SOUND AND FURY
Although the WorldBoxing Association changed its name a while back, it has not changed itsnature. Like a turtle and like its predecessor, the National BoxingAssociation, the WBA is always sticking its neck out. then pulling it back atthe first threat. Through its president, Ed Lassman, who once threatened tolift Muhammad Ali's heavyweight title because he did not like the champion'smanners, the WBA now is considering a refusal to recognize the Clay-SonnyListon rematch, signed last week for somewhere, sometime. The WBA does not likerematch clauses in fight contracts, Lassman explained, it does not likeListon's underworld connections and it does not like the idea of a fighter,like Liston, having a piece of a promotion.
The WBA issupremely correct on all three points and utterly incapable of enforcing them.It would be inconsistent with its past performances if it even tried to enforcethem. It has yawped against rematch clauses for years and has recognized allrematches. It knew of Liston's thoroughly publicized underworld connectionslong before he won the title and recognized all his fights.
The WBA willconsider Lassman's three points at its Norfolk, Va. convention later thismonth. It will do about them what it has done in the past. Nothingeffective.
August 9, 1964
THE BLUE MARLINBLUES
The InternationalGame Fish Association, which authenticates all world marine game-fishrod-and-reel records, has for some time been caught up in an ichthyologicaldispute. It began when the association removed the silver marlin from its booksthis year, thus disqualifying what had been world-record catches, including a911-pound marlin taken in Hawaiian waters by Dale Scott of Los Angeles in 1957.There is no such thing, the IGFA ruled, as a silver marlin—a decision reachedlargely through the efforts of ichthyologists like Dr. Donald DeSylva of theUniversity of Miami. "The silver aspect," DeSylva said, "is merelya color phase which some marlin enter when taken from the water."
Ichthyologists arealso convinced that the Atlantic and Pacific blue marlin (and the late silvermarlin) are one and the same fish. They want the IGFA to list them thatway.
If the IGFA doesswitch to a single category for blue marlin:
•There will be onlyfour species of marlin—black, blue, striped and white.
•The world-recordblue marlin may be the pending 1,095-pounder caught off Hawaii this year byJack Whaling of Glendale, Calif.
•Six more marlinrecords will be discarded, among them Gary Stukes' all-tackle 810-pound(Atlantic) blue, caught off Hatteras, N.C. two years ago. If that makes Mr.Stukes sad, think what it will do to Hatterasmen who, in happy tribute toStukes' fish and the 300 or so blue marlin caught off Hatteras to date, havebeen promoting their village as "The Blue Marlin Capital of theWorld."
When the results ofthe first day at the U.S.-U.S.S.R. track meet at Los Angeles reached Moscow,Pravda printed the news in a tiny article on its last page. Soviet radiocarried only fragmentary reports. However, the Ukrainian edition of SovetskiSport remarked dryly that even these disorganized bulletins made it clear that"the events under the blue California sky were not promising anythingpleasant for the Soviet team."
Now the Russianpapers have come around to reviewing the events in Los Angeles in detail. Lastweek the readers of Komsomolskaya Pravda opened up to the headline: A BROKENTRADITION. It set the tone for many Soviet comments. The line is this:
After fivesuccessive victories, Soviet triumphs in the U.S.-U.S.S.R. meets have come tobe expected. But in 1964, for the first time, the U.S.-U.S.S.R. meet was heldin an Olympic year. The Americans concentrated all effort on winning the meet:the Russians are looking ahead to the Olympics. Then there were physicalfactors like the Los Angeles smog. The natives are conditioned to this mixtureof fog and soot "but our athletes were unaccustomed to it." Pravdanoted soberly. "The boys were gasping for breath during the longerraces."
There was soberself-criticism, too, and the Russian papers noted some ungrudging praise forthe winners. Pravda said that neither smog nor accidents clouded "the meritof the American distance men who have achieved great successes in recenttimes." Trud observed that Russian women athletes are growing old, that thegreater experience of the Russian men was not enough to counterbalance theyouth of their opponents.
"But perhaps acertain smugness is an even more serious evil," said Trud, leavingsomething for the U.S. winners to ponder on.
