CAUSE FOR ALARM
There appears to be a dim possibility, and it is only that, that some of the far-out leaders of the civil rights movement may call on Negro athletes to boycott the 1968 Olympics. The possibility arose when Tommie Smith, American Negro sprinter, was interviewed by Japanese journalists—with no Western newsmen present—during Tokyo's recent World University Games. Asked about the racial situation in the U.S., Smith—who attends San Jose State and holds nine world records—pithily described it as "lousy," then went on to say:
"Depending upon the situation, you cannot rule out the possibility that we Negro athletes might boycott the games in Mexico. Just this morning I was talking with my friend Charlie Craig [Negro triple jumper] about this problem."
Later Smith vehemently denied that he was advocating a boycott, and said he was merely suggesting the possibility.
September 24, 1967
But Jim Fowler, white leader of the U.S. delegation to the University Games, declared that the possibility was "a very real one."
"Certainly," he said, "some of the Negro leaders may be thinking along these lines. Another difficult hot summer and more problems in some of the big cities and they might see an Olympic boycott as a strong piece of propaganda."
And Madeline Manning, a 19-year-old sociology major at Tennessee State and one of the world's best women at 800 meters, reflected soberly: "It would be very difficult to refuse if our people asked this of us."
So it could conceivably happen. And if it does, it will be a disappointment to sportsmen all over the world. It would be a disappointment especially to millions of Americans, many of whom would blame it all on civil rights extremists. For the athlete, a decision to boycott the Olympics would mean giving up a lifelong dream. It would mean that all the sacrifices, the long hours of training, the pain, had been for nothing. It would mean, too, and some Olympic prospects would justify themselves in this way, that the athlete put certain values higher than U.S. success or his own participation in the Olympic Games. It would be his way of saying, "I care enough to do something."
REQUIEM FOR A CHAMPION
After he rode the 8-year-old California champion Native Diver to victory in the Del Mar Handicap on Labor Day, Jockey Jerry Lambert said: "He's just too much. I hope he never dies. You know, he might be getting old at that, though. He wanted to go home to his barn instead of going back to the winner's circle, and I had to coax him a little bit to get him to go there."
Nine days later Native Diver was dead. In the van on the way from Del Mar in the south to Bay Meadows in the north, the horse "acted funny," one of his handlers said. He would not eat or drink and for the first time in his fractious life permitted his groom to mop his perspiring forehead. Rushed to the University of California's animal husbandry specialists at Davis, he was given intensive care. But enteric toxemia, which horsemen call colic, was too much for him, as it is for most horses.
Californians felt about Native Diver the way Easterners feel about Kelso. He got more fan mail than any other horse but Kelso—a lot of it, because he was so handsome, from girls. He was a front-runner and a stayer; blazing fast, peevish, yet graceful. He was big and almost black, with a hide that washed down to a natural luminescence, making him a perfect picture horse.
The gelded son of Imbros-Fleet Diver by Devil Diver won 34 stakes, all in California, a world record for added-money victories. In his seven seasons on the track, Native Diver made 81 starts, finished first 37 times, second seven times and third 12 times. His lifetime earnings were $1,112,762.50, including $1,026,500 at the races and $86,262.50 in breeder awards. He was seventh on the alltime money-winners list. Three years in a row he captured the mile-and-a-quarter Hollywood Gold Cup, richest race in the U.S. handicap division.
Whenever he appeared on California tracks, Native Diver was cheered. His victory this year in the Hollywood Gold Cup won him the biggest ovation any horse but Kelso is known to have received in this country.
A REAL HAZARD
An 18-hole championship golf course that wanders back and forth across the Nevada-California state line is being built by the Sahara Tahoe Hotel, and it should test the mettle of everyone who plays it.
The hotel's brochure proudly reports that "a natural quicksand pit, which has claimed several cattle over the years, lies directly between the 10th and 11th tees." Even though the hotel hastens to add that the quicksand will have a protective wall around it, an element of suspense is created by the fact that not even the Great Wall of China would stop some golfers intent on finding a lost ball. After all, why take a penalty?
A sporty new car called the Road Runner is being introduced by Plymouth, complete with horn that goes "beep-beep"—just like the fast-running desert bird character in the movie cartoons.
This is fun, and we applaud it, but in the interest of ornithology it must be pointed out that the automobile follows art (or the car copies cartoons) rather than life.
The actual roadrunner (and he spells his name as one word, not two), which lives in arid southwestern states like New Mexico and Arizona, is a ground cuckoo that rarely goes faster than 18 mph. And its call, which varies from a high-pitched whine to a bill-clacking clatter, is usually expressed as "coo, coo, coo, coo."
