SORRY, NO GAS
Gasless Sunday is now a fact of life, but a SPORTS ILLUSTRATED survey shows that its effect depends a lot on where you live and what you want to do. For instance, a sardonic reporter in Little Rock said, "Gasless Sunday doesn't affect anything in Arkansas. Trends are always slow to hit us. We'll hear about gas rationing two years after it goes into effect." But in Homestead, Fla. a dockmaster said business was off 90%, and the number of sun worshipers on the beach at Key Biscayne, near Miami, normally between 10,000 and 20,000, dropped into the hundreds.
Sunday business at urban bowling alleys was steady, but at those out in the country on normally busy highways it fell drastically. In Houston church attendance soared, and in League City, Texas the Rev. Keith Grimes said, "The gasoline shortage is the greatest thing for Christianity since World War II."
In California and Florida people continued to flock to Knott's Berry Farm and Disneyland and Disney World, all conveniently located in heavily populated areas. On the other hand, Harv Boughton, who runs an isolated bait camp, grocery store and gas station on the Texas Gulf Coast, said, "I stocked up, expecting a big Saturday run in advance of the Sunday closing. It turned out to be my worst Saturday since last April, and Sunday was just as bad."
December 17, 1973
In Utah business at ski areas was fine, as good as could be, probably because Utah resorts are close to urban centers. Yet ski areas in Colorado were jammed, too, and Mammoth Mountain in California reported double the number of skiers it had on the comparable weekend a year ago. One reason for Mammoth's big business was that virtually every gas station on US 395, the highway from Los Angeles, 325 miles away, was open. A resort manager in Upper Michigan said, "This spirit of sacrifice is the bunk. So long as it is voluntary, the gas stations are going to be open up here." That attitude backfired in Hanford, Calif., where a man who dutifully closed his station on Sunday went and got a gun and shot up the pumps of a rival across the street who stayed open.
Many skiers remained on the slopes through Monday. "I called in sick," one man said, "because this might be my last shot." Bud Hayward of June Mountain in California reported good business, but was still pessimistic. "We'll get our lumps about Jan. 6," he said. "Schools go back in session then, and we'll probably have rationing. When that comes, we're in trouble."
Some resorts in remote areas were affected already. The manager of the Canterbury Inn at Ocean Shores, Wash., on the Pacific about 140 miles from Seattle and Portland, said, "It's the first time in the two years I've been manager that we did not have a full house on the weekend." On the Atlantic Coast, at Assateague National Seashore in Maryland, only four families were camping out in pleasant weather; there had been 37 families on the last non-gasless Sunday. The number of people on a party fishing boat that operates Sundays out of Ocean City, Md. dropped from 50 to 15.
Sunday driving was off sharply in most places, and even car-rental agencies were affected by the gas shortage. "We're not making any claims now about full tanks," said a Hertz man. At Boyne Mountain, a ski resort 250 miles from Detroit, owner Everett Kircher was planning to keep reserves of gasoline in big storage tanks. "We're not going into the service-station business," he said, "but we'll try to keep enough on hand to allot 10 gallons to each car. We won't sell it on Sunday, but we'll have it on hand Saturday nights to top off skiers' tanks so they don't have to worry about being stranded." Penn National Race Course in Grantville, Pa. was admitting cars with four or more passengers for half the normal parking fee. Stratton Mountain in Vermont established a "Stratton Ski Saver Car Pool," with a toll-free number for patrons to call. In Boston there was talk of reviving the famous old "ski train" out of North Station, which has not run in 23 years.
Life-styles changed. A hunter in Iowa, who always felt a little fearful of being shot during the crowded opening weekend of the hunting season, said he not only saw no other hunters this time, he did not even hear any guns. "It was eerie," he said. Owners of campers and trailers were renting campsites, settling their vehicles down more or less permanently and commuting back and forth in gas-saving compacts. Television anticipated a rise in the number of people watching weekend sports on TV because of the new immobility. A couple in Atlanta, who had planned a camping trip to the mountains, pitched their tent instead in the backyard of an apartment complex. Unhappily, the building manager objected to their campfire, and they had to strike camp and look elsewhere. Near Philadelphia an itinerant farrier named James Hall, who had been traveling about in a truck equipped with anvil and forge, stopped moving and opened a blacksmith shop. Business was immediately brisk: eight horses the first Saturday. In Houston a service station was held up by a bandit who made his getaway on a bicycle. Car thieves in that city were said to be passing up big cars in order to concentrate on Volkswagens. In Goldfield, Nev. a legal brothel complained that Sunday business, dependent on autos, had gone to hell.
In Kansas and North Carolina ticket sales to the Liberty Bowl game at Memphis between Kansas and North Carolina State were discouragingly slow because would-be buyers in those states could not figure how to drive to Memphis and back if there was no gas available on Sunday. And in central Ohio the planned exodus of Ohio State fans to California for the Rose Bowl was dealt a triple blow by the gas curfew, the paucity of airline flights and a warning from Amtrak that those without train reservations by Dec. 1 could forget about riding the rails to Pasadena.
UCLA's extraordinary winning streak, which went to 78 straight last Saturday, tends to obscure the specifics of the team's fantastic won-lost record. From the start of the 1966-67 season through last weekend the Bruins had 212 victories and five defeats, a winning percentage of .977.
