THE BLACK MUSLIM HOPE
The hysteria that has seized prizefighting since Cassius Clay came on the scene, shaking the sport's fans between laughter and tears, has reached a critical stage. Clay now acknowledges what he would not admit before he won the heavyweight championship—that he is a member of the Black Muslim cult, a twisted form of Islam that advocates racial separatism. He has abandoned the richly sonorous "Cassius Marcellus" that his parents christened him and signs his autographs "Cassius X Clay," because that is an approximation of Muslim practice. And in a few weeks, inspired by his just-retired Muslim mentor, Malcolm X, who lost face when he applauded the assassination of President Kennedy and had been using Clay in an effort to regain it, he will set forth on what can only be an ill-will tour of Africa and Asia. He may even make a pilgrimage to Mecca.
This tragicomic nonsense has been topped by Floyd Patterson's ill-considered (and rejected) offer to fight Clay for nothing in order to "take the title from the Black Muslim leadership." In its recent history boxing has been refreshingly free of racial prejudice. Gate receipts in theaters around the country seem to have hit a new high when Clay fought Sonny Liston, a pretty fair indication that prizefighting's fans are not too concerned that since Rocky Marciano retired Negroes have dominated the title. Clay's religion, if that is the word for it, is not an issue in the ring and, like his race, never should be.
SWEAT OF THE BROW, INDEED!
If the men of the Internal Revenue Service think, as they say, that a man who tries to pick four winners in four races has not been sweating, they might try it some time. With the arbitrariness that distinguishes tax men from other forms of life, the IRS people have decided that Danny Tuazan and Juan Lopez, the $10-a-day short-order cooks who won the twin double at Gulfstream Park recently, did not earn their $84,114.20 by "the sweat of their brow," and therefore cannot spread their income over several years.
Under the new tax law, athletes, artists, farmers, fishermen, lawyers, small businessmen and others who make it big one year may regard their bonanzas as earned over a period of years, but not horse-players, who rarely make it big any year. Double players, unite and lobby. You have nothing to lose.
After scanning the American League 1964 Red Book, any thinking fan would have to cast his vote for Garry Roggenburk, Minnesota Twin left-hander, as the pitcher with the brightest future of them all.
Last season he won only two games, to be sure, and lost four, but he did have a respectable earned-run average of 2.16. He stands 6 feet 6 inches and he weighs 195 pounds, which is all to the good, too. What has sold us on Roggenburk, though, is that the statistics-packed book says he will not celebrate his 4th birthday until April 16.
FOR BARGAIN HUNTERS
The money is flying like wood shavings as fevered yachtsmen risk $2 million to build, break in and campaign four new and nearly identical 12-meter boats to run for yachting's Holy Grail, the America's Cup (see page 70). Meanwhile, any thrifty sailor who wants effortless, instant cup-defending can buy a ready-made winner in Columbia, the 1958 victor. For only $150,000 (barely enough for the sails and winches) the buyer gets a boat with two masts, four mainsails and 30 headsails. She even has a tender. And all Columbia needs to meet the starting gun is a breath of air.
ANSWER BY SPOOK AND PIE
In recent years few major colleges have cared to schedule football games with the University of Southern Mississippi or Memphis State University. The two independents have been just too tough. There was a time, for instance, when Alabama tried Southern Mississippi. Alabama lost in 1953, again in 1954, tied in 1956 and after a 1957 win decided to retire from this field with honor. Georgia had one turn, lost 14-0, and looked elsewhere. Memphis State rambled through its schedule last season without a loss. Ole Miss managed to come out with a scoreless tie and slightly bruised, but that was as close as anyone got.
As a result of its scheduling problem, Southern Mississippi lost major college status in football a couple of seasons back. It just could not get together with enough major teams. And it was confronted with the same prospect this year.
Pie Vann, Southern Mississippi coach, and Spook Murphy, Memphis coach, put their heads together the other day. They solved it. They decided they would play each other twice next fall.