A mortified Irish golfer, James O'Toole, played an extraordinary round in his club championship in Dublin, the kind of round that all golfers have sudden qualms about as they tee up in a tournament after firmly announcing their handicap. What Mr. O'Toole—a 15-handicapper—did was shoot a 68, which is only two strokes off the course record. His net 53 won him the top prize and some raised eyebrows from club officials, who immediately cut four shots from his handicap. The somewhat embarrassed Mr. O'Toole explained that not so long before he had broken his right wrist. The injury had not only forced him to change his swing, it had also led him to stop using his driver, three-and four-woods. And, he added, "everything went perfectly."
The fascination high school football has for Texans makes it imperative that newspapers report, at least briefly, on as many games as possible. This in turn creates a problem for the fellows who write those little one-line heads above the stories and are required to be bright, original, snappy and all that. Here are some recent ones:
STEERS GORE EAGLES
BIRDS BITE SHARKS
GARS GET GUTTED
But none so far has topped:
NO ITALIANS NEED APPLY
Because racing competition has become big business, says Enzo Ferrari, the master builder of racing cars, "the era of gentleman racing drivers is ended."
He himself is speeding the change along. For one thing, he has given up on Italian drivers and insists he no longer will hire them to race Ferraris, a decision arrived at after Lorenzo Bandini was killed driving a Ferrari at the Monaco Grand Prix last May. Italians, says Ferrari, have too many outside interests, while non-Italians are professionals giving full time to the job of piloting racing cars. He explains thus his release of two of his Italian drivers—Ludovico Scarfiotti, a wealthy landowner, and Nino Vaccarelli, headmaster of a school.
There is one exception to the Ferrari rule against Italian drivers: Giacomo Agostini, world motorcycle champion, who is reported interested in winning both the world driving and motorcycling titles, as John Surtees has done.
"If, for example," says Ferrari, "tomorrow morning Giacomo Agostini presented himself at my office I would hire him on the spot because he is a serious boy. He also has the courage of a lion and has, like all those who came from motorcycle racing, a background in mechanics that is indispensable for a good professional driver."
So much for the Italian Anti-Defamation League's success in Italy.
SUPPLY AND DEMAND
You can study some surprising things at Odessa (Texas) College—Christmas gift wrapping, bull-whip snapping and, starting this year, an advanced course in poodle grooming (with no credits, unfortunately, toward graduation). An introductory course has been included in the curriculum for some time because, a college official explains, "there was a shortage of experienced professional poodle stylists in West Texas." To remedy the situation, Odessa began teaching proper barbering techniques—there are five basic ways to trim a poodle, but several hundred variations. The subject has become so popular that three separate classes have been scheduled. Three hundred students have taken the course so far.
LA PALOMA, PRESTIGE BIRD
There is but one place in the U.S. and one time of year (on two September weekends) when the white-winged dove may be hunted. This year the prospect of bringing home a bag of the tasty dark-meated birds drew 20,000 hunters to McAllen, Texas (population 38,000), which is on the Mexican border about three DC-3 hours out of Dallas. They had some 750,000 birds to shoot at.
The season, lasting from 1 p.m. to sundown on each of two Saturdays and Sundays, is thus open for little more than 24 hours. The daily bag limit is 12 wfhitewings and 12 mourning doves, with a possession limit of 24 each and plenty of game wardens cruising about to see that the limits are enforced. In other words, one may take a dove an hour. It was figured that a couple who flew in from Minnesota in their private jet were, all expenses considered, paying $100 apiece for their birds, or several hundred dollars a pound.
Well worth it, say the hunters, who endure not only the expense but swarms of mosquitoes and equally exasperating service in restaurants across the Rio Grande in Reynosa, Mexico. A three-hour wait for a table, while sipping margaritas, is not unusual. But after all those drinks the roast cabrito (goat) tastes good and one takes a casual view of roaches on the table.
The point is that a platter of white-wings is a status symbol and a Texan who bags his limit is entitled thereby to shed his customary modesty and brag a little.
TRY A STUFFED ONE
Notre Dame, UCLA and Miami can rest easy now. There's no chance of their being clawed at Pitt Stadium, by a wild panther—just the University of Pittsburgh's football-playing type of panther.
Dave Hart, Pitt coach, had planned to have a live panther caged along the sideline this fall as an inspirational pitch for his charges. So the Pitt alumni of Beaver County bought him one.
But even Lloyd's of London refused to issue insurance on such a venture, and so did every American insurance firm approached by the college. You see, college students are known to be incurable pranksters, and turning loose a panther almost certainly would strike some of them as a highly comical idea. The panther is now locked in the zoo.
THEY SAID IT
•Duffy Daugherty, Michigan State coach, admiring the attitude of his married players: "They all agreed to move into dormitories for the first two weeks of fall practice. Of course, I helped their decision a little; I made it a rule."
•Ara Parseghian, Notre Dame coach, on the new punt-return rule: "We will no longer practice live punt returns. It's too dangerous, and if it's too dangerous to practice, it's too dangerous to play."
•Sam Mele, ousted Minnesota Twins manager, asked what he had noticed most about the club this summer: "They got going right after I left."