THE FLAW IN BASKETBALL
In the first half of their NCAA semifinal in Portland, Ore. last weekend, rough, eminently tough Michigan was awarded 17 foul shots to only four for Princeton, a team of vegetarians by comparison. Michigan had not enjoyed such a huge advantage from the foul line in 26 games this season. But in bringing this up we want to make it very clear that officiating is not our target. The point to be made is more basic: a flaw exists in basketball that changes the game, inhibits a team and cheats the fan who pays to sec the best in both teams.
When Princeton's Bill Bradley acquired his third foul in the first half of that taut semifinal, Michigan's victory was practically assured. When he got his fourth, early in the second half, Michigan's victory was assured. Because no matter how great a player is, the specter of being whistled out of play for a fifth personal foul restricts his talents, makes him cautious, sometimes so cautious that he commits foolishly the very foul he is trying to avoid.
We have made the point before (SI, Feb. 15). Basketball becomes a non-game when a star player, or any player, can be banished for his errors, especially when the error is snap-judged by an official in the heat of action. In both games that Princeton played with Michigan this year Bradley fouled out with about five minutes remaining. The examples stand out, because without Bradley the Princeton Tiger is a lamb, and even with him Princeton seldom could beat so powerful a team as Michigan. But the point remains that winning a game should never depend on the removal of the opponent's star player for reasons other than unsportsmanlike conduct.
March 29, 1965
College coaches meeting in Portland last week had a chance to discard the foul-out rule in favor of something more sensible—such as giving the offended team possession of the ball as well as a penalty shot (or shots) when an opposing player draws more than five fouls. They did not act. When they have the chance to reconsider next year, they might look at it this way: the strongest penalty that exists in any other sport is the hockey penalty box, and even that does not eliminate a player permanently or spoil the game.
DOWN WITH PUSH-UPS
The thing to do is to run four miles a day. Push-ups? An exercise in futility. Sit-ups? Chin-ups? Calisthenics? Mundane punishment, at best affording localized results. Run four miles a day, and you can eat anything you want without getting fat.
"When you run, you see, you exercise all over," says Dr. Bruno Balke, prescriber of and subscriber to the four-miles-a-day regimen. Dr. Balke is 58 years old, a professor of physiology and physical education at the University of Wisconsin, president of the American College of Sports Medicine and currently studying the environmental conditions of Mexico City for United States participants in the 1968 Olympics. Dr. Balke eats all he wants, and drinks and smokes sometimes, but contends it is infinitely more difficult to drink martinis or eat french fried potatoes while running. He says drinking martinis can be especially hard on the sedentary man because it leads to other excesses, such as eating peanuts. "The peanuts can be worse than the alcohol," he says. And what about golf? "I may be ready for golf when I'm 70 years old."
STAGG OF YALE
He was so honest he twice was asked to referee games his own teams played in. He considered money an abomination and never had much; once he refused a contract to play baseball for the New York Giants because there were saloons in the parks. At the University of Chicago he pioneered every aspect of modern football from the huddle to the T formation, and when he was 81 and coaching at College of the Pacific he was named Coach of the Year over Notre Dame's Frank Leahy. Words to describe him were teacher, patriarch, humanitarian, beloved citizen, inspiring disciplinarian, Christian and Yale man. Long after he had ceased to be Stagg's assistant, Fritz Crisler snuffed out a cigarette in the palm of his hand when he saw the old man coming.
Two years ago, before his 100th birthday, Amos Alonzo Stagg said he would like to be remembered only "as an honest man." Well, the honest man died the other day, and by a curious coincidence the account of his death knocked headlines on the front page of The New York Times with that of ex-King Farouk of Egypt. Words describing Farouk in the adjacent column were "profligate," "avaricious," "obese" and "glutton." Farouk was dead at 45. When Lon Stagg was twice that he was still mowing his lawn and running laps around the fig trees out back.
THE HEALING WATERS
As the Rio Grande flows south through New Mexico, its water is overused to the point where it becomes too thick to drink and too thin to plow and ofttimes just disappears underground, dead tired. When it gets opposite Sunland Park near El Paso, however, the water is pumped up into a 30-acre infield lake and is worked over again: it serves ornamental and emergency fire-fighting purposes, is used for daily water-skiing shows, and occasional religious groups wade in for mass baptismal rites. Now they are training horses in it.
George Rancich, president of Sunland and a Thoroughbred breeder, saw that horses were being taken for ocean dips at Del Mar, Calif., so he urged trainers to try his lake. In swimming, he reasoned, a horse develops tremendous lung power and uses all the muscles required in a race without pounding delicate hoofs, ankles and tendons. "Furthermore, the high salt content soothes tired legs. The animals will love it."
One of the first to try was Trainer Clayton Tolliver, who had his sprinter Carbolic taken to the water's edge. Carbolic sniffed at it a few times, said Tolliver, then went right in up to his neck. "He loved it." (See? Just like Rancich said.) Tolliver added a conclusion or two of his own: two minutes in the water is worth a two-mile gallop, and swimming provides a "refreshing mental change for the horse." As for practical pari-mutuel application, proof is still wanting. The salt water of the Pacific did not help Silky Sullivan one drop when he stepped onto the track against Calumet's Tim Tam. The Scoundrel, owned by Kjell Qvale, splashed around all last year in a private pool in an effort to strengthen himself for a comeback. Having failed that, The Scoundrel is now at stud in Kentucky, high and dry.
