LAUREL WREATH FOR ILLINOIS
Governor Otto Kerner of Illinois is a good rider, an excellent bird shot, a pretty good golfer, and in high school he captained the swimming team. He is also a friend of Paul Butler, owner of the vast Oak Brook estate, 17 miles west of Chicago's Loop, on which there are 12 polo fields, two swimming pools, a couple of golf courses, tennis courts, riding trails, archery ranges and so on. Butler's son, Michael, a polo player of some note, approached the governor a year ago with a proposal that flowered this month—the Illinois Panathlon (which is to say, "all-sports competition"), the first major organized effort of any state to back sports.
So extensive was the Panathlon that it might be considered the Illinois Olympics. There were contests in soaring, yachting, quarter-horse racing, cycling, handball, swimming, baseball, harness racing, judo—you name it. Competitors of all ages adhering to all kinds of disciplines—AAU, NCAA, high school rules—were entered.
The Illinois Sports Council, formed to organize the Panathlon, stated its purpose quite simply: "To promote a sports-educational program for the total population of Illinois, thus instructing each individual in how to enjoy his leisure hours in a more wholesome program of activity within his means."
It worked. Despite cloudbursts the Panathlon was a success, so much so that plans are afoot now for a Winter Panathlon. And it cost the State of Illinois not a nickel. The money was raised privately. Other states please copy.
THE SPORTING BOOK
For years public libraries have been lending not just books but phonograph records, films, framed paintings, magazines, prints and the like. Now something new has been added by the libraries of Kentucky. They lend sports equipment. Badminton sets, baseballs and bats, volley balls and horseshoes can be checked out just like books.
Books about sport are being pushed, too, with the idea of encouraging the borrowing of books in other fields. The thought is that if a boy borrows a baseball he might want to read about Mickey Mantle—and then one day he might just want to read.
In the program's first three weeks there was but one loss—a broken bat.
NEW OLD GAME IN TOWN
For generations tennis was as static as it was stuffy. Tournaments were held as feudal rights, as much a club's property as the clubhouse. Gradually, and all but unnoticed, the status quo is changing. The matches now go where the money and interest are.
It all started when tiny Salisbury, Md. took the National Indoors away from New York, and gave the tournament more love and money than it ever had before. Next New York lost the Davis Cup Challenge Round to Cleveland, and before the traditionalists could so much as harrumph Cleveland made a record $260,000.
The boom and the bidding are getting even hotter. In successive weeks this month Dallas gained its first Davis Cup matches and packed 12,000 people for $39,000 into a makeshift stadium, and Cleveland put on its second Wightman Cup matches—this is women's tennis, you understand—and drew 14,600 fans and $50,000. The sound you hear is TV sniffing around the courts.
Now all this tournament-snatching has scared the West Side Tennis Club in Forest Hills, N.Y. Sensibly frightened that it might next lose the National Championships to the hinterlands, Forest Hills has burst forth with public relations and promotion. The result: almost $70,000 in receipts already for next month's tournament.
THE RELUCTANT TUNA
The winner of the Bailey Island Tuna Tournament, Clayton Johnson, reported that there are thousands of tuna in Casco Bay this season, more than he has seen in a lifetime of fishing. Robert York of West Point, Me., who buys and trucks to Boston almost all tuna landed in Maine, said the catch for the season so far is over 150, well ahead of recent years.
That would make it seem that those who wish to fight a giant tuna on rod and reel should head immediately for Casco Bay. But not so. York knows of only one caught on rod and reel in the entire Gulf of Maine this year. That was the 702-pounder landed by Frank Crooks of Newburyport, Mass., largest taken during the tourney. All the rest succumbed to harpoons.
Over recent years, according to Frank J. Mather, associate scientist at the Woods Hole (Mass.) Oceanographic Institution, tuna have shown increasing reluctance to take bait. Animal behaviorists say fish do not have enough intelligence to become educated to the dangers of baited hooks. Perhaps so, but there are anglers who would dispute the behaviorists, especially those who have had the common experience recently of fishing waters teeming with tuna and getting few strikes or none.
SEGREGATION IN MAINE
If Mitch Miller or Skitch Henderson should try to play the Arundel golf course in Kennebunkport, Me., they would not be allowed to. Not by the hair of their chinny-chin-chins. Bearded golfers are outlawed at Arundel.
The ban was instituted a couple of weeks ago by Kenneth R. Raynor, club president and freshman baseball coach at Yale. The policy was designed, according to club officials, "mainly to keep beatniks off the course." So far it has been enforced twice. The first bearded and rejected golfer blew his stack. "What," he demanded, "if Abraham Lincoln wanted to play here?" He ended up playing at the Webhannet in Kennebunk.
At Arundel it is no longer possible to miss a putt by a whisker.
THE FORTUNES OF FAME
It is unusual but not too fantastic for a swimmer to win three events and set a world record all in one meet. Last week at the British Championships in Blackpool, England, Karen Muir, an unknown from South Africa, set a new world record of 1:08.7 in the 110-yard backstroke and won two freestyle races. Karen is only 12, the youngest world record holder in any event in any major sport.
