THE PORTABLE PULPIT
Muhammad Cassius Clay Ali, the wandering walloper, is off again, this time to Frankfurt, where he is to fight that world-famous German heavy, Karl Whatshisname. Since his status as a potential soldier is still in a sort of legal limbo, Ali left the Kentucky State Appeals Board with a new reason why he should not be drafted. "I have," he told them conscientiously, "been ministering around the country."
Ali made this latest legal feint at a special 3½-hour hearing on the matter in Louisville. Actually, he has been a Muslim minister for two years, Ali said, taking out two hours a day for training. This role was never publicized, he said, but Mr. (Hayden) Covington, his new attorney, noticed it. The board then gave Ali permission to leave the country and retired to ponder the appeal.
The hearing "set me back mentally and makes it harder to train," said Ali immediately after it concluded. Still he would like to fight in two-month cycles—say, Cleveland Williams November 10 in the Houston Astrodome and WBA champion Ernie Terrell, if Terrell is not too old by that time, about January 10. And with that Ali went weakly to a nearby restaurant, where he ministered to a cheese sandwich, steak, lima beans, a salad, lemonade, a pudding and a piece of butterscotch meringue pie.
September 4, 1966
THE DEADLY GRASS
The tragedy started as just another small summer horse show at the Acredale Ring in College Park, Md. The riders were mainly home-town amateurs, and some of them, while waiting for their classes on the hot Sunday afternoon, let their horses graze. Then suddenly, in the middle of one class, Gaines Tyler's palomino mare Brandy dropped dead in the ring. Within minutes other horses were stricken, and the toll by last weekend was 13 dead. The loss was incalculable, from family pets to $5,000 show horses.
Cause was quickly traced: the grass around the ring had been sprayed with a powerful weed killer containing arsenic. Labels on the containers had clearly warned: "Keep livestock and domestic animals off treated area." But somehow nobody had been informed about the spraying.
Distraught owners blamed the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission; commissioners blamed the manufacturer of the spray, and the manufacturer blamed the grounds keepers—just the sort of foolish, extra-legal round robin that occurs in such cases.
Little good can come now from trying to pin the blame. The grounds should not have been sprayed just before a show. Or, if sprayed, they should have been posted. Either way, the tragedy of College Park, against the background of increasing use of chemicals, will serve as a grim warning for the future.
HOW TO COOK A HALFBACK
For years it went this way: 1) Kent State University would issue its annual football brochure, and 2) sportswriters would promptly throw it away and then call with questions on material already covered in the booklet. "I have felt for years," Sports Information Director Paul Schlemmer said sadly, "they weren't reading it." This year Schlemmer, who has a deserved reputation as a gourmet cook, devised an attention-getting device.
In the middle of the 1966 book—in with the team pictures, lineups and statistics—are five special pages. Predictions on games to come? Secret plays? Nope. Just recipes for Schlemmer's own specialties—pork balls with fruited noodles, Hawaiian bologna buns and chicken Saigon.
THE RPM RUNNERS
First take a car. Then hook this handlebar device on the back bumper, let someone hang onto it and take off around the track—one driving and the other running for dear life. The result: a better runner, a trackman whose swinging, clean strides will beat everybody for miles around.
The thing works at Bangor (Pa.) Area High School, where it is lopping seconds off everything from the 100-yard dash through the 880, and where the school's runners won 31 of 32 events last season. In fact the Pacer—called a "speed improvement device" by Track Coach Charles M. Sandwick Jr.—has been working such training wonders that one college has bought its own and several others are looking it over.
Understand, the Pacer does not teach runners, Sandwick insists. Rather, it forces trackmen to run straighter, it stretches leg muscles and lengthens strides by as much as six inches. The trick is in driving the car properly—one-half second faster than the runner's best recorded 50-yard-dash time.
Retired Insurance Salesman Mark Shuttleworth invented and patented the Pacer, then sold Sandwick on it. Small wonder, since one runner tried it and cut his time from 11.2 seconds for the 100 to an average of 10.4 and hit 9.9 in an AAU meet. Others did as well.
The Pacer psychology is that runners get to feeling they can beat the car. Nobody has, so far. But if they ever do, Sandwick can always put that handlebar up front.
THE TROTTING INQUIRY
On the eve of its most important event of the year, The Hambletonian, trotting last week was out of the sports sections and onto the front pages with allegations of race-fixing. Brooklyn District Attorney Aaron Koota subpoenaed 26 drivers, 27 men identified as gamblers and the race secretaries of three major New York tracks for a grand-jury investigation.
Whether the facts justified the banner headlines that the subpoenas produced may not be known for months. Trotting fans turned up in normal numbers at Yonkers, bet as usual and seemed unaffected by the news: the usual percentage of losers hollered "fix," the winners congratulated themselves on their brilliant choices.
