A MATTER OF PRINCIPLE
Last week Muhammad Ali said he wasn't going in the Army, because as a "so-called Negro" he wouldn't murder to "help continue the domination of white slavemasters." He said the real enemy of his people was here, where "peaceful black people" were being "beaten, stomped and kicked in the street."
Without his gloves on, Ali is just another demagogue and an apologist for his so-called religion, and his views on Vietnam don't deserve rebuttal. But the other quotes are truthful. For example, earlier this year in Atlanta, peaceful black people were beat up—by five of Ali's fellow Black Muslims when they refused to buy the house paper, Muhammad Speaks. Then, while the Muslims were being booked, they assaulted police officers.
And in Omaha last month, when a policeman approached Theopholis X to see if he had a permit to peddle Muhammad Speaks, he took the cop's gun and shot him. During his preliminary hearing Theopholis grabbed a detective's gun and in the struggle shot a second cop. Next two Black Muslims in the courtroom jumped two other cops but on a command from a fourth Muslim stopped fighting, raised their hands and shouted, "Police brutality."
It is, of course, purposeless to dwell on the good Ali could have done for black and white alike if he hadn't aligned himself with the Muslims. But if indeed he does go to jail, Ali can achieve the martyrdom he seeks only if it is shown that he is sacrificing himself for the sake of a principle worthy of the name.
There is a waiter at Mickie Finn's, the San Diego saloon, who parts his hair in the middle, is introduced as Ludwig Yoyo and does a great yoyo act.
"I am the recognized world yoyo champion," says Ludwig Yoyo, who is 35 and comes from Wildwood, N.J., where he began life as Ludwig Robert Baab. "I've got 20/17 vision. That's better than 20/20. You need good eyes, but it's more than that—it's feel, it's control, it's coordination.
"I went on tour with the Duncan Yoyo Company when I was 16. My mother had to sign her permission. I've been all over the U.S. doing exhibitions and selling yoyos. We sold 400,000 yoyos in San Francisco in 1963. The best town we ever hit, though, was Nashville, Tennessee. We sold more yoyos in Nashville than they had residents. They had 223,000 people there and we sold them 239,000 yoyos.
"I am also the world champion in go-go ball. The yoyo people were pushing go-go ball for a couple of years, but it didn't go over like yoyos. We made $35,000 in four weeks, though, in Portland, Oregon.
"I also happen to be No. 3 in top spinning. One and two? I forget their names. They held the championships at Disneyland a couple of years ago.
"But I get tired of traveling, so I work as a waiter and I do the bit. I've put on charity gigs, shows in orphanages and hospitals. I'm like Roy Rogers on a white horse. The kids have to come see me. I'm telling you, man, this is Americana."
The San Francisco Giants are a rewarding team. Alvin Dark used to give out golf balls as bonuses. Willie McCovey once got a free dinner each time he hit to left. Now Gaylord Perry has revealed that he has a standing offer of a $10 dinner to any teammate who bats in three runs in a game for him. "It cost me about $150 last year," says Perry, "but it certainly was worth it." Perry, who won 21 games in 1966, makes more than $50,000.
This year Perry is adding an incentive. "I'm offering the shortstop and second baseman dinners if they complete three double plays in a game," he says. "However, there's a string attached. I've got to win the game."
That's not all. Learning that the dinners might be deductible, Perry is thinking of putting them down as a business expense on his income tax return. But if the wining and dining mounts up, will the recipients of Perry's largesse have to report it as taxable income?
MAN VS. DOG
It was nothing he could pinpoint, but Yves Blatgé figured there was something vaguely insufferable about his dog, Moloff, right from the start. Blatgé is a ski guide, instructor, mountaineer and all-round rugged type at Courchevel, France, and he has enough troubles with wealthy tourists without taking any curled lip from a Dalmatian. Still, "I could tell by the way he sort of looked at me," says Yves, "that he figured he was a better man than I was."
First they went for a walk, and Moloff walked faster, looking over his shoulder disgustedly. Then they broke into a run and, naturally, Moloff won paws down.
"He got to lying around the house sneering at me," says Yves, "so I took him mountain climbing. He was good in the foothills. But when we got to the straight-up-and-down, hand-over-hand part he couldn't make it too well, and we hung there on the wall and I looked him in the face and said, "Aha! You see! Now I am the best, no?" Score one for man. But on the way down, Moloff recovered enough to beat Blatgé jumping from rock to rock, and they ended up at the same standoff.
A couple of weeks ago Yves showed up at the double-chair lift with skis and Moloff, hoisted the dog aboard and muttered, "Now sit still, we're going way up." The dog sat there, trying hard not to appear choked, and at the top Yves unloaded him and then put on skis. "Now then," he said, "take off." Moloff began barreling hell-bent down the icy slope, skittering and careening around the corners, and about halfway down Yves came by in a blur, all tucked over. He waited for Moloff at the bottom, and when the dog came lurching down, tongue out, he said, "Now go home and lie down and shut up." The dog has been lying there ever since, not looking Yves in the eye. "I think maybe he is plotting something," says Yves.
It's a good cause but a bad bet. For every $1 million worth of tickets sold in the New York State lottery, the proceeds of which are to go to education, there will only be $300,000 in prizes. In other words, the take is $700,000, or 70%, or suck-er.