On days when thewind is right—no wind at all, that is—a tiny but dedicated group of Puget Soundferry commuters knows just what to do. They go to the nearest dime store, buy a39¢ kite and catch the 5:05 or 5:45 ferry home. For the 35 minutes it takes theferry to go from Seattle to Bainbridge Island, they fly kites from the stern.Equipment, as a rule, consists of a salmon or surf-casting reel and perhaps1,000 feet of 8-pound test monofilament, though a splinter group of puristsholds to the old hand-held ball of string.
Kite-flying from aferry is not easy. Traveling at 12 knots, the boat creates a low-pressure areaat the stern that makes it difficult to get a kite into the air. A strongheadwind makes it almost impossible.
On July 10,Stuyvesant B. Pell set what everybody believes to be a world record. Aboard theTillikum, on the 5:05 run, he flew a yellow-and-green box kite (30¢ special,Rhodes of Seattle department store). Pell let out 1,000 feet of line from hissurf-casting reel, and the kite, according to unreliable witnesses, went"clear out of sight."
"At anyrate," says John D. Cratty, top kite of the Ferry Kite-Flying Association,"we are claiming that Pell holds the world kite-flying record from thestern of a ferry." He has authorized Stuart A. Robertson, another kitebuff, to study what international rules he can find on kite-flying and draft aset of regulations to apply to ferry kite-flying. Major purpose of theassociation, however, seems to be to insure that losers in "challengematches" buy drinks at the end of the ferry run. Sometimes some of themembers get home higher than a kite.
ONE FOR THEMETS
Another milestonewas reached last week by Masaichi Kaneda, ace left-handed pitcher for theKokutetsu Swallows. He pitched the Swallows to a 2-0 victory over the TaiyoWhales, leaders of Japan's Central League, for his 20th win of the year(against nine losses), which made it the 14th consecutive year in which he haswon 20 or more games. That equals the American record set by Cy Young from 1891to 1904. At 32, he may have another 10 good years ahead of him.
In the opinion ofJim Marshall, once with the New York Mets, now playing first base with theChunichi Dragons, "Kaneda belongs in Casey Stengel's rotation right now. Atleast half the major league clubs could use him as a starter, and hisassortment of curves together with pinpoint control would make him valuable inrelief for all the others."
Think it over,Casey.
No sport, with thepossible exception of golf, has spawned as many books as the sport of boating.Without ever leaving the arid environs of his Kansas penthouse, the vicarioussailorman far from the sea can sample in books the joys of cruising the GowanusCanal in April, learn how to cook a soufflé in the horse latitudes, and masterthe art of mooring a four-masted barkentine in a tide rip. Yet, except for thedurable but too-often revised bible of boating known as Chapman's (i.e.,Piloting, Seamanship and Small-Boat Handling by Charles F. Chapman), there hasup to now been no single adequate, authoritative reference work to which theactive boatman could turn for accurate information on all aspects of hissport.
With thepublication of a book which calls itself The Complete Boating Encyclopedia(Golden Press, $9.95) that lack has been splendidly remedied. Do you know whata rowboat is? The complete encyclopedia will tell you and waste no words aboutit. Do you know what the speed-length ratio is and how to calculate a boat'smaximum hull speed from the length of her effective waterline? The completeencyclopedia, one of the few books of its kind we have seen which trulydeserves its title, will tell you that, too, and tell it clearly.
We have only onesuggestion to offer Editor Morris Weeks Jr. and the impressive corps ofauthorities who helped put this book together: make your next editionwaterproof.
FOR HIS WINNINGWAYS
Everyone remembersBob Beattie—the U.S. Olympic Alpine coach who raised all that fuss over theseedings in Innsbruck, outrageously promised that our men would win some medalsfor the first time and, just when it looked as if Beattie was dead wrong, gotthose medals delivered by Billy Kidd (second) and Jimmy Heuga (third) in theslalom. What was supposed to happen to Beattie in the quiet, nonskiing monthsthat followed was his dismissal as U.S. coach. Too controversial, his criticsinsisted, and too hard on the athletes. But now the U.S. Ski Association hasdecided that it likes winning. Beattie has been renamed coach of the U.S.Alpine program by unanimous vote and for an indefinite period, meaning that hewill coach the 1966 FIS team for sure and probably the 1968 Olympic team aswell.
