RECESSIONAL FOR THE TWIN
The introduction of twin double betting to horse racing was frowned on by all who wish the sport well, but that did not prevent its establishment at tracks about the country. Now, it would appear, some of the tracks are beginning to find that it is by no means to their advantage and would like to get rid of it. Last week David Haber, Suffolk Downs president, announced he had permission from the Massachusetts racing commission to close out twin double wagering. He was congratulated by other New England track operators—at Rockingham, Narragansett and even the greyhound track at Revere, Mass.
The twin double, Haber said, "tends to encourage collusion," by which he meant the possibility of having a race fixed by gamblers, who buy up "live" tickets after the first half of the twin, and jockeys. But, in addition, Haber found that twin double wagering hurts the mutuel handle because too much money is tied up from the fourth through the seventh races.
Haber had considered the introduction of exacta betting on the day's last race. An exacta is a form of quinella in which the bettor must pick the first two horses in the order of their finish. It is a fixture at many dog tracks and, Haber thought, should stay there.
"I've decided," he said, and we applaud, "that racing doesn't need such gimmicks."
When President Kennedy appointed General Douglas MacArthur to mediate the power dispute between the Amateur Athletic Union and the National Collegiate Athletic Association the intervention of government was excused by the fact that the Olympics were upon us and the animosities of sport's officialdom threatened grave injustice both to our athletes and to our national prestige. The understanding, if not the hope, was that after the Olympics the AAU and the NCAA would get together like intelligent adults and solve the problem between them. Instead, there is now a move to invite politicians into the mess again.
On instructions from the NCAA, Texas Southern was forced to withdraw from the Mt. San Antonio College Relays, whereupon Hilmer Lodge, meet director, wired President Johnson and California senators asking for "immediate congressional hearings on this dispute, as neither side apparently will negotiate a settlement." After the meet, from which eight other colleges withdrew under NCAA pressure, six Olympic gold medal winners asked for government action to end the dissension, pointing out that the U.S. team which is to compete in Moscow in July will otherwise be "markedly weakened."
The AAU, on its part, is refusing to assign officials to the Coliseum Relays in Los Angeles on May 14, which would make it the first time that the meet has lacked AAU sanction. Certified AAU watches, important for acceptance of world records, are to be withheld.
Participation in sport is primarily for the young and agile. Its administration, unfortunately, is in the hands of the old and stiff-necked. That it should seem necessary or desirable to appeal to government for a permanent solution to the NCAA-AAU problem is disgraceful. We suggest that neither Congress nor any other federal agency has either jurisdiction or competence in this area.
END OF A TRADITION
The traditional view has been that when summer vacation begins small boys welcome it with shrill cries. Not all boys, a schoolteacher told Lorie Newhouse, vice-president of a Kansas City store for women. For some it is the year's saddest season, especially so for those from neglectful homes. "They think no one cares about them," the teacher said.
Now Newhouse, with the aid of the Kansas City Chamber of Commerce, the Y.M.C.A. and the Welfare Department, has done something about it. He has organized the Heart of America Boys' Sports Clinic which this summer will give fourth-through eighth-grade boys instruction in a wide range of sports, from baseball and football to wrestling and track. Instruction will be of a high order, with such guest lecturers as Hank Stram, coach of the Kansas City Chiefs, Jack Mitchell and Dan Devine, football coaches at Kansas and Missouri, Whitey Herzog, Kansas City Athletics' coach, Hank Bauer, manager of the Baltimore Orioles, and Bobby Richardson, New York Yankees' second baseman. Regular instructors will be coaches from Kansas City high schools.
The charge for two weeks of instruction in his chosen sports will be $30 for each boy, but none will be turned away for lack of the $30. Clarence Kelly, Kansas City police chief, contributed $300, enough for 10 boys, and other gifts have been coming in. The clinic hopes to attract between 1,000 and 1,500 youngsters.
Aim of the clinic will be to teach skills, emphasize physical fitness and, above all, to let the boys know that someone is interested in them.
THE FAR-FLUNG BRITISH WICKET
To American eyes, cricket is a leisurely game. Its players, though, are not necessarily disinclined to act. Consider New York City's Speedbird Cricket Club. It opened the season a couple of weeks ago by flying to Hawaii for a match with the Honolulu Cricket Club. The Speedbirds lost, 287 to 37, in a match that lasted 7½ hours but they were able to catch their plane back to New York in time to be at their desks Monday morning. Next month they will fly to Dallas for a match with the Dallas County Cricket Club and then on to Bermuda for another contest.
What makes the Speedbirds so speedy? They work for British Overseas Airways Corporation.
BOB'S BIG DAY
It was a slow start for Bob Ritchie, a 19-year-old freshman from Lynn, Mass., as he went to bat for Nichols College in the first inning of their game with Bryant College. The bases were loaded. Ritchie struck out. But thereafter it was different:
Second inning—grand slam home run
Third inning—grand slam home run
Fifth inning—walked and scored
Sixth inning—home run, nobody on
Seventh inning—grand slam home run
In Nichols' 26-1 victory Ritchie scored five runs, drove in 13. He also pitched the last inning and struck out two batters.