A survey was made here last week on Europe's new breed of super police cars—Porsches, Alfa Romeos, Ferraris—which are supposed to make the highways unsafe for fleeing criminals. We now have the first return on the new breed's capabilities. A few days ago Rome's police Ferrari 3000 gave an English Jaguar a head start out of the city onto the Autostrada del Sole, where they both opened up. At the first toll station the Ferrari got the Jaguar cold. There were extenuating circumstances, however. The Jag was burdened with $160,000 in stolen paintings, and its driver did not have the exact change.
OUT AT HOME
It was on the last day of the moose-hunting season that a middle-aged man from Minnesota, call him Smith, wounded a moose and followed it a mile and a half into the Ontario bush to complete the kill. By then it was too late in the day to haul it back, and when a storm blew in the hunter asked the Department of Lands and Forests for more time to bring the moose out. A week later, Smith rounded up help and with four sleds started for the moose. They spent that night stuck in the snow in weather 54° below zero, but eventually they were able to move the animal out of the bush to the shores of a small lake seven miles from Smith's station wagon.
Bad weather struck again, and for a week bush travel was impossible. When the weather finally cleared, Smith hired a helicopter to lift the moose to the nearest road. Ropes holding it under the copter broke, and the moose fell 150 feet, crashing through the ice of a lake. Smith and his helpers somehow fished the moose out, cut it in two and tied it on top of the car. A butcher cut and wrapped the meat and stacked it in the station wagon. Smith headed home. There at last, he went to unload the meat. It was gone. Stolen.
Japan has only one racing circuit but is the world's leading producer of motorcycles (1.8 million in 1964). Us Hondas, Suzukis and Yamahas have held four out of the six class titles in Grand Prix racing for the past three years, and all together last year they accounted for $95 million worth of motorbikes sold in the U.S., where "you meet the nicest people on a Honda." Nice people back in Japan are completely oriented to motorcycle transport—they got that way scrambling out of the path of careening Hondas in Tokyo—and now Emperor Hirohito has purchased an entire fleet for the use of his Imperial Household Police and guests. A fleet of Hondas? No, papa-san. The new machines are three times the size of the largest Japanese models. They were made in Milwaukee, by Harley-Davidson.
A MEASURE OF FRIENDSHIP
Next to genuine elephant-hair bracelets from Africa ($2), the bargain of the month at Abercrombie & Fitch is Gunmaker Lawrence Salter, "the man from Purdey's." In the best circles shotguns by James Purdey & Sons, Ltd., London, are revered. "It is generally known," Mr. Salter is not ashamed to say, "that we make guns for the royal family."
Mr. Salter measures shooters for their custom Purdeys as expertly as a Savile Row tailor fits a blue-serge pinstripe. He uses a unique try gun with an adjustable stock; when triggered a beam of light is cast on the wall, indicating where an individual is shooting.
Last week Mr. Salter spent considerable time replacing batteries and bulbs as "customers" flocked in to get measured. Each was told to aim at the top of Mr. Salter's finger. "How much rib are you seeing?" he asked. "Well, we shall have to drop it at the face and cast it off a bit. Now come up on that exit sign like you were taking a line on a rising grouse, and pull the triggers. Ah. Fine. See where the light is? You're right on the bird, sir. Now we can build you a Purdey that will fit like a glove."
"Uh huh," the customer said. "Now the cheapest, I mean, the basic Purdey costs about $3,000, right?"
"That's right, sir."
"Well, I'll have to think about it. Say, would you mind letting me jot down my measurements in the meantime?"
Mr. Salter declined to reveal how few guns he had sold. "A prospective customer is, after all, a friend," he said kindly, staring at the back of the last prospect heading for the door with the free measurements clutched in his hand.
FAIR WARNING, MR. QUINN
"They talk about the sophomore jinx," said Richie Allen. "What they really mean is the general manager's jinx. You can get worn down until you don't feel like doing anything. Me, I'd just as soon stay home and ride my horse." The Philadelphia third baseman and Rookie of the Year had just lost a four-month salary dispute with Phillies General Manager John Quinn in which he "succumbed" to Quinn's $20,000 offer, double his 1964 salary. "Quinn said I was getting bad advice," said Allen. "Listen, I haven't had bad advice in 23 years from my family. My mother agreed to terms, not me. If I have another good year I'm not going to take anybody's advice. Rich Allen will make up his own mind and stick with it."
THEY SAID IT
•Sam Snead, on his perennial putting ills: "I shot a wild elephant in Africa 30 yards from me, and it didn't hit the ground until it was right at my feet. I wasn't a bit scared. But a four-foot putt scares me to death."
•Dave Stallworth, Wichita State basketball All-America: "I'll tell you one thing about girls' basketball. It's a lot more fun to watch."
•Rick Reichardt, Los Angeles Angels, $200,000 bonus baby: "I still can't get used to not writing home for money."
•Lamar Hunt, owner of the Kansas City Chiefs, when asked if he would sign his 8-year-old son Lamar Jr. to a Chief contract: "No, I'm hoping he'll be drafted by the Jets."