THE STURDY GRAY LINE
In 15 years of physical aptitude testing, the U.S. Military Academy at West Point has come to certain conclusions, and they do not at all jibe with the old stereotyped belief that brawn and brains are mutually exclusive. The Physical Fitness News Letter, published by H. Harrison Clarke of the University of Oregon, summarizes some recent inferences from physical aptitude tests taken by the 1961-63 cadets ("inferior group" refers to the lowest 7% in physical aptitude, "superior group" to the highest 7%):
"1. Failures to graduate: 48.3% in inferior group; 18.8% in superior group.
"2. Cadet discharges for any reason: 29.8% in inferior group; 11.3% in superior group.
"3. Cadet resignations: 18.5%, in inferior group; 7.5% in superior group.
"4. Leadership ability: 6.6% in inferior group; 40.0% in superior group.
"5. Low aptitude for military service: 19.2% in inferior group; 1.2% in superior group.
"6. Academic failures: 17.2% in inferior group; 8.1% in superior group."
Colonel Frank J. Kobes, director of the academy's physical education program, reported to the American College of Sports Medicine that athletes are significantly more cooperative and good-natured, emotionally mature and realistic, enthusiastic and cheerful, adventurous, masculine, conservative, and willing to work with people.
As splendid a description of a golfer having a good round as we have seen.
STAY AS SWEET AS YOU ARE
The Liston-Clay fight is not an unmixed blessing for the state of Maine, an editorial in the weekly Brunswick (Me.) Record suggested last week. Welcoming "the fight crowd" for just this one bout, it expressed concern "about the idea that Maine may become a more frequent host to such events."
"We don't think the publicity [for this one match] will hurt," the editorial explained, "but making Maine the fight crowd's headquarters for years to come would most certainly not be in the state's interest. The people who come to Maine year after year in ever increasing numbers come to get away from the 'action,' not to find it."
There is precious little danger that Maine will become the prizefight center of the nation but, though we hold the "fight crowd" in higher regard than the Record does, we applaud its view that Maine should not change too drastically. Let it remain as nature graced it, a haven for the fisherman, the hunter, the sailor and the lover of lobster and blueberry pie. Lox, cheesecake and "action" we can always get at Lindy's.
MOTHER KNOWS BEST
During the past eight years Auburn University has led the nation three times in football defense. All those defenses have been coached by Hal Herring, the old Cleveland Browns linebacker. Well, a man spends 12 years building a reputation, and overnight a wife—blonde, 5 feet 5, five children—displaces him as the No. 1 coach on Forrest Dale Drive.
It began a year ago last summer. Tony, the Herrings' oldest son, then 15, became interested in pole vaulting. He did not know how to hold his pole, but his mother read up on the subject and advised him. She also went snooping around the university equipment room and came home with a used fiber-glass pole. And she helped dig a pit in the backyard and filled it with sawdust.
Tony could get no higher than 9 feet, so his mother called in a consultant, Wilbur Hutsell, professor emeritus after 42 years (and several Olympics) as track coach. "Virginia, he's got the technique down fine," Hutsell said, "except he takes off on the wrong foot. Now, that's not fatal. The Big Ten champion one year was a wrong-footer. You might as well forget changing him."
One week later Mrs. Herring had Tony leaving quite properly off his left foot. This spring Tony set a new Border Conference record for Auburn High with a vault of 12 feet 4 inches. He finished second in the state Class AAA meet.
The week before the meet the telephone rang and Herring answered. It was a high school coach. Hal asked what he could do for him.
"Sorry, Hal," the caller said. "I wasn't calling you. Could I speak to Virginia? It's just that I'm having trouble with my pole vaulter."
THE NEW BOWLING IMAGE
Bowlers, like baseball pitchers and golfers, have their little quirks—mannerisms and gestures that relieve tension and, they think, help their game. For Clarice Esrig, a 5-foot freshman coed at the University of Minnesota, the thing to do while bowling is to read a good book.
Competing in the St. Paul Women's Summer League last week, she rolled a 300 game and a 704 series while reading War and Peace between frames. Knocked off 30 pages, she reported afterward.
Time and Again is an unraced 2-year-old brown Thoroughbred stabled at Hollywood Park. Recently Trainer Joe Russo has come to have high hopes for him.
Hitherto he had been a nervous horse, a stall walker and difficult to manage. Russo got tired of being bounced around each time he went into the colt's stall.
"I decided that I had to have something to keep him busy," Russo said. "So I thought of a tether ball that kids enjoy so much on the playground." A nail was driven into the ceiling and a tether ball suspended on a rope so that the ball was at the height of Time and Again's nose.
The once-new ball now shows the evidence of Time and Again's interest. It is tooth-marked, it is scarred from being bounced off the door and it is gouged from being driven against pegs.
"His favorite stunt," says Russo, "is to hit it with his nose, roll it down across his shoulder and then flip it to one side or the other of the stall."
Time and Again is now a model Thoroughbred.
"He's easier to handle, not nervous, has quit walking his stall and is training well," Russo reported.
