SHOULD ARNOLD GO SHOW BIZ?
In his series on Arnold Palmer (page 32) Attorney Mark McCormack reveals the details of the proposed purchase of some of Palmer's businesses and services by NBC. We have no doubt that such a deal would be beneficial to Palmer and NBC, but there is some question about it being good for sport. Once again, as with the purchase of the Yankees by CBS, we are distressed to see television moving in. The industry has rarely given any indication that it appreciates the vital difference between show business and sport—that one can be staged, manipulated, gimmicked up, and the other cannot. Of equal consequence, television purports to be—with respect to sport—a journalistic medium. Even when it has no financial stake in teams or individual athletes it has shown a singular inability to function in its proper role of unbiased reporter or to make fair editorial comment. But as the owner of an athlete or club, a network is faced with a fundamental conflict of interest: covering the news and at the same time endeavoring to profit from it. No matter how careful his new owners might be with their use of Palmer, it is still to be deplored that one of the world's most prominent athletes should be drawing a monthly paycheck from a TV network.
THEM KIDS IS PLAYING LACROSSE
A press release extolling its lacrosse team comes to us from the Loomis School of Windsor, Conn. The release notes: "Most educators have generally placed Loomis among the top 10...schools in the country on the basis of their well-rounded cirriculum...." it may well be time for a recount.
THE LUCK OF THE IRISH
Since Jackie Robinson came up in 1947, the Negro has made what are known as Great Strides in baseball and elsewhere, which apparently doesn't include Fort Myers, Fla., where the Pittsburgh Pirates hold spring training.
Last week, Donn Clendenon, the Pirates' Negro first baseman, who is a college graduate and going for his law degree, arrived in Fort Myers at midnight. He had a reservation at the Holiday inn, but was told he couldn't have the room until 10 a.m., and since no other motels had vacancies, Clendenon, his wife and his 5-month-old son slept in their car in the Holiday Inn parking lot. The next morning he called a lady who runs a motel with efficiency apartments and was told two were available at $250 a month. Clendenon said fine, he'd be right over. When he got there the lady said that both units had just been taken. Clendenon took the room at the Holiday Inn for $20 a day until he managed to get a place for $327 a month. "You see what happens to you when you're Irish," says Clendenon.
Just about every week, it seems, there is news of some doughty skipper setting out across the sea alone in a boat no bigger than a cockleshell. There is such a trend toward privation and loneliness among yachtsmen that it is refreshing to get word of a countertrend started by Vic Meyer of Sydney, Australia. In past years Meyer won a boodle of honors in ocean races, but he has given up all that and now sails his 57-foot steel yawl at a leisurely pace, so he can enjoy the company of his all-girl crew. When he touched back into Sydney after cruising more than 13,000 miles with a comely pair, the Australian yachting magazine, Seacraft, sent its Miss Sheila Patrick around to get the woman's angle.
"Do the girls cook?" Miss Patrick asked.
"Oh no, I do the cooking," Meyer replied. "I'm a hell of a good cook. My specialty is beef stroganoff. Chateaubriand and baked turkey are others."
"Do the girls navigate?"
"Hell, no," said Meyer. "I'm the navigator—and not bad, either."
"What about steering?"
"Couldn't trust them with that," he said. "We have an automatic pilot and only steered by hand some 12 hours in 13 months."
"Do they hoist sails?" she asked.
"Hardly ever. I can manage that, too," said Meyer. "I have marvelous winches."
"The anchor?" Miss Patrick said.
"Special winches for that, too," Meyer replied.
"Well, what do the girls do?"
"They keep the ship tidy, do the washing up and are very nice company. Of course, they are bitchy ashore. But I prefer them to men because they seem much happier pottering about the yacht." Having cleared that up, Meyer dropped off his mooring and set sail for New Zealand.
FORGET THE GAIT
As we have previously noted (SI, July 18, 1966), Joey Goldstein, who does the publicity for New York's Roosevelt Raceway, is too much. Exempli gratia: pointing out that Leonardo da Vinci has been in the news lately because the National Gallery of Art purchased his Ginevra dei Benci for $5 million and also because of the discovery in Spain of his so-called lost notebooks, Joey reminds us that trotting was very big in Italy during Leonardo's lifetime and that in the Royal Library of Windsor Castle there are 18 drawings by Leonardo of horses exhibiting the high-stepping diagonal leg action of the trotter—so the opening-night feature at Roosevelt last Saturday was called the Leonardo.
What Joey didn't kind of mention was that the Leonardo was a pace.
BETTER EARLY THAN NEVER
So how's by Yonkers, New York's other harness track? Not so nicely, thank you. Its meeting closed last week, and both the handle and attendance were down. But has Yonkers lost its—well—sense of humor? Three race meetings are listed on clubhouse tax passes this year. One, starting in the spring, is called the spring meeting. Another, run in the fall, is called the fall meeting. And the third, which ran from Jan. 3 through last week—except for the day when there were 12½ inches of s-n-o-w on the all-weather track—was called the early meeting.
