THE PATERNO ADDRESS
Joe Paterno, who turned down a $1.3 million contract with the New England Patriots to remain as head football coach at Perm State, was awarded the signal honor last week of being asked to deliver the principal address at Penn State's commencement exercises. After apologizing ("You have every right to feel let down that after four years of hard work you have to listen to a coach at your graduation"), Paterno made some salient points. "The fact that there was generous praise from many places for my decision to remain at Penn State made me wonder just how strong our commitment to materialism had become," he commented. And, "One of the tragedies of Watergate is to see so many bright young men, barely over 30, who have so quickly prostituted their honor and decency in order to get ahead, to be admired, to stay on the team." And, "I'm sure it is obvious to all of you that you are going out into a fragmented, disillusioned and oftentimes confused society, a society that has promised more than it is now willing, or perhaps able, to deliver.... There is corruption, fear, mistrust, lack of leadership, unequal justice, privileged economic groups, all the abuses you would expect in a nation without consistent direction [or] common purpose [in] a people unsure of moral commitments."
Then, as a commencement speaker should, Paterno turned to hope. He quoted W. H. Auden on the death of Sigmund Freud ("Every day they die among us, those who were doing us some good, and knew it was never enough...") and said, "You may not make our society perfect, but you can make it better."
He said, "We will never again have supreme confidence that everything we do is right, not after Vietnam and Kent State...but we can stop tearing ourselves apart. We shall act with good intentions, but at times we will be wrong. When we are, let us admit it and try to right the situation....
"I tell my team: keep hustling. Go all out on every play no matter how bad things look, because if you keep hustling something good will happen. And usually it does.
"So keep hustling. You'll do all right. And enjoy yourselves, enjoy life. Have some fun. Maybe you will be the uncommon man who can do more than anyone, but in any case do as those two great losers in life, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, did. Have a hell of a good time doing it."
Caddies are a rapidly disappearing species in the U.S., but in South Africa it's the other way round. It is reported that so many caddies descended upon the Kensington Golf Club in Johannesburg that clubs, whips and an electrified truncheon were used to keep them away. The caddies then reversed their field and boycotted Kensington, charging that 150 of them who came to the club were rounded up and corraled in an enclosure with a guard dog. "Strict security measures have been necessary to maintain discipline," explained Arthur Huggett, secretary-manager of the club.
There is such an insistent demand for caddying assignments that the once-coveted post of caddie master is now avoided as a "death job." A caddie master was murdered last year, presumably by a frustrated caddie who was not given work.
Les Austin, who owns a Miami bar and also thoroughbred racehorses, claimed a 3-year-old colt for $7,500 at Calder Race Course. The colt fell during the claiming race and had to be destroyed. Under the rules the colt belonged to Austin from the moment the race began, and he had to pay for it. While this happens in racing from time to time, the incident was particularly galling because it was the first time in the three-year history of Calder's all-weather racing surface that a horse had to be destroyed.
Five races later Austin could not locate his 6-year-old gelding, Copper Miner, in a fast-moving field and thoughts of another spill flashed through his mind. All that had happened, however, was that Copper Miner refused to leave the gate when the race started.
His gala day over, Austin muttered, "I think I'll get a little drunk in my own place tonight."
BY THE BOOK
Now the thing is, gang, we're a team. We pull together. I don't care about long hair or short hair, whether you're far out or straight arrow, just as long as you all know we're in this thing to win. We're a team. Right? Right!
And then the assistant coaches started to turn out books, and now Colorado State University's football squad has to live with the fact that it is not one team but two: these fellows over here are the offense and those over there are the defense, and never the twain shall meet—except passing each other running on and off the field after a turnover.
To be specific, Colorado State's new Offensive Coach Doug Gerhart (offensive coordinator in the ornate idiom of big-time football) has written a book called Coaching an Explosive Passing Attack. The work modestly professes to be a reliable guide to establishing an unstoppable pass offense. The dust jacket blurbs, "...the battle plan for mobilizing the quick-striking air offense...provides a blueprint for a passing attack that can score against any set-up."
"Any" is not italicized, but it might as well be. Or so it might seem to Colorado State's new Defensive Coach Charley Armey (sorry, defensive coordinator). Armey has turned out his own book, somewhat less explosively entitled Winning Football with the 43 Defense. The promise in Armey's book is counterproductive to that in Gerhart's. "Adjust to and tear apart every offensive game situation," the cover blurb declares. "Get the incredible flexibility you need in order to destroy everything your opponents' offenses throw at you!"
The first thing the casual reader feels is: Colorado State is going to win every game 111-0. The second thing is: what a battle it would be if only you could see Colorado State's offensive unit in action against Colorado State's defensive unit. And the third thing is: Colorado State better not be 1-10 again this year.
