TEMPEST IN A BOURBON JUG
"Someone told me, when I became president of the University of Kentucky, that only two things would cause me to lose sleep—football and panty raids." Dr. John W. Oswald said that, and last week he was looking forward to his first panty raid. He had already had the football.
After opening the season with three straight victories Kentucky encountered three straight defeats. Coach Charlie Bradshaw accused players of being "selfish" and "egotistical." "We're going to get back in the dirt, look one another in the face and start demanding more of our kids," he said. Instead of the usual light workout on Monday he ordered a heavy-duty session with spectators barred. "The first 10 minutes," the Kentucky Kernel, student newspaper, said, "were reportedly devoted to head-butting drills. One person close to the team said a number of players were bleeding after the first drill." Four players were taken to a hospital.
After some of Bradshaw's rigorous spring training drills a couple of years ago there was a mass exodus of football players from the Kentucky squad. This time the players remained loyal to Bradshaw. Some of them visited Dr. Oswald voluntarily to defend him. And after investigating the situation, Dr. Oswald issued a statement. "I am now assured, based upon the report of the team doctors, that the activities and injuries were not unusual or unduly intense for a scrimmage session," he said.
Then he got a good night's sleep and on Saturday West Virginia upset Kentucky 26-21.
FOILED: THE RAPE OF AINTREE
For many long years Mrs. Mirabel Top-ham, managing director of Aintree, where the Grand National steeplechase has been run 123 times since 1837, has battled and defeated such vigorous opponents as the BBC, the League Against Cruel Sports, the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, the press and London's bookmakers. It has been a running war but for a long time Mrs. Topham, though in her 70s and weighing 190 pounds, showed no signs of running out of breath.
Then one day recently she announced that she would sell Aintree. Not only that, but she would sell it for conversion into a housing development. The Grand National, grandest steeplechase of them all, would be run for the last time in the spring of 1965. It was as if Winston Churchill had denounced the Queen. All Britain, except the League Against Cruel Sports and friends, shuddered and protested. But Mirabel, whose price for the track was $2,520,000, said she could no longer afford to operate it.
The most effective protest was made by Lord Sefton, who held that the sale would breach a covenant arrived at when he sold Aintree to Mrs. Topham in 1949. A London judge expressed doubt that the scruffy old track could not be operated profitably and agreed with Lord Sefton. Mrs. Topham is stuck with Aintree as long as His Lordship lives. He is 65. She is 74.
NEW DEAL AT N.D.
Over the years it has been the custom for basketball teams visiting Notre Dame to devise a whole set of hand signals because the cacophony in the 70-year-old Irish field house makes audibles impossible. The shrieking generally starts 10 minutes before game time and just goes on and on. The effect is very like that of someone playing train-wreck stereos in a clothes closet. Perhaps officials have not been intimidated as much as opponents have suggested, but in one stretch (December 1943-February 1948) the screaming Irish won 38 straight games on the home floor and in recent years have won almost 80% of their games at the friendly field house.
The era is now past. New Coach Johnny Dee has decreed: "We all know that there's something wrong everywhere with the home court advantage in basketball. All the coaches complain, but nobody wants to do anything. Well, I'm going to do something this year because this court at Notre Dame has been one of the worst offenders."
Dee has ordered pennants of all Big Ten schools and all opponents hung around the field house. Visiting coaches will be asked to bring their squads to the campus early enough to have lunch with the Notre Dame team. Key chains, engraved with the date and the name of each opponent, will be presented to visiting players by Notre Dame players.
"And if the crowds don't behave," says Dee, "I'll pull my team off the floor and forfeit the game."
He seems to mean it, too.
THE ILLEGAL EAGLE
When an Indian medicine man needs eagle feathers for a religious ceremony nowadays he does not send out a hunting party to bring down a few birds (it's illegal to kill an eagle). Instead he sends an application to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Albuquerque.
The Service examines eagles for diseases and pesticide residues. Feathers are saved and shipped to Albuquerque from where they are distributed for religious purposes only. Show-biz-type Indians who want the plumage to perform for tourists are screened out. War bonnets are out, too.
There is a shortage of high-priority feathers. Indian medicine men know what they want and they usually specify "those pretty black-and-white tail feathers." But these must be rationed, since they are found only on the immature golden eagle. They turn brown with grayish blotches after the bird's fourth birthday.
The Service also receives requests from palefaces. One came from an enterprising New York feather merchant, who presumably supplies dyed turkey feathers to theatrical costumers. He is not eligible for eagle feathers and did not ask for any; what he wanted was a list of the Service's rejected applicants.
Nominations for the title of No. 1 Football Fan will not close until the season's end, but one would have to rate Eduardo Antonio Erueta high on any list. A 1928 Ohio State University graduate in chemical engineering, Erueta has seen every Ohio State home football game since 1956—which is unusual only because to do so he has had to journey from his home in Barranquilla, Colombia, South America.
Every September, Ereuta takes three months off from operating the family banana plantation near Barranquilla, rents an apartment in Columbus and settles down to a season of dedication to the Buckeyes. His wife came with him one year but got homesick.