THE UMPIRE'S REVENGE
The fellow is out of baseball now and does not want his name used. A few years ago he was an umpire in a very minor league. It was not a happy life. Umpires must not fraternize with players off the field, and on the field they must take a lot of abuse. Loneliness and maltreatment are their lot.
He was having a particularly hard time handling a series in a small town. The visiting team's manager was arguing on virtually every call and making umpiring even more uncomfortable than usual.
There was but one good restaurant in the town, and when the umpire went there to dine he was turned away, perhaps because the kitchen really was closed, perhaps because the proprietor was a disgruntled fan. On the next night he was turned away again.
The umpire seethed through the night. Next day he made two telephone calls. First he called the restaurant and said he was the visiting manager and would bring his entire squad to the restaurant after the game. Then he called the visiting manager and said he was the restaurant proprietor and wanted the whole team to be his guests that night—all they could eat for a dollar a man.
All a baseball team can eat is considerable. Next week all around the league our umpire heard stories about how a visiting team smashed up the restaurant when presented with a huge check and how the visiting manager went to jail for slugging the ma√Ætre d'.
With good reason, football experts have been predicting that next fall's competition in the Big Eight Conference will be the toughest in the organization's history. Now comes another harbinger.
With his spring practice not even over yet, Jack Mitchell, coach at Kansas since 1958, has just pulled off a monumental hedge. Within a 10-day span he joined with several fellow citizens of Lawrence, Kans. to apply for a state bank charter, assumed a place on the board of directors of a newly formed insurance company and, to cap it all, along with his wife and father-in-law he bought the Wellington (Kans.) Daily News, of which he will become publisher July 1.
Mitchell will continue at Kansas, he says, adding, "but I have to start thinking about what I'll do when I leave coaching."
Under the circumstances, that is good thinking.
ABSURD AND SENSELESS
The use of whips in horse racing, the Humane Society of the U.S., New Jersey branch, was told recently, is "absurd, senseless and cruel." John W. Patten, author of some books on racing, made the statement. A horse in second place, he said, will usually refuse to advance if he sees that the horse in front is being whipped.
Which is a pretty good reason for whipping, if you are the leading jockey and do not wish to be passed. The fact is, though, that good jockeys do not hurt a horse and do not need to. The whip is about 24 thin inches long, with a small leather popper, shaped like a tiny home plate, on the end. About three inches up from the popper are what race riders call feathers—tiny strips of leather that act as a cushion. The popper, applied rhythmically to a horse's flanks, stings him and scares him much more than it hurts.
"I used to ride a horse called Double-dogdare," said Steve Brooks, who has been whipping mounts under the wire for 27 years. "Without a stick, she'd go three-eighths of a mile in 37 or 38 seconds. But as long as I slapped her on the neck and let her know I had the whip, she'd go the same distance in 34."
Patten used to cry out against the use of the whip in harness racing, too, but in harness racing the driver scarcely ever touches the horse. He will whack at the sulky shafts to keep the animal alert, or occasionally slap the saddle cloth. To hit even the best-gaited harness horse would very likely send him off stride.
A rider who raises welts on a horse is likely to be whipped himself, by the horse's trainer.
WORD FROM AN EXPERT
The efficacy of the standard automobile seat belt in reducing both the number and severity of injuries in auto accidents has been claimed both on the basis of statistics and experimentation, but Stirling Moss, who has had more than his share of accidents, believes the lap belt should be banned. "I would rather drive a car in a pool of gasoline than use a lap strap," the former racing-car driver said during a visit to Canada.
The lap straps help a little, he conceded, but continued:
"I've seen gruesome crash scenes of drivers whose upper bodies were seriously injured because they wore lap belts. It's the top part of your body, where the [movable] weight is, that you want to check."
The answer, he said, is to go to diagonal belts across the chest. They are widely used in Sweden, he added, and their manufacturing cost is only about 15¢ more than for lap belts.
It is certainly possible to be hurt while wearing a lap belt. But you are not likely to be thrown through door or windshield, or to ricochet around inside the car to be speared on door handles. Another answer: wear the shoulder harness if you can find it, but in any case drive as if you had no protection whatever.
The city of Albuquerque was named and misspelled, in 1706, for the Duke of Alburquerque and so, naturally, its baseball team was named the Dukes in 1942. But last winter, after 22 years as Dukes, the team was renamed the Dodgers by its parent club, the Los Angeles Dodgers. Some Albuquerque fans protested, but nothing availed.
Headline writers, confronted with the problem of having to label two stories, one about the Albuquerque Dodgers and the other about the Los Angeles Dodgers, were understandably confused and indignant. But the problem has been solved. On such occasions the old Dukes are referred to as the Junior Bums.
THEY SAID IT
•Gene Autry, Los Angeles Angels' owner, on the Dodger president: "There's nothing in the world I wouldn't do for Walter O'Malley. There's nothing he wouldn't do for me. That's the way it is. We go through life doing nothing for each other."
•Lamar Hunt, Kansas City Chiefs' owner, on his new, luxurious offices: "We gave the interior decorator an unlimited budget and he exceeded it."