Tiny (105 pounds) and timid (she cried when she won), Karen's greatest triumph came after the record, when her mother telephoned from Kimberley, South Africa. Karen had shown such good judgment in the race, Mother Muir said, that she could throw economy to the winds and spend her entire allowance.
BEACH BUILT ON SAND
The Riviera is poor in sandy beaches. They run mostly to pebbles and foot-stabbing rocks. In the last few years, though, Cannes has spread beige sand over its stones, pink sand has been carted to Antibes, and when the U.S. Sixth Fleet loused up La Napoule's narrow but sandy strand with fuel oil, Rear Admiral Robert Townsend apologetically offered to have his ships fetch clean stuff from Naples.
Now sand is pouring in to the Riviera. It has come from Miami and Haifa, Tangier and Tahiti, by jet plane, train, helicopter, motorboat, the liner France and a Chinese junk. Several months ago Pierre Laporte, shrewd owner of La Siesta, the C√¥te d'Azur's most popular beachclub-nightclub, got the idea of inviting each of the great resort beaches of the world to contribute 1,200 pounds of its finest sand to his club.
Except for Barbados, which snooted Laporte, the beaches of the world responded handsomely. There were difficulties, naturally. The white sand from Tahiti's sister isle of Moorea provoked a visit from an Alpes Maritimes Département health official. A Tahitian had warned the Département anonymously that the "nono," a tiny mosquito, makes its home in Moorea sands. The official took away a sample of sand but found no nonos. A customs bureaucrat at Antibes demanded $80 per shipment, presumably to protect France's domestic sand industry. Instead of being spread and mixed indiscriminately along the La Siesta beach, the various sands were kept segregated and labeled. Monaco's brown sand was found to look and cut like sandpaper. Coney Island sand, specifically requested, arrived with the obscure label "Bay of New York," and no connoisseur can say whether it is the real stuff.
The other day one of La Siesta's habitués inquired: "Where's the sand from my country?" Learning there was none, King Hussein of Jordan went off with the promise: "We have a lot of sand in Jordan and I shall send you five different-colored sands."
In a king-sized package, no doubt.
THE SPRY FELLOW
Proud members of the Miramar Golf Club in Wellington, New Zealand regard it as a world record. Life member Jimmy Drake, 86 years old, has bettered his age in his golf score—not once but 191 times. The Golfer's Handbook records that a South African, one W. Edmonds, has equaled or bettered his age 62 times. Drake has lost count of the times he has equaled his age.
Drake's record was made over a 16-year period. His first attempt was when he was 70. Playing a four-handicap, he went around in 69. At 86, his handicap is only 13 and he is shooting for 200 better-than-age scores.
Back in 1947 the 6th Marquess of Bath originated the stately homes business in England by opening his ancestral estate, Longleat House in Wiltshire, to the public. Since then more than two million paying guests have tramped through the place. Even so, the marquess has been miffed that the Duke of Bedford and Woburn Abbey ("that's a bit of a circus anyway") and Lord Montagu's fine old car museum at Beaulieu ("people only go there to see the garage") out-draw him. He hopes to get a meatier share of the market next Easter with a fresh attraction—50 lions roaming free in his parkland.
When the lions are installed behind a 12-foot-high chain-link fence, visitors will be charged 1¬£ ($2.80) per car to drive through. They will also be charged not to feed the lions, tut tut, or get out of their cars, heaven forfend. In case some should disregard these instructions, wardens will patrol the area with rifles.
Lions are capable of living comfortably in an English park and can withstand the worst of winters if they have shelter and are well fed, but zoologists are nevertheless skeptical about the venture. Although lions roam in groups in. their natural state, say the experts, they are never 50 strong, and the males are just about bound to fight when the breeding season arrives.
Lord Bath, said one expert, is not so much getting a pride of lions as an "ostentation."
STUART ON KOUFAX
Many baseball players on opposing teams will tell you that Sandy Koufax is harder to hit than any other pitcher. His record as the major leagues' first 20-game winner this season suggests as much.
But Dick Stuart, the freethinker who plays a relaxed first base for the Phillies, disagrees. He estimates he has hit seven or eight home runs off Koufax, "including a grand slam in '59"
"Koufax's motion is easy to follow," explained Stuart. "It's very fluid. I like to hit against him. He's more like a right-hander than a left-hander. I mean he isn't herky-jerky like most left-handers. Also, he tries to strike you out—he challenges you—and any pitcher who tries to strike you out has to throw strikes. This is to the hitter's advantage."
What Stuart seemed to be saying, we think, was that Sandy's perfection is his weakness.
THEY SAID IT
•Bob Aspromonte, Houston third baseman, on his recent batting slump: "I've heard of guys going 0 for 15, or 0 for 25, but I was 0 for July."
•Joe Campbell, flamboyant pro golfer, when asked if he is going to stop smoking those foot-long cigars he chomps on while playing: "I'll get rid of them when they bite back."
•Norm Van Brocklin, Minnesota Viking coach, on Gino Marchetti's retirement: "A lot of tackles in the league will be able to hold their coffee cups steadier with Gino gone."
•Ben Hogan, usually taciturn, in ecstatic praise of partner George Knudson's 200-yard hole in one during the second round of the PGA championship: "Nice shot, Bo."