It had to happen. James Van Alen, the Newport millionaire whose tie-breaker scoring innovation brought a new dimension to the U.S. Open tennis championship at Forest Hills earlier this month, was playing Frank Clem in the 65-and-over division of the U.S. Lawn Tennis Association's senior men's tournament. Mr. Van Alen, in true Frankenstein fashion, lost the final set 7-6.
This statement from South Africa's Prime Minister Balthazar Vorster was made more than a year before the Mexico Olympics (from which South Africa was barred), but in view of the reaction to that country's recent suspension from all international track and field competition it seems to bear repeating. Prime Minister Vorster: "I therefore want to make it quite clear that from South Africa's point of view no mixed sport between whites and nonwhites will be practiced locally, irrespective of the proficiency of the participants.... No matter how proficient one of our people may be in his line of sport, we do not apply that as a criterion, because our policy has nothing to do with that proficiency or lack of proficiency.
"If any person, either locally or abroad, adopts the attitude that he will enter into relations with us only if we are prepared to jettison the separate practicing of sport prevailing among our own people in South Africa, then I want to make it quite clear that, no matter how important those sport relations are in my view, I am not prepared to pay that price. On that score 1 want no misunderstanding whatsoever.
"I also want to say in advance that if, after I have said on these matters what I still want to say, anybody should see in this either the thin edge of the wedge or a surrender of principles, or that it is a step in the direction of diverging from this basic principle, he would simply be mistaken. Because, in respect of this principle, we are not prepared to compromise, we are not prepared to negotiate, and we are not prepared to make any concessions."
ALL YOU COULD ASK FOR
The year's first All-Something football team has come out, and its creator, Ronald Green, sports editor of The Charlotte News, proudly admits that in seven previous years it has never included an on-the-field All-America. Green calls it his All-Southeastern Name Team and it features such stalwarts as Renso Perdoni of Georgia Tech, Wimpy Winther of Mississippi and Houston Hogg of Kentucky. As companions, he picks an All-Tough Team (Force Chamberlain, Jeff Blitz) and an All-Sweet Team (Jim Fair, Tim Good, Buzz Joy). Green names a coaching staff of Ray Commander of Tulane and Chip Wisdom of Georgia, but he's never been able to come up with a better business manager than—are you ready?—Buck Swindle.
THE SIMPSON CASE
The Denver Rockets' signing of Spencer Haywood last year and Ralph Simpson this year has raised a nightmare of difficult questions. When Haywood signed his professional basketball contract, he had two years of college eligibility remaining. His signing represented a breach of the gentleman's agreement between the pros and colleges that underclassmen would be left alone, but it was allowed by the American Basketball Association on the grounds that Haywood, who comes from a family in a ghetto area, was a hardship case. A few peeps of displeasure were heard from individual coaches, but neither broad condemnations nor sanctions—perhaps terminating ABA scouts' free entry to college practices and games—were brought to bear.
Now Simpson, a sophomore at Michigan State when he signed with the Rockets last March, has been allowed by the courts to practice with Denver despite the refusal of ABA Commissioner Jack Dolph to approve his contract. A later hearing will determine if Simpson, another hardship case, can play the full season with the Rockets. If the court says he can, and it is hard to find a legal reason why it would not, it could give talent-hungry pro franchises an impetus to raid the colleges for their best players long before their eligibilities end.
Big-time college football and basketball—and, in some areas, baseball—rely on the pros to leave college athletes alone, and in turn the pros depend on the colleges to operate a de facto farm system. To protect that mutually beneficial arrangement, the college coaches could have made Denver think twice about another raid if they had made a cause cél√®bre of the Haywood case. Now, with the bidding wars between the two professional basketball leagues still on, there may well be other hardship cases signing with the pros, backed by a legal precedent to keep them there.
Breakthroughs in science have often come about in the most casual ways. Take Isaac Newton and gravity, or Archimedes and displacement, or William Taylor and the dimpled golf ball.
You don't know about William Taylor? Shame on you. England does and is erecting a plaque to his memory in the city of Leicester. Up to 60 years ago golf balls sliced, hooked, fluttered, dived and took off in all directions like nothing you ever saw. Then William Taylor put his scientific mind to the problem. His answer was dimples, the little depressions that so characteristically mark the golf ball even today, for in all the years since, no one trying to stabilize the flight of a golf ball has been able to better Taylor's basic design. And just as Newton required only an apple to help him find the answer he sought and Archimedes only a bath, all Taylor needed was a cigar. He had no wind tunnel in which to observe and analyze the disturbances caused by a fast-moving sphere. So he blew cigar smoke at the ball and studied the eddies. Eureka!