By way of contrast, the take on all bets in roulette in Nevada is 5[5/19]%, the take in horse racing in New York is 15% and the take in the numbers racket is merely in the neighborhood of 50%.
When Albie Swartz of St. John's University was told he had been named to an All-America basketball team, he said, "It isn't kosher." After all, Albie had only averaged six points a game.
But it was for real. Albie was on the Jewish All-America team selected by American Jewish Life, a monthly.
"Well, I guess it's kosher," said Albie, a Catholic, "but it isn't orthodox."
NO VROOM AT THE INDY (CONT.)
The thing about Andy Granatelli's old four-wheel-drive race car was that although it never won the Indianapolis 500 you always knew where it was. Every time it lumbered down the straightaway it gave out with a vroom that shook the fillings out of your teeth, and it was the loveliest loser racing ever had.
Alas, as we told you two weeks back, them decibels are gone forever. This year Granatelli has entered a hot new turbojet car that doesn't make a peep, much less a vroom. But for a moment there we thought we might at least be able to hear an echo of the clamorous past.
Said Granatelli: "Knowing Indianapolis race buffs like the racket of exhausts, I spent $1,000 this spring for a noisemaker. It was a box with a rectifier that boomed taped engine sounds from speakers in the tail of the car. It was ear-splitting, even putting that beloved shaking sound of the Novi to shame. But then I figured, what the hell, if you have a quiet wife you aren't going to give her voice exercises. So if you are at Indianapolis you've got to watch for us to go by. You won't hear us coming or going."
NO GREATER LOVE
Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus were paired during the second round of the Las Vegas Tournament of Champions. On the par-3 14th hole, Nicklaus' tee shot hit a spectator—Kerry Lavac of Las Vegas—on the head, the ball bouncing into high grass to the left of the green. After Nicklaus got his par, he gave the blood-stained ball to Lavac. As Nicklaus walked off, Lavac, who wasn't seriously hurt, said to a companion: "I wish Arnie had hit me. He's my favorite."
HOW TO SUCCEED BY REALLY TRYING
In the past eight years Kansas State has won 10 football games. So last December the Wildcats got themselves a new coach, Vince Gibson, who had been a party to two rebuilding programs—first at Florida State and then at Tennessee.
Recently a Kansas State booster wrote to give us a progress report.
"Below," he states, "are a few items of interest [Gibson] has done since coming to the Kansas State campus.
"1. Purple carpeting, white walls (school colors) in football dressing room, along with piped-in music.
"2. Construction has started on a football dormitory with swimming pool.
"3. Plans have been approved on a $2 million-plus stadium.
"4. Mr. Gibson and aides have repainted the Baptist church where they attend.
"5. Mr. Gibson has convinced many he can produce a winner."
Quick. Which is the best college Rugby team in the U.S.? UCLA? No. USC? No. Occidental? No. The Church College of Hawaii? Keerect. Located on the beach at Laie, Oahu, CCH is a Mormon school whose student body of 1,200 is 80% Polynesian. The Rugby team, which is made up of these Tongans, Samoans, Fijians and Maoris, went to Los Angeles earlier this year and, although outweighed 30 pounds a man, beat Occidental 11-6, UCLA 17-8 and Loyola 33-3, and was proclaimed No. 1 by the Los Angeles Rugby Union.
CCH's top scorer is Joe Vakalala, a Fijian who works as a spear dancer at the Polynesian Cultural Center in Laie. Vakalala also kicks 50-yard field goals, runs the 440 in 51 seconds and tosses the javelin 192 feet. The biggest man on the squad is 240-pound John Philip, a Tongan, a Cultural Center dancer and for the past three years state heavyweight wrestling champ.
According to CCH Athletic Director John C. Lowell, before a Rugby league was founded in Hawaii five years ago, "A game between our students usually ended up in a brawl because everyone would rather die than admit the Tongans were tougher. I've never seen such ferocity! Tongans love contact and this jolts the other teams, who can't imagine anyone can be that fierce."
Lowell says his hardest job was getting the team to follow his modern conditioning program, which means running six miles a day in addition to practice. The daily 90-minute practice consists of a four-mile run, 50 full squats with 120-pound barbells, running up and down 18 bleacher steps 50 times and a scrimmage.
Says Lowell: "The Polynesians had in mind that any big Caucasian was soft and sloppy, and it surprised them to see the big, hard fellows on the mainland. They realized they'd take a lot of pushing around in the first half, but if we kept them running we'd take them in the second half, which is what happened."
THEY SAID IT
•Joe DiMaggio, asked why he was at Golden Gate racetrack the day the San Francisco Giants opened at home: "Oh, I just don't give a rap for baseball anymore. It's just too dull."
•Mitzi Miron, sister of Bob Miron, former Syracuse University coxswain, after being coxswain for a day: "Following in your father's footsteps might be a difficult chore, but filling your brother's seat certainly proved to be a lot easier."
•Hugh Finnerty, Texas League president, addressing the Dallas-Fort Worth Spurs, who finished last in 1966: "You started last and slowly sank. But it was a team effort. No one man did it."