In U.S. households, few husbands could get three months off to watch football games. "Remember," says Erueta, "in South America the husband is the boss."
BARON DE COUBERTIN, INDEED!
The record books all say that the first modern Olympic Games were held at Athens in 1896, the inspiration of Baron Pierre de Coubertin. It is a version of history that does not go down well in the pubs of Much Wenlock, Shropshire, England and especially with members of the Wenlock Olympian Society, which has been holding its own games there since 1850. Wenlockians give the credit to the town doctor of that time, William Penny Brookes, "rather a fanatic on physical culture" and dedicated to the ideals of ancient Greece. He converted a local reading club into the Olympian Society, and the first games, held annually ever since, were tilting and foot racing, with Wenlock crosses of gold, silver and bronze awarded to winners.
In 1860 the Greeks put on an industrial conference in Athens, with games as an added attraction. Dr. Brookes sent 10 pounds and a silver medal to the Greek games. In return, King Otto I of Greece sent a gold cup to be competed for in the Wenlock tilting tournaments. In 1880 the Olympian Society sent a resolution to the British and Greek governments proposing an international Olympic festival. Nothing came of it.
Then, in 1890, Baron de Coubertin came to Wenlock to see the games and planted an oak tree on their site. He wrote an article about it in La Revue Athlétique of December 1890, complimenting Dr. Brookes profusely and referring to Dr. Brookes's proposal for a revival of the Greek games on an international scale.
"It was mainly due to Brookes that we have today's international Olympics," says John Corbett, history master of Wenlock County Secondary School.
Dr. Brookes died in 1895, a year before the revival of the Games.
The Wenlock games were held as usual this summer, attracting 6,000. There was tilting, archery, foot racing and bicycle racing. There were also competitions in embroidery, lampshade making and cake baking.
HIM, HER AND THEY
The Texas millionaire's Sears, Roebuck is Neiman-Marcus of Dallas," which each year at this season puts out a catalog it calls its Christmas Book. In the past it has offered His-and-Hers airplanes and His-and-Hers submarines. This year it is His-and-Hers balloons. Price: $6,850 for His and the same for Hers.
From gasoline service stations operated by Fina, one may obtain pink air for your car's tires and Neiman-Marcus suggests that it might be "an utterly delightful idea" for ballooning, while conceding that propane works better.
If you don't want to get as high as a balloon would take you, the store offers His-and-Hers opium beds. These are twin beds of polished rosewood made after a 17th century Chinese design. They come to $1,500.
Our suggestion to Neiman-Marcus for Christmas 1965: His-and-Hersspaceships to send Him and Her into orbit.
ENNUI IN PATAGONIA
Thanks to an engaging landscape painter from Austria who has been fishing in the foothills of the Andes for 28 years, the best of trout fishing in the Argentine interior is no longer inaccessible. Erick Gornik, in cooperation with Manhattan's Sports Travel Center, has opened the door to southern Patagonia, for everything from a "sissy safari—seven days of easy fishing with no heavy wading or walking, comfortable hotel with hot baths" to nine-, 14- and 28-day campout safaris for trophy brook trout, rainbows and landlocked salmon in virgin waters. Gornik even offers a 45-day tropical safari which sacrifices trout and salmon for such exotic fish as dorado, surubi, manguruyu and chafalote. Hunting for jaguar, tapir and wild pig are thrown in. Price for the sissy safari, including round-trip plane fare from Buenos Aires to Esquel, is $539. The tropical trip costs $2,450.
Southern Patagonia may have the finest trout and landlocked-salmon angling in the world. Brook trout average four to seven pounds, may reach to more than 16 pounds. In two days of fishing in March 1962, Gornik and his son took brook trout that weighed 15½, 15 and 14¾ pounds, all three topping the listed world record of 14½ pounds. But, bivouacked in the Andes without telephone or radio, the Gorniks were unable to have the fish weighed in the presence of witnesses.
Gornik worries about "small fish that in some lakes are thick like flies."
"The angler," he says, "must cut the barbs off his hooks to make for more sport, so he is not too bored."
Pity the poor angler who must endure it. "These little pests," says Gornik, "only weigh three or four pounds."
THE CRYSTAL BUBBLE
Each year the Topps Chewing Gum people, who are forever blowing bubbles, give an awards luncheon to announce their Rookie All-Star Team roster. Among those present in the Waldorf-Astoria's Empire Room this year was Ford Frick, baseball commissioner and by no means a rookie. At 69, Frick is about to retire, leaving behind an impression of his reign that is not founded on a record of outspoken opposition to the wishes of baseball club owners.
Who, someone asked Frick, would most likely replace him as commissioner?
"I think," Frick replied, "that it will be a triumvirate composed of the Federal Communications Commission, Allied Van Lines and the chairman of the Judiciary Committee of the Senate."
THEY SAID IT
•Danny Silk, national junior three-meter diving champion, on why he took up the sport: "I wanted to show off."
•Justin Canale, Mississippi State guard on playing brother Whit, Tennessee end: "I'm going to avoid him as much as possible—then pop him good."