ONE FOR NONE
The beefs by coaches about basketball officiating seem to be even louder, cruder and more numerous this season, but a few coaches are doing something besides being querulous. Michigan State's John Benington and Ohio State's Fred Taylor have been experimenting with three officials in freshman games. Although it isn't a new idea—Brooklyn College and Queens College tried it around 1948—Benington and Taylor gave it a new twist. They anchored one official at each baseline, the theory being to counteract the fast break. As Taylor explains: "I don't care who the official is or how young he is, he can't keep up with the kids on the fast break."
And at LSU, Coach Press Maravich said the major conferences should hire officials who would be qualified to work all sports on a yearly basis, rather than paying them about $100 a game and mileage, as is current practice.
Said Maravich: "Officiating should be developed into a career, with a college degree required."
But Taylor may have come up with the best solution of all. "I'd honestly like to try a game without any officials," he said. "We don't have anything to lose, and I think it might make for more interesting basketball, because the kids are basically honest. Oh, we might have to have somebody throw it up for a jump ball occasionally, but really, I think it would be a heck of a lot better game than what we've been having."
Last week the Cincinnati Board of Education ordered the elimination, as of June, of interscholastic sports in the city's eight senior and 17 junior public high schools, which have a combined enrollment of over 32,000. The board's hand was forced when property owners in traditionally conservative Cincinnati, fed up with recently spiraling school budgets, twice rejected a 4.8-mill school-operations levy, thereby aligning themselves with the illiberal citizens of the fair city of Oakland (SI, June 27, 1966 et seq.). Incidentally, sports is but one of 29 programs which have had to be curtailed or eliminated; for example, kindergarten has been abolished.
According to Ohio law, high school coaches must also be full-time teachers. For working with a team after classes, a head football coach gets an extra $600 a year, a head basketball coach, $400, and, in part, it is this money that will be cut off at the end of the school year. One of the 112 coaches involved has figured that he makes 39¢ an hour coaching, but teachers' salaries being what they are, every hour helps.
Cincinnati Chief of Police Jake Schott has expressed concern about a possible rise in juvenile delinquency without the outlet provided by sports; school officials are worried about morale; high school athletes are wondering whether they'll be able to get grants-in-aid, and Joel S. Freedman, a Cincinnati ad man, is doing something about it. He has started a drive called Adopt-A-Coach, so the coaches can get paid. Freedman hopes to raise $21,000 for 1967, another $80,000 for 1968. At week's end, $15,000 had been subscribed or pledged.
Somewhat paradoxically, Cincinnati is forging ahead with its $35.6 million stadium—the future home of the Reds and, probably, an AFL team. The stadium will be financed by revenue bonds tendered by the county and guaranteed by the city, so the property owners won't have to pay a mill—unless, of course, the stadium shows a deficit.
One evening last month, the masters of St. Paul's School of Concord, N.H. were playing basketball against the inmates of the New Hampshire State Prison. Apparently the convicts didn't want to hurry back to their cells, for each quarter was longer than the one preceding it. After nearly two hours the score was 122-101 in favor of the Master Players, as the St. Paul team is called. At this point, one of the masters shouted to the prisoner running the clock: "Hey, buddy, how much time y'got left?" The prisoner's reply: "Three years."
The Dallas Cowboys recently announced that they are going to hold tryout camps for kickers in more than 20 cities in hopes of coming up with a free agent.
If they had tuned in KPIX, in San Francisco one night last week they might have saved themselves a lot of trouble. The Oakland Raiders did, and as a consequence signed Ron Chesterton, 31, of San Anselmo, Calif., who services business machines for the Bank of America and has never attended a professional football game.
Chesterton played soccer for West Ham United before he came here from England in 1960. He had written all the pro teams for a chance to show his stuff, but got nowhere until Frank Dill, a KPIX sportscaster, filmed him in action. Dill then called the 49ers and the Raiders, telling them to watch his 6 p.m. and 11 p.m. shows, on which he ran the film of Chesterton booting field goals from the 35-to the 45-yard line with either foot. Chesterton hit 75% with his right, 50% with his left and believes he can do even better. "I was a little nervous," he said.
There's a basketball team in Houston that starts a 6'8" center, 6'6" and 6'5" forwards and two 6'1" guards, which ordinarily wouldn't be exceptional nowadays—except the team is E. O. Smith Junior High.
A reverent hush fell over the crowd attending a soccer game in Bulgaria recently when, following the referee's example, the linesmen and both teams dropped to one knee, although the fans had no idea who was being honored with a minute of silence. The linesmen and players were equally perplexed, as was the referee, when he lifted his bowed head after tying his shoelace.
THEY SAID IT
•Willis Casey, North Carolina State swimming coach: "Swimming is the toughest sport to get in shape for. You hear a lot of talk about conditioning in football and basketball. They're not in condition, not even 20%. Baseball players are even worse. Baseball is the worst-conditioned sport in the world."
•Forddy Anderson, now coaching at Hiram Scott College in Scottsbluff, Neb. after 19 years in big-time basketball, on the facilities for visiting teams in his league: "One night we were given dressing quarters with only one shower. I told the team the high scorer would get the first shower. Nobody would pass the ball, so I had to call time and say, 'Look, boys, I was only kidding.' "