SCHOOL FOR SALMON
The deep interest the Japanese have in unarmed self-defense—judo and all that—may yet pay off for fishermen. Tens of thousands of hatchery-raised fish are lost each year because they wander innocently into the paths of predators. No one has ever told them that their brother fish are cannibals. Now the Japanese are teaching young salmon just that.
For the past two years physiologists at Tokyo's Hosei University have been teaching young fish the art of self-defense. They use a water tank in which they put a plastic fish of adult size. Around the model they create a weak electric field of about six volts. Fifty-day-old fry are released into the tank, and when they approach the plastic fish they get a shock. Class is repeated for two hours daily until the fry learn to avoid the model fish.
To determine how well the fry have learned their Pavlovian lesson, they and some unschooled fry are dumped into a tank that is divided into two sections separated by metal netting with a mesh fine enough to prevent an adult fish from getting through but big enough to let the fry pass. On the other side of the netting a real live rainbow trout is introduced. Trained fry stay on their own side of the netting. The uneducated cross over and are eaten.
The scientists now plan to enlarge their experimentation to see what will happen in a pond and, eventually, in a river.
ANOTHER RUSSIAN INVENTION
It looked rather like polo and was played pretty much like soccer, this strange game that was introduced on a recent Sunday at the Cercle La Gourmette-St. Maur, a posh Parisian riding club. Imported from the Soviet Union, it is played by four men and four horses to a team, and the object is to have one of the horses kick a 40-pound, 40-inch rubber ball past the other side's goal line. Since the riders are not permitted to touch the ball, the specially trained horses must use their knees, legs and chests to propel it.
The game caught on nicely with a crowd of 600, which included Soviet and U.S. diplomats. Referee Pierre Brouillet, president of the Del Duca Club Hip-pique, predicted "a great future for the sport in France." It is, he said, "as tough as polo on both horses and riders."
As to its Soviet origin, there seems to be some doubt, though Club Gourmette members staged the match largely on the basis of photographs they had seen in a Russian equestrian magazine and have sent to Moscow for an official rule book.
"Canard," snorted Jean de Faucon, president of the Cercle Hippique de Saint-Cloud. "Horseball was invented and codified by a Frenchman at least 25 years ago."
Perhaps, but something very like horseball, called Arizona pushball, was being played by U.S. cavalry units along about World War I (SI, July 25, 1955).
TOO MUCH HEAT
After working 321 innings for the San Francisco Giants last season, which made him the busiest pitcher in both leagues, Juan Marichal put in 60 innings for his home team, Escogido, in the sunny Dominican League. Then, understandably, Marichal felt weary and retired for the rest of the winter.
The Dominican press blasted him and fans hooted when he attended ball games as a spectator.
"Everywhere I went people would call me names," Juan said the other day in the Giants' training camp in Phoenix, Ariz. "One day at the ball park a whole bunch of guys sitting around me threatened they would kill me. My wife and I couldn't get out of there without policemen. There must have been 50 cops to get us out. We were real scared."
Now, says Marichal, he will have to buy a home in San Francisco and live in the U.S. permanently. What clinched the decision was that Escogido finished in second place, and Dominicans believe firmly that the team might have won the pennant if Marichal had completed the season.
THE COMPLEAT CHOOSY ANGLER
Fly fishing and cane-pole fishing are poles apart, so to speak, and in between are many other techniques devised by inventively predaceous man. Yet to be classified is a method that Frank Ligas, research biologist, has thought up. He calls it "selective fishing."
In bathing trunks and sneakers, face mask and snorkel, armed with a short bait-casting rod, Ligas wades into clear water along the shore of Key Largo, Fla. He selects a more or less comfortable submerged rock and sits on it, snorkel projecting above the surface. For long periods he observes with scientific eye the passing parade of fish—until one comes along that he would like to catch. Whereupon Ligas casts a bait in front of the fish. If an undesirable fish should try to steal the bait from Ligas' quarry, he simply reels in fast, waits for the nuisance to go away and tries again. He loves to catch snappers, for instance, but will have nothing to do with a grunt.
The method, says Ligas, gives the angler the delights of snorkeling, fish-watching and rod-and-reel fishing while avoiding the boredom of orthodox saltwater bottom fishing.
