WILD IN THE STREETS
The expression "We may have lost the game, but we are going to win the party" conveys a venerable sporting sentiment, but the annual commemoration of the Texas-Oklahoma game in Dallas has gone beyond that. For one thing, the Texas-OU blowout takes place the night before the game, before either college's supporters should feel obligated to take anything out on anyone. For another thing, few of the thousands of assorted remora who cram themselves into a four-square-block area of downtown Dallas every year have any relation to either school. They just welcome an opportunity to hoot, holler, choke intersections, break windows, fight, watch topless dancers on the sidewalks and get arrested. Last year police hauled in 466 on charges ranging from drunkenness to "assault to murder." Only 22 were college students.
This year—Friday night, October 11—Dallas was ready. Some 800 regular and reserve policemen were on duty—300 of them in plain clothes and the rest outfitted as though they were expecting the Democratic Convention. It was the biggest show of police force in the city's history, but just to be on the safe side merchants along Commerce Street boarded up their windows and hotels locked their doors, unlocking them only for registered guests.
The result was what might in comparison with other years be called law and order. A policeman and two other people were seriously injured in the clogged traffic, and another policeman had his helmet blown off when someone threw what was believed to be an artillery simulator toward the Police and Courts Building. Otherwise, there were 643 arrests—a record—but they were largely preventive.
October 20, 1968
Civic leaders Saturday praised the police for averting chaos. But police officials, privately, have said they would like to arrest so many revelers that Dallas would be abandoned as the game site. Most people in Dallas, however, seem to favor keeping the game. They would just like to see the riot moved.
At a recent jumping contest in Marksville, La., a frog named Humphrey jumped 2'11"; a frog named Nixon, 4'9½"; and a frog named Wallace, 5'2". But an outsider named Sally beat them all with a jump of 11'11¼". She is our candidate.
BACK TO SCHOOL
Eight of the 11 black trackmen who lost their scholarships at the University of Texas at El Paso last spring after refusing to compete against Brigham Young (SI, July 15) are back at UTEP this fall, on different scholarships.
The athletes—Bob Beamon (who at the moment is in Mexico City representing the U.S. in the long jump), Robert Bethea, Robert Boalts, Chuck McPherson, Dave Morgan, Kelly Myrick, John Nichols and Jimmy Rodgers—have been aided by the efforts of the Disassociated Students Fund Coordinating Committee in El Paso. Since the committee was formed—just after school let out last summer—by athletes, other students and faculty members at UTEP, it has raised $5,200—enough for a year's books and tuition and emergency housing and food assistance.
Local businessmen and other El Pasoans have lent support to the drive, and they now make up about half the committee, which is about half white and half black. The committee has formed a corporation, which pays bills for the athletes as required. Three of the eight have part-time jobs and the others are looking for work.
Committee Co-Chairman Arnold Sparks, a Negro and a retired Army master sergeant now working at the White Sands Missile Range and attending UTEP part-time, says 90% of the money raised so far has come in from people around the country who had read of the athletes' stand. The bulk of the fund, in fact, was provided by one anonymous out-of-towner's check for $2,800. Sparks says a greater effort to drum up local donations is now being made. A recent fund-raising dance sponsored by a local Negro social club brought a few hundred people and $275.
Hurdler Myrick, who is the committee's co-treasurer, expresses some disappointment in the results so far. "We're set for another year," he says. "We've got more money coming in. But it could have been, should have been, better. We need as much money as it takes to send us through school."
None of the eight plan to go out for track at UTEP. "We've been told we can't," says Myrick.
America does not have dart professionals, as England does—a few British stars are paid to carry the colors of dart or beer firms in pub exhibitions—but in Southern California, at least, darts is becoming a serious sport.
There are 600 members in the Southern California Dart Association, and 38 eight-man teams are currently competing in SCDA events. The matches are held on Friday nights in various sponsoring bars, and are attended by devoted statisticians and capacity crowds. Quiet prevails before every throw, and all lights are extinguished at the windup except the one spotlighting the board.
"Every board is different in play," notes Dick Mitruen, an eight-year veteran of the league. "Lighting differs, the background provides a different perspective, and even the air conditioner has an effect." The amount of suds a competitor consumes also must be considered in handicapping the field. Says Mitruen. "Some guys, sober, are so nervous they can't hit a thing. I've seen them miss the board entirely, and after three or four beers they plunk the bull's-eye."
But that doesn't mean that darts is all beer and skittles. A leading player known as "Thermometer" (because he is so thin) sees it this way. "If you're a hungry tiger, you're a hustling dart player, and you're tough in competition."
But apparently it helps to be a thirsty tiger as well.
Knees are big these days. More than 300 physicians from 37 states and Canada considered knees all one day at Niagara Falls last week, and they learned, for one thing, that knees cost pro football teams $500,000 a year.