We hope the D.A. catches his man, or men, if there has been some fixing. And we hope the innocents who have been summoned merely as expert witnesses will be cleared with as much publicity as that which attended their subpoenas.
Conceptionwise, it had to be a major breakthrough in game protection. Deputy Game Protector Ronald Hunter had the chore of counting the deer herd in Washington County, Pa. Hunter is also a parachutist. So why not combine business with pleasure and count deer while floating to earth from 3,400 feet? Because Hunter didn't sec a single deer on the way down and broke his ankle in two places when he landed.
FIGHT FOR FUNDS (CONT.)
We return you now to Oakland, Calif., where the struggle to save interscholastic sports is nearing the crucial play. It is roughly third down and several civic yards to go.
Oakland is that perplexing city opposite San Francisco—in more ways than one. Last June, Oakland voted down a special bond issue that would have financed extracurricular school activities; not just sports, but also such things as drama and band (SI, June 27 et seq.). Facing the prospect of several hundred kids idling in the streets—a situation made more volatile by a smoldering racial problem—the Oakland Jaycees went to work to raise the money themselves.
It has been a desperate campaign. By last week the Jaycees had collected $6,300 and had several lively promotions planned to get more. Long-range goal is $104,800 for sports in six high schools, but the immediate need is $15,000 to get football going first. If football does start it will be late and without many top coaches and kids, who have been transferring away.
The drive has been exhausting. "We are all under 35," says Jaycee Board Member Larry McNutt, who has been taking 30 hours a week from his insurance office to raise funds, "but this thing is aging us all fast."
No wonder. Such fund appeals are unusual. Most American cities traditionally support their school programs. Since a struggle of this sort obviously cannot become an annual affair, the key test will come at the November 8 election when another bid will be made to increase the school-tax share allotted to such activities.
It will be an interesting vote to watch. The Oakland Jaycees will be older. But will the Oakland voters be wiser?
Do not be swayed by all those muscles and that vigorous bounding around. It turns out that athletes, despite their superior physical condition, may be more susceptible than nonathletes to such minor infections as coughs, fever and sniffles. And most vulnerable are swimmers and track and field performers.
The fault lies with the traditional "warmup," says German Internist Dr. Karl Franke in the Medical World News. The common practice of bundling in sweat suits until just before the event upsets the heating function of the athlete's capillaries—small blood vessels of the skin—so that they no longer adapt to temperature change.
Thus, when an athlete wriggles out of his sweat suit, his legs and thighs cool quickly, circulation is upset—and cold and flu viruses move in. The best way to avoid all this, says Dr. Franke, is to warm up, coldly, in the same way that one will participate. It may not be as comfortable at first, but there is nothing quite as healthy as going forth to battle with well-adapted capillaries.
Kenya's answer to Tibet's Abominable Snowman is the slothful Nandi bear. A recent spate of sheep stealing has revived his legend, the natives being convinced he lives on sheep and human heads, which he snatches off as people pass under trees. In fact, in the dense forests of the Nandi district, 200 miles northwest of Nairobi, the natives walk around with cooking pots on their heads in the hope that the bear will remove the pots and go away, happily thinking he has their heads. Another native belief is that the bear speaks three languages and joins in tribal conversations while hiding behind trees. Then he jumps out and beats the tribesmen with a big stick.
Many European settlers have also reported seeing the bear, which they claim walks upright and looks rather like a giant spotted hyena. However, according to most zoologists, the Nandi bear is merely a large animal normally seen after wild parties.
THE UNFIT GLOVE
No sooner do we reveal the existence of a golf glove loaded with metal pellets, which is supposed to give a golfer 75 more yards off the tee (SI, Aug. 15), than along comes the Balancer, a bowling glove with a one-pound weight sewn into the palm, which is supposed to balance the swing of a 16-pound bowling ball and tumble at least 20 more pins a game. We trust someone will put an end to all this before it gets back to boxing.
THE "WE WIN" ISSUE
One final word about the recent World Soccer Cup. Instead of betting on England (no sure thing), you should have put everything on the one team that functioned according to form—the post office.
Before the games England issued 140 million World Cup commemorative stamps. Good move, that. And then England won the title—surprise!—and the fun began. Caught with presses down, postal people hastily produced a new issue: 12 million new stamps looking exactly like the first—except that the words ENGLAND WINNERS were overprinted on each.
Naturally the stamps set off a rush. Philatelists ran wild; the entire issue was sold out in hours. Prices rocketed. There will be no more stamps. But there will always be a post office.
THEY SAID IT
•Jim Camp, George Washington football coach, on why one of his stars didn't do well scholastically: "He is intelligent, but after eight minutes in class you could split his head open and about a thousand girls would run out."
•Herman Franks, San Francisco Giant manager, asked if he thought before the season that Gaylord Perry, Giant right-hander, would have a 20-2 record: "No, I didn't think he would lose the two games.