THE MODERATE MUSCLEMAN
All over the country the physical fitness drive has millions of weekend athletes toning their muscles and developing their chest expansion, if any. A Royal Canadian Air Force booklet of exercises has sold six million copies.
This is splendid if the fitness fans heed the RCAF warning to take it easy at first and do their developing slowly. Some of them have not and, according to Dr. Charles Goodrich, a New York internist with a research interest in disabilities, have come to regret it.
It is interesting to note that AMF's Ben Hogan Sales Company, which is about to introduce an isometric exercise program for golfers, similarly urges a slow start and postponement of maximum effort until after the first few weeks of the program. And, its instructions urge, "If you are injured, have an organic disorder or are recovering from a recent illness you should visit your physician before training begins."
Granted this moderation in approach, AMF may have a good thing. Equipment, which will sell for $39.95 in pro shops only, includes an Isometer, which measures the amount of tension exerted and registers progress, and a weighted golf club that will give isotonic exercises as well.
This is the era of the specialist and at Permian High School in Odessa, Texas there is a young man who specializes in just about everything.
On a recent routine afternoon Pat Brown spent an hour working with the track team, another 45 minutes slamming them out in the baseball batting cage and then eased off with a final hour of spring football training.
Last year, as a precocious sophomore, Pat Brown ran a leg on the fastest high school sprint relay team in the nation, did 9.8 and 21.2 in the 100-and 220-yard dashes, hit .425 as an outfielder and was unbeaten as a pitcher. Who says you can't win them all?
Ordinarily, there is an easy explanation for excellence in a team—recruiting, very often, or superb coaching, or special facilities. There is no easy explanation for the fact that Peekskill (N.Y.) Military Academy, the country's oldest military prep school, has the best prep-school swimming team in the nation. In the past two years it has lost only one dual meet—and that was against the best freshman team Princeton University ever has put together. PMA's cadets have broken or tied national records 49 times and have placed 12 men in 43 All-America positions while winning 51 out of 60 dual meets since Christian Sparks took over in 1958 as coach and guidance instructor.
Sparks and his team are handicapped by the fact that military and academic requirements limit practice to 90 minutes-a day four days a week. This, compared to the long hours of workouts that most schools require, makes the Peekskill record all the more a mystery. The team now holds 11 national prep-school records. Carl Robie, former PMA student now at Michigan, broke the 200-meter butterfly world record. Steve Rerych, a 6-foot-6 senior from Paterson, N.J., has held 11 national records and recently won his sixth gold medal in the Eastern Interscholastic championships.
The answer may lie in Sparks's methods and preparation. He has introduced a system of isometric exercise, for one thing. For another, he put in a year under Yale's famous Bob Kiphuth, who seems to be pretty good at coaching coaches as well as swimmers.
Hovercraft, a vehicle that travels by hovering above ground or water on a self-generated cushion of air, is now available in Britain. A 14-foot version, complete with lift motor, a 40 hp outboard engine (for propulsion while actually in water) and trailer (for conventional highway towing) costs only $2,700. Union Dynamics Ltd., its maker, says anyone can solo after just a few minutes of instruction. And in uncomplicated, sensible England, no operator's license is necessary. Officially, the thing is an aircraft but Britons know full well it is not—any more than it is an automobile or a boat.
RELATIVITY UPSIDE DOWN
In the New Mexico Lobo, student newspaper of the University of New Mexico, there appeared a classified advertisement this week. It read as follows:
"UNM student has decided skiing too dangerous; selling entire outfit: boots, skis, bindings, poles. Best offer accepted. Money needed for sky-diving kit."
THEY SAID IT
•Casey Stengel, asked if Mexico City's altitude bothered his players after the Mexico City Red Devils beat the Mets 6-4: "Not a bit; we lose at any altitude."
•Jack Montgomery, assistant pro at the Ridgelea Country Club in Fort Worth, asked what he did when he spotted a couple of foxes on the golf course: "I reported them to the house committee—neither was a member."