The Heisman Trophy people were at least thoughtless two weeks ago when Purdue's Mike Phipps was led to suspect that he had won the trophy and then was informed by a ceremonious phone call that he had come in second.
A Heisman spokesman called Purdue earlier to say that the vote, still being tabulated, was down to two athletes, and to ask that Phipps be made available in the college president's office for a call at award-announcement time. The Purdue people, understandably but perhaps overeagerly, guessed that this advance word was just a way of setting up the winner's telephonic interview without coming right out and disclosing the good news. The Heisman people say they made it clear that the vote was still up in the air and that they just wanted to be sure that both Phipps and the other contender—who turned out to be winner Steve Owens—would be reachable when the result was official. In past years, say the Heisman people, they have had as many as four boys standing by. (Purdue, with three second-place finishers in the last four years, has never had such a call before, but apparently Phipps is the first to come close enough in the balloting.) Purdue is bitter. "I think they were looking for publicity from the president's office," says Sports Information Director Karl Klages. "What did they want him to do," adds President Frederick Hovde, "cry over the phone?"
Since word has leaked out that the motto of the Atlanta Ski Club is "We Ski on Grits," it seems appropriate to ascertain why.
The club has over 1,000 members. It skis mostly at Seven Devils, Beech Mountain and Sugar Mountain, all near Boone, N.C. This year several trips are planned to Cataloochee in North Carolina and to Courchevel in France. In North Carolina, the club often makes use of artificial snow.
A few years ago when some club members made a trip to Aspen, a Northerner came up to them and asked, "What do you ski on down there, grits?"
The message thus became the medium.
THERE GOES NEW ENGLAND
Vermont has decided it is attracting too many tourists, who are about to destroy the balance of nature. Massachusetts, desiring more tourists, may import five tribes of Indians to give visitors something to do (i.e., buy trinkets from and look at the Indians) besides view all the balanced nature.
Vermont is in the midst of the Montreal-Boston-New York City triangle, which puts 70 million congestion-beset people within a day's drive. They cannot all be accommodated. "We have come to the realization that there is only so much Vermont," says William Norton, chief of information and travel for the state's development department. "Once that's gone, it's gone forever." Norton knows of one 15-story high rise going up right in the middle of a rural area. What he calls "Florida-type land developments" are proliferating, some "without regard to sewage disposal and central water systems. Imagine what happens with 2,000 homes on a mountainside. Think of the polluted streams," So Vermont is preparing stiffer, statewide land-use laws—and even taking steps to cool off the ski business, which, brought the state $76 million last winter. State funds will no longer be allotted for access roads, base lodges or maintenance of roads to ski areas.
One thing Vermont does not want, says Norton, is "to create a service class of person. We don't want a class dependent on tourism as they have in Puerto Rico, for example." But the Commonwealth of Massachusetts is consulting with the Bureau of Indian Affairs about the feasibility of bringing in such a class ready-made. "The Mohawk Trail is one of our soft areas," says Lawrence Flynn, the state's commissioner of tourism. "It's the most scenically beautiful spot we have—but what does someone do when he gets there? The idea would be to set up an Indian reservation along the trail. We have to figure out how they'd live in the winter. I've got to make sure and get some Sumacs, because they're the greatest in pottery making. There'd be Iroquois, Mohawks and Senecas, plus one more."
Of course those people might well be better off there than wherever they were shunted off to last. And they could prove valuable "service persons" not only as spectacles and vendors but also as lookouts. If anybody knows what can happen when tourism gets out of hand, it is American Indians.
Every football season has its unusual plays. So far this season a 230-pound center has run some 209 yards for and after a touchdown on an incomplete pass (that's right—read on), and a quarterback has been penalized 15 yards for wiping his hands on the seat of a referee's pants.
The center is Art Kuehn of Cubberly High School in Palo Alto, Calif. His team threw an incomplete screen pass, and both sides went back into their huddles. But Kuehn noticed that the officials had made no move toward the ball, which had rolled into the Cubberly end zone and almost out. The pass had been thrown laterally, so the ball was still alive. Kuehn walked over, picked up the ball and ran 109 yards for the touchdown. Then he ran back to his bench at the 50, only to be reminded that he had to center for the PAT. So he ran back to the three. "He's in great shape," Coach John Second noted after the game. "Last year, when he weighed 275, he probably wouldn't have made it from the huddle to the ball."
The penalized quarterback was John Huntey of Waynesburg College in Pennsylvania. Waynesburg was leading Lock Haven State College 14-13 in the rain with two minutes remaining and Huntey needed a good grip on the ball. He had just muddied his hands and also the towel at his waist in diving for a loose ball. His eyes lit upon the only clean places on the field—the officials' uniforms. Casually, without asking, Huntey availed himself of the trousers of a startled field judge. In a twinkling the affronted dignitary paced off 15 yards against Waynesburg for unsportsmanlike conduct.