Drug use by kids is a national problem, but a bright note comes from Harlem, where a group called the Sports Foundation has devised a method of recognizing early drug use and, sometimes, correcting it. For three years the group has sponsored the Harlem Junior Olympics, a widespread sports competition that annually attracts about 3,000 youths between 9 and 18. Before the youngsters can be active in the Olympics they have to undergo physical examinations. The exams reveal drug use and, not uncommonly, the presence of disease. Community organizations are then brought into the picture. If a youngster stays in the year-round Olympic program, eventually contact can be made with scholarship agencies and college placement bureaus.
Olvin McBarnette, executive officer of Sports Foundation, explains, "These kids don't have doctors, teachers, lawyers and other professionals living on their block. About the only image they have is that of the thug. But there is a deep interest in sport, and we try to reach them on that level."
PLAYING WITH FIGURES
The "11th" game in collegiate football this season is causing an upheaval in the matter of individual statistics. Since 1936 National Collegiate Sports Services, the statistical arm of the NCAA, has recognized individual champions in such categories as rushing, passing, punting and scoring on the basis of season totals. This year, because some schools will play an 11th game while others will stay with 10 or even nine, the standard has been changed to average performance per game if the player has appeared in at least three-quarters of his team's games. This means that a John Reaves could pass for 3,300 yards in Florida's 11 games and still rank behind a Rex Kern with, say, 2,135 yards in only seven of Ohio State's nine games. Kern's per-game average of 305 yards would be better than Reaves' 300, and Kern's would therefore rate higher.
If the system had been in existence last year it would have had such a significant effect. Ed Marinaro of Cornell averaged more yards rushing (156.6) than did Steve Owens of Oklahoma (152.3), yet Owens, who played one more game, accumulated more total yardage and was the NCAA leader in that category. Owens' position as "the nation's leading rusher" helped him win the Heisman Trophy, awarded to the outstanding player in the country, and didn't hurt a bit when it came time to negotiate his professional contract. On the other hand, who is Ed Marinaro?
MOST POPULAR GIRL
Lady jockeys per se are no longer news, but a 16-year-old blonde named Paula Herber seems worthy of mention. Paula, who rode this summer at Ellis Park, a small track on the Ohio River near Henderson, Ky., came up one day with a triple, a fine day's work for any jock. Moreover, her mounts paid $17.20, $13.20 and $20.40, prices to savor. The first two comprised the daily double and paid $60 (a startling low price in view of the winning odds in each race). Paula's glittering racing career has been interrupted for the time being, since she is only a senior in high school and has had to go back to the classroom.
Everybody knows about the Wishbone-T formation of Texas' Darrell Royal, don't they? Sure. That's the offense Royal introduced in 1968 in which the fullback lines up one step closer to the trench than the other two deep backs. It's also the offense that a lot of other collegiate teams might be using this season—the Wishbone coupled with the Triple Option, the attack that won the national championship for Texas last year. Now we hear that Royal didn't invent the formation, not that he ever claimed he did. The coach who does claim he did is Charles (Spud) Cason of Monnig Junior High in Fort Worth, who has a play-book to prove it—The Original High School Wishbone. It seems Cason's teams at Monnig Junior High have been using the Wishbone for 18 years and doing very well with it, too. They have not been defeated in their last 42 games, and they have had 10 undefeated seasons in the past 16.
"I'd be foolish to suggest that Darrell got the idea from me," says Cason, "I think it's just interesting that one of the greats came up with something we'd been doing for a long time."
HOW DO YOU SPELL IT?
Municipal Stadium in Kansas City has long had a reputation for having the best playing field in major league baseball. When the Royals were on national TV on Labor Day, the surface received flattering compliments over the air, with the result that the stadium switchboard got 10 calls from interested people around the country asking what sort of artificial turf was used in the Kansas City park. Several of the callers said they wanted to know in order to settle wagers. Was it AstroTurf? Was it Tartan? Was it some new Third Force? All seemed surprised and maybe even a little disappointed when they were told the field is covered with grass, old-fashioned grass, patiently nurtured by Head Groundkeeper George Toma.
THEY SAID IT
•Carl DePasqua, Pitt football coach, on team discipline: "Football is not a democracy. There's nothing to debate. The players can debate in political science class."
•Charlie Tate, University of Miami football coach, on his plans to take his squad out of town the night before home games: "After the final practice before a game last year we would take them directly from the dressing room to the Faculty Club for a nice sit-down dinner. Then the entire squad would go to a movie together. But as soon as the team would get back from the movies, females would swarm around. It was unreal. You just got to do something drastic to keep their feet on the ground."
•Fred Abbott, 6'3", 233-pound University of Florida middle linebacker and "potential All-America," explaining his decision to quit football last week: "The game has been exploited and has evolved into a business."