SOUND MIND, HOME RUN
Acting on the theory that athletes have souls as well as bodies, more than 400 delegates from 38 countries have just attended the International Congress of Psychology of Sport in Rome, where they heard Pope Paul VI advise them that sport, among other things, helps "to make one master of oneself."
More than 250 papers were submitted in the general area of six basic topics—psychodynamics, psychophysiology, psychopathology, school sport, feminine sport, military sport—and observers detected three trends among the participants. Physiologists are branching out from the study of pure muscular and circulatory endurance into motivational research. Psychologists are becoming increasingly interested in sport. And coaches more than ever are applying psychology in their work. Uniting them was the common conviction that the study of athletic performance is not limited to muscle and tissue but must include brain and spirit as well. To develop today's athlete into tomorrow's superathlete involves getting inside him and seeing what makes him tick.
Psychologists reported that the more famous the athlete, the greater his determination to exceed past performances. Some athletes, however, are afflicted with nikephobia, a fear of victory—due, the psychologists say, to unconscious feelings of guilt about being first. Another type of anxiety was that found in a fellow who disdained making friends with competing athletes because it weakened his resolve to beat them. Then there is the "psychology of winning," which results in achievements hitherto considered impossible, like the four-minute mile.
In other words, a couch for every coach.
SPEEDUP IN THE DOME
The Houston Astros have been making a serious effort to reduce the length of games this spring. Manager Luman Harris and General Manager Paul Richards, conducting their own time and motion study, figured they could shorten games by 25 minutes. They cut down on throwing the ball around the infield after every out. Batters step right into the box as soon as the inning begins. Catchers called in from the bullpen to pinch-hit get the word early enough so that the game is not held up until they arrive. No longer do catchers throw the ball to second base before the start of an inning.
Seven of Houston's first 15 games lasted more than three hours.
CON EDSKI VANQUISHED
The endless battles between the outdoors-man and those who would destroy his dwindling supply of lakes and streams in the sometimes spurious name of industrial progress do not always end happily for him. But last week one of them did.
Just as striped bass spawning grounds in the Hudson River are being threatened by a proposed power plant, so the spawning beds of the Volga River sturgeon, and thereby almost the entire world supply of black caviar, have been threatened recently by Soviet plans to build a hydroelectric station near the mouth of the Volga. The station would reduce the spawning area from 1,111 acres to 25.
Anticipating attack, the powermen's public relations man devised a slogan: "One cannot enter communism without power, but will be admitted without black caviar."
Dig they must, they said.
It sounded like great stuff on Madisonskaya Ulitza but it did not work. Into the fray came, of all publications, the U.S.S.R.'s Literary Gazette, with an article signed by eight top authors, some of them biologists. The theme: conserve the sturgeon.
Last week the Literary Gazette reported proudly that the sturgeon was saved. The Central Committee of the Communist Party and the Council of Ministers had vetoed the power plant proposal.
Now if, in this country, one or another of our highbrow literary magazines would only take up the matter of the Hudson's striped bass, it could be a long stride forward. We suggest The Hudson Review.
THE HIGHER THE SLOWER
With the help of University of New Mexico track stars and an old compression chamber he wangled from the Navy, William A. Bynum, a young physical education professor, is conducting tests to find out how Olympic athletes will perform in 7,800-foot Mexico City.
Bynum rounded up a vacuum pump, a compressor, two motor-driven treadmills, pressure gauges and controls. Now he can simulate pressures ranging from the near-vacuum of 100,000 feet to the heavy atmosphere of sea level.
One conclusion, that the athletes do better when they descend to lower altitudes, has been confirmed in the chamber and in the performances of the university track team away from mile-high Albuquerque. They have been winning. They win also when teams come to Albuquerque from lower altitudes.
As an example, Bynum points to Ed Coleman, a distance runner who works out in the pressure chamber three days a week. "Based on his test scores in the chamber, at sea level and at higher altitudes, we predicted he could significantly improve his running time in the Drake Relays at Des Moines," Bynum said. "Knowing this, with the fact that he has been training at simulated altitudes up to 14,000 feet in the chamber, he received additional psychological as well as physiological advantages."
So Coleman ran the two-mile in Des Moines in 9 minutes 9.2 seconds—27 seconds faster than his best time in Albuquerque.
THEY SAID IT
•Jackie Lennon, bartender-boxer, after losing a fight with the oldtime great, Willie Pep: "At least I can always tell people I once fought Willie Pep."
•Chub Feeney, San Francisco Giants' vice-president, on one of the team's stars: "That guy is so dumb he can't take a shower and sing at the same time."
•Joe Notter, who won the 1915 Kentucky Derby on Regret, after traveling to Louisville by airplane: "Regret ran smoother than that contraption."