THE PROS HAVE A FRIEND
In recent years bankers have been struggling against an ancient tide, protesting to the world that they are, whatever one may have been taught to think, friendly people, warmhearted and kind. No bank has made a more convincing gesture in this direction than the New England Merchants National Bank (deposits, $400 million), which has just announced that it will sponsor a $10,000 national grass court tennis championship at Long-wood Cricket Club July 9-12, thus giving a boost to a sport that sadly needs one.
The presence of five top professionals—Lew Hoad, Ken Rosewall, Rod Laver, Barry MacKay and Earl Buchholz—has been guaranteed and Jack Kramer, representing the International Professional Tennis Players Association, has promised more. Players like Ashley Cooper, Pancho Segura, Alex Olmedo and Luis Ayala are a possibility, though "appearance money" is not assured anyone.
Neither has it been determined how the purse money will be broken down, but first place probably will reap $3,500. Kramer, hoping that Longwood will become the annual climax to an annual tour, is trying to line up preliminary stops at other sites.
March 2, 1964
"The bank is not in it for profit," President Richard P. Chapman says, "but we're in it for keeps. We wouldn't have agreed if it was to be a one-shot affair. We want an annual tournament, and we want to retain the title—National Grass Courts Championship." He feels that stately Longwood will give "a certain tone" to the professional game, which has lately found its most accustomed home in high school gyms.
As for the prospect of open play between pros and amateurs, the sponsors and Kramer are for it, but first they want to see what happens elsewhere with this well-kicked football.
Track fans who have seen Sprinter Bob Hayes flash over the boards this winter have expressed amazement at his speed, to be sure, but also at his style. Instead of the classic, flowing grace of a Jesse Owens or a Bobby Morrow, Hayes offers the sight of someone who seems to think the wood under him is hot charcoal.
"He wobbles all over the track," a University of Kansas official observed. "He labors hard, with his arms pumping like pistons. And he wins."
The man who developed Hayes at Florida A&M, Pete Griffin, says Bob's jittery style comes from his unusual physique. The sprinter stands 5 feet 11, weighs 189 and has thighs thicker than hams. "He runs wide-legged," Griffin explains, "because of his short, thick muscles and long legs." Thus his feet land some 12 inches apart—a stride four inches wider than the average sprinter's—and, furthermore, he is pigeon-toed.
There are those who believe that if Hayes's style could be modified to the classical ideal, he would become the world's first nine-second performer in the 100-yard dash (he has already done 9.1). Could be, but Griffin, succeeded last year as A&M track coach by Dick Hill so that he could give more time to football, has this reaction:
"Who am I, or Dick Hill, to tell the fastest man in the world to overhaul himself? I was at Ohio State when Jesse Owens ran a 9.4 in high school. He never improved on that, even though he was under the best coaches in college. We could probably smooth Bob out—but at the same time we might slow him down."
DARING YOUNG MAN
In the 100 years of the flying trapeze only 12 performers, all professionals, have been able to do the difficult triple somersault. They are now joined by an amateur, Adrian Catarzi, a senior at Florida State University.
A Spanish major and a member of the school's famous circus troupe, Catarzi is also the scion of a long line of circus folk. He and his "catcher," Larry Camp, a biology major, had previously worked up through one and two somersaults to the very creditable 2½. Then, though circus tradition had held that the "triple" was impossible until Ernie Clarke of the Ringling Brothers shows finally mastered it in 1912, Catarzi and Camp, the latter vitally important because of the split-second timing required, suddenly achieved it one day. They have now perfected it and in May will be flown to Europe, with 33 other students, to perform triple somersaults for a month all over Spain, France, Italy and Greece.
GOLD UPON THE WATERS
Along with nearly 400,000 yachting enthusiasts who crowded into New York's Coliseum this winter to see the annual National Motor Boat Show, we preserve a delightful vision of a shimmering, golden sloop. For there stood a 28-foot Triton brushed from stem to stern, masthead to deck, in gold sheen, its fittings no less than 14-karat gold. The idea was to celebrate the Pearson Corporation's brilliant success with the Triton—500 sold in five years. But even so, underneath hard-nosed company policy there beat a heart of gold. After the show the Pearson people grandly decided to donate their gleaming beauty to the U.S. International Sailing Association. The USISA, a backer of the U.S. Olympic yachting endeavor, accepted the offer and has now put the boat up for bids. Whoever wants to be the first at his pier to skipper a gold-plated sloop can reach for his checkbook. The U.S. Olympic team gets the cash.
CURRY'S BEAU GESTE
In its brief and remarkably successful existence the Peace Corps has won acclaim and gratitude around the world, but perhaps none so heartwarming as has fallen to Corpsman Don Curry in Neiva, Colombia, where, among other things, he has been coaching a basketball team.
Competing in the semifinals of the Colombian championships, Curry's captain lost his temper and bopped an opponent on the head. He was thrown out of the game, but the team went on to win without him. Tournament rules state that an ousted player is out for the entire tournament, but the officials, taking into account that the captain was a key player and the next day's game was for the national championship, decided to be lenient. The captain could play, they informed Curry.
