Stand back, superfans. Here comes Ultrafan. His name is Loudy—Hurst Loudenslager, to be more formal—and he has been guest of honor at not one but two testimonial dinners given by the Baltimore Colts this winter. The first fete was footed by present players, the second by oldtimers like John Unitas, Tom Matte and Gino Marchetti. What so endears Loudy to the Colts?
1) For the last 20 years he has seen the Colts off every time they left the local airport for a road game and greeted them every time they came back, whether it was 4:30 p.m. or 4:30 a.m. (Well, there was one exception, when Loudy suffered a heart attack back in 1966—and that's certainly excusable.)
2) Loudy doesn't bring just himself. He carries along a portable record player that sends forth the stirring strains of the Colts' Marching Song.
3) As former Colt Bill Pellington observes, "If you won 13-12 or lost 57-0, he always had something kind to say."
January 20, 1974
4) He flies the team pennant on a pole that stands in front of his house.
5) On each player's birthday, Loudy calls up and sings Happy Birthday to him, and his wife Flo bakes a walnut cake. So far Flo has baked 323 cakes.
While avoiding the altitude at Bogotà, where the U.S. Davis Cup team was being beaten by the Colombians (page 54), Stan Smith was still up in the mountains. His choice was Steamboat Springs, Colo., where in only his second season he proved a good match for many a more experienced skier.
Merv Rettenmund, traded by the Orioles to the Reds, had some second thoughts after receiving a letter from a young lady in Cincinnati. "Two paragraphs and I was ready to leap in front of a train," Rettenmund says. In that space the girl informed the new Cincinnatian that the Reds were cheap, ultraconservative, racist, impatient and wishy-washy. She didn't mention successful. She further informed Rettenmund that the best he could look forward to was part-time play, and this only if he kept his mouth shut at all times. "I didn't write this same warning to Richie Sheinblum last year," she concluded regretfully, "and the club almost drove him wacky."
Women's Lib-wise, the University of Maryland has come full circle. First, women were declared eligible for male varsity intercollegiate competition, then Terry Schrider made the swimming team as a diver. Now Dorothy McKnight, coordinator of intercollegiate athletics for women at Maryland, wishes Schrider had stayed out. The only way to upgrade women's programs, she says, is to have athletes like Schrider competing against one another. Miss McKnight is sponsoring a measure to bar women from men's teams.
After Bobby Berger, a 46-year-old Philadelphia Phileas Fogg, failed twice in attempts to launch a transatlantic balloon, he suggested that maybe Philadelphians could "scrape up whatever pennies they have and drop them in a sock and put them in a mailbox; I could get off the ground with a couple tons of pennies." Around Christmastime, and for a craft with an uplifting name like The Spirit of Man, that did not seem so unreasonable. Unfortunately, when Berger went to the post office to pick up his Christmas stockings, he was greeted with unhappy news. There were only four socks. Besides that, postal authorities said they did not fit the legal description of mail, could not be delivered and would be held in the dead-letter office until their senders claimed them. Not even Berger's trial balloons get off the ground.
Here is a fairly typical rower sculling along the Schuylkill on a refreshingly cool morning. The stony stoicism of this oarsman is a little more monumental, however, because he is actually a sculpture of the late John B. Kelly Sr., Philadelphia rowing enthusiast.
Actress Elena Verdugo, who plays the part of a receptionist in Marcus Welby's clinic on television, unwinds after her work before the cameras by playing baseball with some neighborhood kids. They invited her to substitute one day for a no-show and she has been a regular ever since. A baseball nut as a child, the actress sports a crooked finger, dislocated long ago when a baseball hit her in the hand. And what is Dr. Welby doing for that crooked finger?
When Coach Chuck Mills took his Wake Forest football team to Japan to play against two Japanese colleges, he was overwhelmed by the hospitality and politeness. In the first game in Osaka the referee approached a Wake Forest player, bowed low and discreetly murmured that the young man had committed an infraction of the rules. So sorry, the referee said, but the very next time he broke the rule he would have to be penalized 15 yards. When this was reported back to the Deacons' huddle, it seemed to have enormous effect. The team did not receive a penalty during the entire game, winning it 28-3.