THE INTUITIVE MONEY
The hunch-bettors' report: On Halloween Eve Great Pumpkin won at Churchill Downs, and Chiller Diller won at Detroit. Moon Mission (colors red, white and blue) won at Churchill Downs Nov. 24 (same day Apollo 12 astronauts splashed down), paid $21.20. Also at Churchill Downs, Boss Mariner won Waves Purse Nov. 11, paid $127.80. (Perhaps so little action because Diane Crump, Boss Mariner's rider, was never a Wave herself.) At Aqueduct on Nov. 12, day of the $1.3 million robbery, Call A Cop, the favorite in the third race, ran third. On Thanksgiving Day at Laurel Race Course Little Slugger won by six lengths, paid $34.80. (Little Slugger's trainer, R. Nixon; grandsire, Supreme Court.)
BOXING EBBS AND FLOWS
Last week, as Sweden voted to outlaw professional boxing entirely, a government minister of the Bahamas extolled the sport as a measure of the civilization achieved by Grand Bahama Island.
Boxing has been called many things but never civilized. It was all too brutal for the Swedish psyche, in a land where violence rather than sex is censored in films and TV, and Floyd Patterson was a national idol.
The run of mismatches foisted on the Swedes in recent years by Ingemar Johansson, their one-time heavyweight champion and less-than-champion promoter, did not help—Buster Mathis and Sonny Liston pummeling Gerry DeBruyn and Dave Bailey were more than even the long-suffering Scandinavians could bear.
But in Freeport, Grand Bahama, boxing promises to be something else. The other day, in the first of a series of modified English-style bouts held under the chandelier in the Camelot Room at the King's Inn & Golf Club, spectators sat at tables around the ring eating artichokes vinaigrette. The bouts were not more bloody than the medium-well entree, and the only breach of decorum was a shout of "Don't hit him in the kidneys, luv, it hurts," directed at a preliminary fighter in long olive drab socks by a smartly coiffed matron.
Garnet Levarity, the Bahamian Minister of Out Island affairs, called the whole scene not only highly civilized but "delightful"—the more so because it was in line with the country's new emphasis on getting Bahamians into the local jobs and the action. The fights were co-promoted by the British-owned King's Inn, Bahamian Jim White and Miami's Chris Dundee, and they featured the Bahamas' own Gomeo Brennan, who won his 106th fight.
San Francisco Disc Jockey Don Sherwood tells about an argument in a friend's house after a weekend of sports television. Complained the wife: "You love football more than you love me." Replied the husband: "Yeah, but I still love you more than basketball."
A VOTE FOR SANTA
In Memphis each week during the football season the Coca-Cola Company sponsors a handicapping contest, to which Memphis football fans bring all the scientific skills and inside knowledge that, as everyone knows, the astute picking of winners and point spreads requires (page 36).
A couple of weeks back the contest involved the Ole Miss-Tennessee struggle in Jackson, Miss. Few authorities picked Ole Miss to win at all. Mrs. L. T. Massey, a 70-year-old Memphis grandmother, guessed that Ole Miss would win 38-0. (The score was 38-0.) She predicted the combined offensive yardage to be 650. (It was 651.)
Mrs. Massey, who had been a runner-up in the contest twice before, was asked whether she was a student of the game. "No," she replied, "but I believe in fairies and Santa Claus."
Mrs. Massey's earlier entries won her two footballs. She gave them to her grandchildren. This time she won a Triumph motorcycle.
HEH, HEH, HEH
Year after year Alfred Vanderbilt comes up with apt names for his racehorses. What would you have called a yearling by Tom Fool out of Last Leg? Vanderbilt's choice: Dirty Old Man.
Coach Ed Donohue of King's College in Wilkes-Barre, Pa. put his basketball team through an extremely difficult practice session against his freshmen recently. As time wore on and performances grew more and more ragged, Donohue waxed caustic, berating every player soundly as to his ability, appearance, speed, strength and character. The session that had begun at 3:15 did not end until 7. That evening the thoroughly tired and disgusted team held a meeting, agreed the practice was a disgrace and prepared a list of grievances to present to Donohue the next day.
The list read:
1. We want to win!
2. We enjoyed every minute of it!
3. We deserved every bit of it!
4. Keep up the good work as we understand you are just doing your job!
Donohue, who says he thought, "Oh, oh, here we go," when the players first handed him the ominous-looking document, was only momentarily nonplussed. "I read the list," he said later, "graded it and gave them 80%. They misspelled 'grievance.' "
THEY SAID IT
•Gus Ganakas, new Michigan State basketball coach, on his relative anonymity: "I got mail to all kinds of names: Bananas, Caracas, you name it. I didn't mind that, but one sportswriter called and asked me to spell my first name."
•Bud Ogden, Philadelphia 76ers rookie, who made a perfect pass to the press table on a fast break in a game with San Diego, explaining to the writer who caught the pass why he threw it: "You were open."