TEMPER, TEMPER, TEMPER
Florida's Attorney General, Robert Shevin, has ruled that the use of live rabbits to teach greyhounds to chase the mechanical bunny during races makes a perpetrator guilty of cruelty and liable to six months in jail and/or a fine of $1,000.
Asked for his reaction to the ruling, Ralph Ryan, successful owner and trainer of greyhounds, overreacted: "I have no opinion on the ruling. There's too much written about this thing already by you no-good sportswriters." Asked by a no-good sportswriter whether he used live rabbits, Ryan burst out: "No, I use sportswriters like you, and when we get a broken-down dog we give him a typewriter."
This sort of thing has happened before—a college basketball player suspended for violating NCAA rules by playing in unauthorized games during the off-season—but the punishment seems unduly harsh in the case of Jim Bradley, a potential All-America from Northern Illinois University. Bradley, 6'10" and a superb rebounder, has been barred from college competition until Jan. 1, 1974, which means he will miss his team's first nine games. The reason? He returned this spring to the Gary area in Indiana, where he grew up, to play basketball for an organization trying to raise funds for youth work among ghetto kids. The off-season competition was not recognized by the NCAA, and Bradley had agreed to play in it under an assumed name, "as long as the kids know it's me," the idea being to show the youngsters a local kid who had broken the ghetto pattern through excellence in sport.
Bradley knew he was breaking the rule and so did the unknown person who reported the violation, and technically the suspension is justified. The NCAA has difficulty policing such tournaments in any case, and often ignores them. It could not ignore Bradley and enforced the rule. But, philosophically, such Draconian justice seems sadly out of line. Right now college players have NCAA approval for tours of Red China and Spain, where they will be doing good work and will have all expenses paid. Bradley did good work on his own, paid his own expenses to get there and got zapped for doing it.
The rule was established to protect players from the unsavory types who hung around the high-powered summer leagues. Perhaps the NCAA should take the initiative and amend the rule so that it works with, instead of against, worthwhile off-season basketball competition.
Not the designated hitter but limited substitution is proving to be the new thing in high school baseball, says David Arnold of the National Federation of State High School Associations. "Iowa has used it for years," says Arnold, "and now all of the state associations that use National Baseball Alliance rules have limited substitution."
The rule says that any of the nine starters may leave and reenter the lineup once, as long as the player returns to the same spot in the batting order. Once a substitute is taken out he cannot return. A substitute pitcher must remain on the mound until he disposes of the batter (or a base runner is picked off).
"It brings baseball closer to football and basketball, which have free substitution," says Ward Brown of the Indiana High School Athletic Association. "One of the reasons for school athletics is to get as many boys competing as possible so the game becomes fun, and not strictly a win-or-lose proposition."
Ken Schreiber, a high school coach in La Porte, Ind., Charles O. Finley's hometown, says, "Finley was all for this kind of thing, but I was apprehensive about it at first. I thought it was too drastic and that it would change the whole nature of the game. I'm a believer now. I'm not for completely free substitution, but limited substitution is good. It's getting a lot more kids into the game. We have one who has only two official at bats, but he's stolen six bases and scored eight runs. We use him as a pinch runner for our clean-up hitter, and his quickness has won us three one-run games."
"I'm a member of the San Francisco Fire Department," writes Richard P. Allen, "and for the past three years the department has sponsored an entry in the annual jumping frog contest in Calaveras County. This year's entry, Spitfire III, jumped respectably but did not get past the qualifying round. Even so, his performance is being hailed as a tremendous victory because of what happened to our frogs the two previous years. Spitfire I looked like a real winner, so good in fact that the training team arrived days ahead of time to pick out a campsite and build an artificial pond where Spitfire could stay until the big day. Everything went well until the night before the contest. After tucking Spitfire in the team went out to celebrate an almost certain victory. When they returned much later they were horrified to find that a raccoon had gotten into the pond and disposed of our hero. The next year the department returned with Son of Spitfire. When members of the team went out celebrating the night before the contest, they prudently took Son of Spitfire along with them. But hours later, as they rolled out of the last bar, they forgot all about Son, and when they went looking for him the next morning they found him dead on a barstool.
"So you can see why we are all so happy around here that Spitfire III was able to compete at all. He's splashing around some pond up in Calaveras County now, having been turned loose after his performance, the feeling being that he had a hell of a better chance of surviving on his own in the wilds than with a group of drunken firemen."
THEY SAID IT
•Pepper Rodgers, UCLA football coach, on his 1973 schedule: "I'd much rather open with Alaska than Nebraska. Unfortunately, Alaska doesn't give a very big guarantee."
•Bob Lilly, Dallas Cowboy defensive tackle, admitting his 1973 salary will largely be in deferred payments: "I never thought my biggest worry would be income taxes."
•Richard Petty, one of the NASCAR drivers who have refused to race at Indianapolis: "A man must want money awful bad to drive there."