You can recall the five losses, can't you? Trivia players can. It's hardly proper to call these few conquerors of UCLA trivial, but the players also ask for the season, the site and the score. The answers: Houston, 1967-68, at the Astrodome, 71-69; Southern California, 1968-69, at UCLA, 46-44; Oregon, 1969-70, at Eugene, 78-65; Southern California, 1969-70, at UCLA, 87-86; and Notre Dame, 1970-71, at South Bend, 89-82.
ALL HORSE, ALMOST
His successes with Secretariat and Riva Ridge are better known, but Trainer Lucien Laurin has another remarkable horse to boast about, if he were so inclined. Spanish Riddle, a 4-year-old owned by R. E. Anderson and trained by Laurin, was a winner at Belmont and set the Saratoga track record for six furlongs. In August, during a workout at Saratoga, he broke his right foreleg. A long with the fracture, in the lower part of the leg, there was almost total destruction of tendons, ligaments and blood vessels. Because of the extensive damage, it seemed obvious that the horse would have to be destroyed.
Laurin resisted the idea, and a noted orthopedist named Dr. Edward Keefer was consulted. After examining the animal, Keefer suggested something new in thoroughbred racing—amputation. The operation was performed in October. Afterward, an artificial hoof was attached to the stump of the animal's leg. Spanish Riddle was soon clumping about, limping, but showing little or no sign of pain. If he continues to improve, he will eventually be sent to stud.
AND TO ALL A GOOD NIGHT
When Chicago Cub Third Baseman Ron Santo became the first major league ballplayer to exercise his right of refusal to be traded, the Portland Oregon Journal wondered if major league baseball's new anti-trade rule would henceforth be known as the Santo Clause.
RETURN OF THE PRODIGAL?
Bobby Hull is not completely happy with the way things are going with his Winnipeg Jets (SI, Dec. 10), and rumors say that he might even leave the Jets after this season. Chicago sportswriter Bob Verdi asked Bill Wirtz, president of the Chicago Black Hawks, with whom Hull gained fame and from whom he jumped to the World Hockey League in 1972, would he come back to the Hawks?
"It could happen," said Wirtz. "I can't say much about it because we're involved in litigation claiming he's still our property. But I'll tell you this. The door is still open, and we'd love to have him back. And if he wants to come back to the NHL but not to the Black Hawks, there's no way we'd block his return."
Hull said, "I'm flattered and surprised that they'd want me back after all the trouble I've caused. I hadn't even thought about it until a couple of weeks ago when we were in Chicago and I called Billy Reay, the Hawk coach. He indicated the door would be open.
"But I've still got a job to do in Winnipeg," Hull added, "and my first allegiance is to Ben Hatskin, the Jets' owner." If, however, Hatskin sells the team and it leaves Winnipeg, which also has been rumored, under the terms of his contract Hull could elect to become a free agent.
"If all that happens," Hull said, "you could start speculating. But I haven't got many playing days left, you know."
NAME OF A NAME
People who go to or have gone to Miami University generally react rather sharply when the University of Miami is mentioned. Miami University, which is in Oxford, Ohio, was founded in 1809 and has 15,371 students, according to The 1973 World Almanac. The University of Miami is in Coral Gables, Fla., was founded in 1925 and has 14,441 students, according to the same source.
Yet—and here is what continually galls the Oxford Miamis—the Florida school is usually called just plain Miami while the older, bigger one is referred to as Miami of Ohio.
A California alumnus of the old school, named Jerry Steimle, has written a satirical story to dramatize the injustice of this popular nomenclature. In his fable, the Pennsylvania state university at Indiana, Pa., once called Indiana State, changes its name to the University of Indiana, appoints a big-time coach and starts an intensive recruiting campaign for football players. Pretty soon it is playing outstanding teams from all over the country, builds and fills a big football stadium and is consistently on the pollsters' lists of top teams. By 1984, that signal year, it is so prominent in the sports world that newspapers have to come up with something to distinguish it from the less successful Big Ten team in Bloomington, Ind. "That's no problem," says an oldtimer, "there's a precedent. Look at what we did with Miami University."
Of course, everyone says, and thus, more than a century and a half after its founding, the Big Ten school comes to be known as Indiana of Indiana.
Mike O'Hara, the professional track tycoon, says his International Track Association is not discouraged by the financial wounds it suffered last year and will begin its second season in February. The schedule includes three meets on national TV and two meets in Japan. "We lost a little money last year," O'Hara said last week, "but we weren't disappointed with attendance. We figured it would take about 8,000 per meet to break even, and we averaged about 7,500."
Some purists among track fans are generally unenthusiastic about the pro meets, but O'Hara hopes that the combination of hoopla and name performers will attract its own audience. His instructions to his athletes last year still hold good: "You are athletes first, and concentration upon your competition is certainly important. But keep in mind that we are entertainers also, and a bit of show biz will be appreciated by your fans.... Wave during introductions, smile, turn to all sides of the arena and acknowledge applause."
And try to run a little faster.
THEY SAID IT
•Ara Parseghian, Notre Dame football coach, on his Armenian name: "To pronounce my name, you take 'par' as in golf, 'seag' as in Seagram's whiskey, and 'yen' as in Japanese money. Just think of a drunken Japanese golfer."
•Fred Taylor, Ohio State basketball coach, asked if he had nightmares after the overtime loss to Notre Dame in a game his Buckeyes appeared to have wrapped up with 16 seconds to play: "I slept like a baby—I woke up and cried every two hours."
•Lee Corso, Indiana football coach, about a still uneaten fruitcake sent to the coaching staff anonymously before the team's final game: "Man, when you're 2 and 8, you don't mess around with an unsigned fruitcake."