Curry, once a player at Southern Illinois and briefly a Las Vegas casino dealer, is considered a bit odd by his fellows because he loves good music, literature and painting. He established his oddness for all time by declaring that the captain would not play. The captain was permitted to dress for the game but sat it out on the bench as his teammates went on without him to win the national title 57-54.
Never before had Colombians known a coach to put integrity and sportsmanship before a championship and, for his gesture—and the fact that he won against the odds—the wildly cheering crowd hoisted Curry on its shoulders and paraded him about the stadium, singing his praises. By all odds, Corpsman Curry is now the most popular man in Neiva, Colombia.
PUT THE BLAME ON MOM
Appointment of Stan Musial to buck up the physical fitness of American kids stirred Ralph Colson to reissue one of his favorite complaints the other day. Musial doesn't have a chance, says Colson, who is supervisor of physical education, safety and health in Massachusetts' Department of Education. Not in a country where mothers drive their children 300 yards to school or call them in from play to watch TV, so that they may be more easily supervised.
A track buff, Colson took a team to Russia in 1958. Coming from a state that has only five high schools with swimming pools, he saw 2,000 Russian children in an outdoor pool that is heated so that it may be used all year.
"Take stadiums," Colson went on. "The Russians were amazed that we had a multimillion-dollar stadium we use only once a year. [Philadelphia's John F. Kennedy Stadium, which is pretty much limited to the Army-Navy football game.] We build stadiums around the country and then we build fences around them so the kids can't get in to run and jump and play. There are over 80 stadiums for kids right in Moscow, and they're open from early morning until late at night."
And Colson is bemused that delinquents sent to reform school have better athletic facilities "than the good kids," and that children who go out for sport get regular physical examinations, while those who do not compete get fewer if any. "Who needs the physical exam the most?" he asked.
"Musial's a fine fellow," Colson concluded, "but we're never going to catch up with the Russians in physical fitness until we get the mothers interested."
Among the most notably excitable of sports spectators are basketball crowds, and this is especially true of those who follow Espanola (N. Mex.) High. On the night of the game between Espanola and a traditional rival, St. Michael's High School of Santa Fe, Principal Robert MacNeely decided to assist order (and, incidentally, to forestall gate crashers) by restricting entrance to a single door. The door, furthermore, was guarded by two policemen, Rudy Maestas and Al Valdez.
Congestion around the gate was so great that children were kicked, women fainted and men wept. Not only that but the policemen sadly reported at the end of the evening that two watches had disappeared—one worn by Officer Maestas, the other by Officer Valdez.
THE OLD COLLEGE TRY
The only college we know of that makes skiing and horseback riding obligatory requirements for an engineering degree is Cooper Union, the New York City engineering and arts school where Abraham Lincoln delivered one of his more famous addresses. Cooper Union is situated one block from Broadway on New York's slum-crowded lower East Side. Nothing about its Victorian facade suggests an interest in the outdoors, but its interest is, in fact, profound. This winter Cooper's 123 freshmen and two freshwomen have been riding the subway from the college to the farthest, wildest reaches of The Bronx, there to schuss on the city's machine-snowed slopes. They must also show proficiency in horseback riding, ice skating, social dancing and something called "orientation."
In a city of people stacked on people, where most young folks have their closest approach to sports facilities and instruction in a high school gym class, Cooper Union nobly believes that a college has an obligation to offer the experience of sports participation and instruction. So, in their brave quest for such facilities, the Cooperites travel from a Brooklyn riding academy to a grubby West Side YMCA to the 102nd Regiment Armory to the dingy Church of All Nations, which provides a basketball court. The school does not have adequate facilities of its own, and thus is typical of New York, a city in which the shortage of athletic accommodations is both critical and generally unnoticed.
Why does Cooper bother? Because, says J. Clinton Hollinger, professor of health and physical education, "superior mental performance is related to superior physical performance."
THE ISOMETRIC OUCH
The fact that isometric exercises will increase the strength of any given muscle has been long established but their value in some sports is beginning to be questioned. Thus, Frank Broyles, head football coach at Arkansas, and his trainer, Bill Ferrell, have begun to suspect that isometrics might have been responsible for a rash of knee injuries on the team during the past two seasons.
"We're not sure," says Ferrell, "but our theory now is that isometrics constricts the tendons—makes the athlete muscle-bound. It's sort of like weight lifting. Weights can build beautiful bodies but weight lifters get muscle-bound, and about all they're good for [in athletics] is to lift weights."
Ferrell says he is returning to the old practice of running the boys up and down the stadium steps, discarded about the time isometrics came in.
THEY SAID IT
•Elmer Flick, baseball Hall of Famer, on Casey Stengel's suggestion to bring back the spitball: "Stengel says they're throwing the spitter anyway, so we might as well legalize it. That's like saying, 'People are robbing banks, so we ought to legalize bank robbery.' He's all wet about the spitter."
•Rocky Bridges, former major leaguer, on what he thought of Little League baseball: "I think it's all right; it keeps the parents off the streets."