The source of this statistic was Dr. James A. Nicholas, team physician for the New York Jets and the man who operated on Joe Namath. There is one knee operation per eight men per squad per year in pro football, said Dr. Nicholas. And below the professional level, nearly 50,000 football knees are operated on every year.
The speakers at the seminar—part of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons' three-day course in sports medicine—seemed to agree that knee trouble generally begins in high school and that there has been more and more of it in recent years. "Suddenly kids who never did anything rough or built up their bodies in any way come out for football," says Dr. Fred L. Allman Jr. of Atlanta. "Their anatomy can't make the change." Dr. Allman says boys are less likely to be injured if they start playing contact sports earlier. And he recommends that coaches spend less time on game plans and more on conditioning.
There was also general agreement that artificial turf cuts down on knee injuries. And one participant suggested, controversially, that the taping of knees before games is an unnecessary fetish. But at any rate, observed Dr. Nicholas, we know that "the loose-jointed type of athlete" is more susceptible to hurt joints. Some 30% of the American population is loose-jointed. Joe Namath is. (Also E. J. Holub, who has had eight knee operations, and Steve Tensi, who has hurt a knee in each of his three pro seasons.) Such people "can do many things that ordinary persons can't," explains Dr. Nicholas, and they are less likely to pull or strain muscles, but their flexible joints won't withstand so much force. "In pro football now, we try to make the flexible ones stronger and the strong ones more flexible. The ideal person has great strength to control the flexibility. Jimmy Brown is this type."
So a great pair of knees is going to waste in Hollywood.
The Florida Legislature Subcommittee on Pari-Mutuel Affairs has recommended that Butazolidin, the drug that disqualified Dancer's Image in the Kentucky Derby, be legalized in Florida.
"The weight of evidence," said a spokesman for the committee, "is that Butazolidin is neither a stimulant nor a depressant and that it cannot make a horse run beyond his natural potential. It is an analgesic."
But that is not the whole point. Butazolidin may not soup a horse up, but the lack of it can slow one down. If a horse can be run under the influence of Butazolidin, it can be run "hot and cold"—medicated when someone wants to bet on the horse, and unmedicated when someone wants to bet against it.
That, no matter what the legislators of Florida feel, would not be good for pari-mutuel affairs—or for horses.
PAY THE MAN
When the Chicago Black Hawks opened their season last week at home, Bobby Hull was holding out. His fans, meanwhile, were doing their best to enter into his negotiations with the club.
"Give Bobby 100 Grand—Don't Be Cheap," read one banner rolled out in the stands. "No Bobby, No Fans, No Money," read another, and outside the stadium was a sign saying, in reference to Black Hawk Owner Arthur M. Wirtz, "Wertz [sic] is Cheap."
Two days later the club, perhaps shamed, signed Hull, reportedly for 100 grand.
The latest thing in Texas football accommodations will cost you $50,000. That's the price of an Inner Circle private box in the stadium to be built in suburban Irving for the Dallas Cowboys.
Eventually, say the Cowboys, the Inner Circle investor will get his money back. He puts it into stadium bonds over 35 years, and it entitles him to a 12-seat box for that period. By comparison, the Skyboxes in Houston's Astrodome, which hold as many as 24 seats, cost $18,000 a year. In both cases the price of tickets is extra.
The boxes will be insulated against heat or cold, but not against crowd noises, by a wall of air. Each box will be fitted with two television sets, one presenting the game at hand by closed circuit and the other receiving the NFL telecast for common folks.
"Birds of prey have a bad reputation," says Ernst C. F. Jocher, the falconer, "and this is utterly wrong." Jocher has just finished a three-week engagement in the courtyard adjoining the lions' cages at the Bronx Zoo, putting his 12 big birds—eagles, goshawks, owls, a kite, a caracara, a vulture, a kestrel and a buzzard—through their paces for sizeable audiences. They perch on his wrist and fly to a tree or perch on command (the buzzard, however, disappeared for 12 hours), and the Latin American caracara, which was a holy bird of the Incas, even heels like a dog.
But Jocher says his main purpose in bringing the birds here for three weeks from his home in Ireland was to alert his audiences to the fact that birds of prey are being preyed upon. Nearly all of Ireland's "hunting birds," a name he prefers for the sake of the birds' image, have been shot, he says, and before they disappear in this country there should be more federal legislation than the one law that prohibits the shooting of bald and golden eagles. Even this law, maintains Jocher, is ill-enforced. "Soon," he says angrily, "you won't even have your own emblem."
THEY SAID IT
•Alex Hannum, Oakland Oaks basketball coach, on the American Basketball Association's red, white and blue ball: "The only place a ball like that belongs is on the end of a seal's nose."
•Jack Geyer, L.A. Rams official, while watching the Purdue-Notre Dame game via television and seeing the Boilermakers intercept a pass: "Well, the Hanratty's on the wall."