There were cries for strict disciplinary action against the ringleaders (Aggie football players) and the severing of athletic relations between the two schools. A University of Texas student newspaper editorial asserted that "Texas A&M College should be abolished."
In Italy, meanwhile, the nation's highest court was debating whether a soccer fan could be punished for yelling "Kill the umpire" or some such. No man may offend a public official, especially in public, Italian law says, and the court was trying to decide whether a soccer referee is a public official.
In France a very simple solution for unruly crowds was found by the French Basketball Federation. When officials were booed and threatened after Charleville beat Bagnolet 74-73, the federation ordered the home team, Charleville, to play its next four games without any spectators at all.
Better than either the Italian or French approaches, we think, is the way Harvard and Boston College handled some unpleasantness that resulted from their hockey game last week, which Harvard won by a surprising 3-1 score. The Harvard fans misbehaved noisily, and next day Dean John U. Monroe sent his regrets to the Rev. John A. McCarthy, S.J., dean of BC's Schools of Arts and Sciences. Not only that but Harvard's Coach Cooney Weiland complimented the BC team as "outstanding," and Coach John (Snooks) Kelley of BC expressed doubt that any eastern team could have beaten Harvard that night, even though he thought his own team "played very well." The game has for years been one of great rivalry, all right, but Harvard and Boston College are determined that the rivalry will never degenerate into distasteful bitterness.
Britain's Anthony Boyden, owner of the new America's Cup challenger, which will be launched in June, so far has been able to find no suitable trial horse. His offer to charter Gretel was rejected. Gretel would, however, be happy to race the British boat in American or Australian waters. If she won she would assume the right to challenge for the cup, since cup conditions now allow a substitute challenger from the same nation. That would leave it to the New York Yacht Club to decide whether Britain and Australia are the same nation.
THE THINKING MAN'S JOCKEY
No one who watched Beau Purple in his big races last year had any doubt about how he runs his winning races and what has to be done to beat him. Allowed to take the lead and set his own pace, he won the Suburban, the Brooklyn and the Man o' War. When someone went after him early and tenaciously, as in the Monmouth Handicap, the Woodward and the Washington, D.C. International, he was not around at the finish. It was as simple as that, and in last week's Widener no one knew it better than the Kelso team of Owner Mrs. Richard C. duPont, Trainer Carl Hanford and Jockey Milo Valenzuela. At saddling time, therefore, Hanford instructed Valenzuela not to let Beau Purple get away from Kelso.
Through the first quarter Kelso was only a little more than a length behind Beau Purple but, when they turned up the backstretch, Valenzuela saw Bronze Babu move suddenly past him. Then, instead of following instructions, Milo started to think. He thought Bronze Babu would take the run out of Beau Purple, saving Kelso the trouble, and so, to the amazement of everyone, Valenzuela dropped back to fifth place. But Bronze Babu did not duel with the leader, and Beau Purple coasted along in front, covering the half in the slow time of 48 3/5. As the horses turned for home he was three lengths in front. Kelso never could catch up.
Everybody knows how to beat Beau Purple, but who knows how to see to it that jockeys follow instructions?
Of the more than six million golfers in the U.S., perhaps 80 could be considered regulars on the PGA's pro tour. These players are the showcase of the game and have contributed much to its immense popularity throughout the world. But it now looks as if the influential 80 are set on a course that will do the other six million considerable harm.
The Rules of Golf are established periodically by the United States Golf Association and the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of Scotland, working in concert, but in recent years the PGA has altered some of the minor rules to suit itself. The result has been a series of rhubarbs on the pro circuit, on two occasions involving Arnold Palmer, who should know what the real rules are. As a consequence, golfers all over the U.S. are puzzled about what rule to play when.
"Golf as played by amateurs for sport and pros for money is now two different games," Richard S. Tufts, a former USGA president and nonplaying captain of the current Walker Cup team, declared last week. Even as Tufts spoke, the touring pros were strongly considering a major rule deviation: upping the limit of clubs a golfer can carry from 14 to 16. This might permit the pros to lower their scores a fraction—the goal of most of the PGA rule changes. It might also convince the average golfer that he needs a greater variety of clubs, which is good for pro shop receipts. But it would further widen the breach between the pro game and the amateur game. Tufts and the USGA rightfully feel such changes are bad. The showcase must not get too big for the store.