And what didBeattie do when he was re-appointed? He scheduled a full-scale training campfor Bend, Ore. this month to "find some racers."
"We especiallyneed new girls," said Beattie. "We've got the 32 best girls in thiscountry coming to Bend for 10 days, and we're looking for winners."
Beattie is alsohard at work on promoting what could be the biggest off-year ski event inhistory—a three-way (U.S., Austria, France) meet at Aspen, Colo. next March. Itwould be called the American Internationals, a memorial to Buddy Werner.Beattie already has ABC-TV guaranteeing $25,000 for the meet and is hopeful ofkeeping the French and Austrians around for a series of competitions tofollow—the better to train our racers.
We approve of theU.S. Ski Association approving of a man as dedicated as Bob Beattie.
Most parents becomeaware of the teenage talk swirling around them and translate it into their ownlanguage without thinking too much about it. However, one Bucks County, Pa.matron, mother of three teen-age girls, was thrown into a thoughtful mood theother day when she came upon the odd words of youth confronting her from thewritten page.
The threeinland-type girls were guests on an extended and very active vacation withfriends at Virginia Beach. They were ecstatic about the unaccustomed aquaticsports and games and described them with fervor in their letters home. Onewrote that the beach was a "riot." Another conveyed that the vacation,as a whole, was a "blast." This one concluded a description of afishing trip by saying, "The fishing was sharpness." The third wasdeeply impressed by the sea. "Mother," she wrote, "the ocean isneat."
"I had neverthought of it that way before," said her mother, "but the ocean isneat."
Until just theother day the U.S. Cavalry (forgetting those units that are actually infantryor armored but still called cavalry) consisted of two horses. Now there is one,a genial fellow named Chief, who is 32 years old and devotes himself tomunching pasture grass at Fort Riley, Kans. He had a 25-year-old counterpartnamed Charley, who made himself useful by standing guard duty at the MedicalCenter for Federal Prisoners in Springfield, Mo. But Charley suddenly wasdeclared government surplus, and he seemed odds-on to end his life as the prizeof a horsemeat packer, even though the General Services Administration, puttinghim up for auction, described him attractively as "horse, black,approximately 25 years old, gentle, former U.S. Cavalry horse."
At auction, Charleydrew a bid of $51 from John Montgomery, editor of the Junction City, Kans.Union, who planned to donate him to Fort Riley so that Chief might have acompanion to reminisce with. But Charley went for $101 to Howard Benjamin,Kansas City riding-stable owner. That was a crushing disappointment to anotherbidder—the students at the School of the Ozarks in Point Lookout, Mo. They hadput together pennies, nickels and dimes to the amount of $100.01, and theywanted Charley as a mascot.
They have him now.Benjamin donated the gelding to the school with the stipulation that he appeareach year at the Kansas City Rodeo. In return, Benjamin was promised athree-pound fruitcake baked for him specially by the girls at the School of theOzarks.
It was a bitterending to an otherwise excellent season for Harvard when its fine eight-oarcrew was soundly beaten last month by the Vesper Boat Club of Philadelphia. Therace was the one the Harvards wanted most: the Olympic rowing trials. Harvardmen had been waiting 64 years to see a Crimson eight represent the U.S. at theOlympics.
"Wait till nexttime," an alumnus said to Coach Harry Parker. "Next time, my hat,"said Parker. He picked four of his best men and a cox, put them in a four-oarshell and sent them back to Orchard Beach Lagoon for the NationalChampionships. This time Harvard ran away from Vesper and the rest of the fieldover the 2,000-meter course.
There is, to besure, another 2,000 meters between here and Tokyo but, at the second half ofthe Olympic rowing trials at Orchard Beach on August 26-29, it does not appearthat anyone is going to surpass Parker's better half.
THEY SAID IT
•Norm Van Brocklin, Minnesota Vikings' coach, tellinghis rookies how to gain a place on the team: "Go out and knock down aveteran a few times. You're adults now."
•Harland Svare, coach of the Los Angeles Rams,explaining a course in Positive Thinking being administered to his squad:"It's something designed to help the players narrow the gap between theiroutput and their potential."
•Whitey Ford, Yankees' star southpaw, on throwingspitballs: "When I was a little boy, my mother told me never to put myfingers in my mouth."