THE PUMPULIA PLATOONS
The amateur spirit has long shone brighter in sports-crazy Finland than in any other country, but even there, it seems, the world trend toward a hypocritical definition of amateurism is about to be honored. The Finnish defense forces have decided to form four special sports platoons within the nation's tiny army. Top athletes will do their eight months of compulsory military training in these platoons and enjoy major mollycoddling the while. Most of their service will be devoted entirely to their specialties. To finance the operation the military is establishing "The Support Fund for Defense Forces Sport," sustained by donations and grants from the state-controlled soccer pools, which distribute their profits to sport, culture and science.
It is hard to hoodwink a Finn, and public reaction has been one of indignation. Kari Suomalainen, the country's leading cartoonist, drew a line of soldiers, including one labeled "Champion Sportsman" wrapped in pumpulia (cotton wool) and another with his back turned to show a placard reading, "I won't take a step without money." Uusi Somi, conservative daily, muttered about "a protected home for the privileged."
Well, at least the Finns understand what they are doing to amateurism.
THE OCCIDENTAL OX
The sleeper among the nation's shotputters may well be John McGrath of Occidental College, a 6-foot-6, 240-pound senior, who could wind up the year second only to New York University's sensational Gary Gubner. Last year he set a new Occidental school record of 57 feet 11 inches, and this year he has already reached 61 feet½ inch in competition. How does McGrath keep in shape during the off season? Well, unlike many shotputters, he doesn't play football. Last fall he was Occidental's cheerleader.
The recent discovery in America that feet can be used for walking as well as for tromping on accelerator pedals must amuse the Dutch, who annually celebrate walking with a grand marching tour of the country roads near Nijmegen. Last July the event attracted 10,000 Hollanders, 1,400 Britons, 600 Swiss, 100 Germans and, yes, nine Americans. Anyone 12 years or older may enter and, indeed, grandmothers of 80 participate. They try to cover a specified distance within, usually, 11 hours. Younger men cover about 34 miles a day, older participants and women about 25. The very young and the very old shoot for 18 miles.
Crowds gather at the roadside to cheer the marchers on, bands play, drinks are served and now and then a spray of cologne from a pretty onlooker refreshes a face flushed with weariness. Red Cross workers dotting the pastoral scene apply bandages to blisters and rub stiff legs.
The event lasts four days, ending with a march of the "gladioli," in which those who have completed their stint are showered with petals, pinned with ribbons and kissed on both cheeks.
The Marines should have it like that.
It is only a year since we chided Joe McKenney, the American League lexicographer, for his parochial guidance to the pronunciation of players' names in the league's Red Book, the priceless publication that tells radio and TV announcers how to say "Yogi Berra." We noted that McKenney's recommended enunciation was founded on a Boston prejudice, or confusion, with respect to the letter r, so that Tracy Stallard comes out Tracy Stalad. We pictured in our minds a Chicago radio announcer going home and trying to explain that to his wife.
Now McKenney has struck back. In the 1963 edition he leads us on by granting us the r in Geiger and Buzhardt (GUY-ger and Buz-HART) but he persists in HAW-len for Horlen, SEE-but for Siebert, and there, once more, is good old FIST-ah for Pfister.
Then, like a glove in our face, he flings us BOY-err, with two rich, ripe r's, instead of the expected uh, as in BOY-uh, and swiftly, in a deep double-reverse of studied insult, he tells us that Zanni is pronounced ZAR-nee.
McKenney is a hard man to beat.
THEY SAID IT
•Ray Putnam, Texas Aggie crosscountry coach, explaining why he left his runners on their own the night before a meet in New Orleans, while other coaches played detective: "I knew the kind of character our kids have, and the training and the high morals. I also knew they didn't have any money, and a drink on Bourbon Street costs $2.35 a pop."
•Jerry Bush, Nebraska basket ball coach, when a photographer asked permission to attach a remote-control camera to the glass backboard: "Go ahead. The way we're playing, it wouldn't make any difference if you put a two-by-four across the top of the basket."
•Dr. Paul Dudley White, heart specialist and advocate of walking as exercise: "A man ought to have a doctor's prescription to be allowed to use a golf cart."