Leonard Asimow,an associate professor of mathematics at the University of Wyoming, runs six oreight miles every day across the rolling plains of Laramie. Frequently, to addspice to his workouts and to take his mind off the 30-mph winds andtemperatures in the 20s, he pretends he is in a race to the finish with StevePrefontaine. A couple of weeks ago, not having seen a living creature on theplains since the last pronghorn antelope departed for the winter, he wasmanaging by heroic effort to stay a few steps in front of Pre when he wasstartled by a noise behind him.
Asimow lookedback warily. It was a runner. "Do you compete?" he asked after a while,appreciating a stranger's stride. "Yes," was the reply. "Are youfrom Oregon?" The suspicion was dawning on Asimow. "Yes," said therunner. "You wouldn't happen to be Steve Prefontaine?" He was, just outfor a 20-mile spin while his Dodge van was being repaired in a local garage.Pre loped the last mile to the Wyoming gym. Asimow ran for his life.
March 23, 1975
When last we lefthim, Earl Anthony (SI, Nov. 25, 1974) was moving—exorably, as it turnedout—toward becoming the Professional Bowling Association's first$100,000-a-year man. He missed his goal by $415, but rather than deflate himthe setback seems only to have turned a whetted appetite ravenous. This yearAnthony opened on a tear every bit as devastating as Johnny Miller's ingolf.
After ninetournaments, he has two wins, two seconds and a third. His earnings—$33,500—areahead of the $19,110 he had made by the end of nine tournaments in 1974. Hisscoring is up, too. Two years ago he set a season record with a 215 average. Heimproved that to 219 last year and this week was a mite over that.
It all projectsout to at least eight and possibly 10 wins in 1975 and the kind of money thatwas making Arnold Palmer rich only 12 years back. While Anthony won six of 28tournaments last season, he will have from 32 to 35 to aim at this year andsome $200,000 more in purses, which are expected to total about $2.5 million.Because pro bowling now outdraws college basketball and golf on Saturdayafternoon TV, ABC has extended the winter series from 14 to 16 weeks. Anthonydoubtlessly would be verging on national celebrity were he not hopelesslyuncharismatic. To improve his image, his children persuaded him to grow hishair a while ago. He tried but soon was back to the old crew cut. Said the hairtickled his ears.
Several weeks agothe CBS-TV vice-president for sports, Robert Wussler, worried publicly that theNew York Knicks, the Los Angeles Lakers and the Milwaukee Bucks would not makethe National Basketball Association playoffs. His problem: markets—and the twobiggest are New York City and L.A. As Wussler says, "People in Los Angelesare less apt to watch, say, a Buffalo-Boston playoff game than if the Lakerswere involved." Milwaukee is a special case. It has Kareem Abdul-Jabbar,who would be box office if he were playing for the Bemidji Blue Bottles.
CBS is in thesecond year of a three-year $27 million contract to televise NBA games andplayoffs. Without television revenues a number of the teams would be in seriousfinancial trouble. And without solid ratings there possibly will be no furtherTV after the contract expires.
The obvioussolution is to restock the racked-by-age Lakers and Knicks with establishedpros from the other clubs and assure their presence in the 1976 playoffs etseq. This would do nothing for the sport, however, or for the followers ofBuffalo and Seattle and Houston and Kansas City-Omaha, who at last have teamsthat not only win with consistency but arc fun to watch. Their turnaround fromhave-nots to haves is what sport is, or should be, all about.
Now comes newsthat Abdul-Jabbar wants to leave Milwaukee. The NBA's most valuable player inthree of the last five seasons is reported to have said he will play only inNew York, where he was born, or in Los Angeles, where he went to college. Itwill do nothing for the credibility of the game if Abdul-Jabbar winds up incither city. He has every right to seek to increase his earnings or, if he isdissatisfied with the situation he finds himself in, to force a move. But toNew York or Los Angeles? Clap hands, here comes Wussler.
On the record,the four young boxers out of Superior, Mont, are no match for the proverbialwet paper bag, but after the frustrating events in the state AAU tournament atStevensville, don't count on it. They may just punch their way throughconcrete.
First there wasLevi McGillvray, fighting at 106 pounds. He got so tired whopping a boy fromChoteau around the ring that he had to retire. Wayne Colman, 113 pounds, wasnext and every bit as aggressive. His trouble was hair. It obscured his vision,and when he admitted that he could not control the mop, he retired.
Brother AmosColman, at 119 pounds, followed with a terrible vengeance. He knocked hisopponent from one corner to the other, he battered him along the ropes, andwhen he had him set up for the crusher, he fired a vicious shot. He missed,which is probably fortunate. The force of the blow dislocated Amos' shoulder.He retired.
No way WillieMcClellan was going to retire. In against a Stevensville lad, the 131-pounderwas jobbed instead. Superior's Mineral Independent reports that Willie had thelocal entry "helpless on the ropes, and possibly would have ended thefight...but for interference from a referee whose only past experience was onthe P.A. system.... The two local judges favored their boy and an outside judgegave Willie the fight by all three rounds."
The MineralIndependent account ended on an ominous note. "Superior is lining up moreopposition."
The scouting report on the press-room attendant at the New York Yankees' springtraining field in Fort Lauderdale: Good handouts, no hit. His name? JoeDiMaggio.
THE OYSTER IS HISWORLD
Dr. William A.Stanton, director of international operations for Du Pont's photo productsdepartment, is a man who gets around, but what he likes to get around most is aplate of fresh, cold, plump, salty, raw oysters. He devours bushels of themevery winter and allows, unblushingly, that the best he has ever eaten arefound not far from his native doorstep, in Lower Chesapeake Bay.
Next on hisalltime list—and rated as superb—are the bivalve mollusks of ChincoteagueIsland, Va., Sydney, Australia, Long Island and West Mersey, England. Those ofNew Orleans, Marseilles, France, Seattle, Myrtle Beach, S.C. and PatuxentRiver, Md. he classifies as excellent.
Dr. Stanton'sratings fit nicely with a theory developed by Archaeologist Perry S. Flegel.After excavating Indian sites for 23 years in Dorchester County, Md.,mid-Chesapeake country, he concluded that the region's earliest settlers ate aswell as modern gourmets. They dined on abundant catches of sturgeon, sturgeonroe, diamondback turtle, venison, wild geese and wild turkey and positivelygorged on oysters, which often were 11 inches long and four inches wide. Theone small catch is that the oysters were of the Choptank River variety, ratedonly good by Stanton, along with those of Paris, London, Cape Town, Rio deJaneiro and Maurice River, N.J. Had Stanton been a Choptank, he probably wouldhave persuaded the tribe to move 100 miles south.
ASK AND YOU SHALLRECEIVE
"We want Fox! We want Fox!" yelled the students of Hapeville (Ga.) HighSchool during a basketball game. Coach Bill Speck called time and summoned JeffFoxworthy, who has an excellent sense of humor but not much of a jump shot,from the end of the bench. They chatted quietly at courtside, then in wentFoxworthy—to the student section, where he sat down. Stunned for a moment, thestudents quickly regained their voices. "We got Fox!" they cheered."We got Fox!"
SCHOOL OF HARDKNOCKS
Students at Towson State College outside of Baltimore have gone bonkers over acourse being given this spring—Mug-a-Thug 101. Self-defense is the subject. Topass, they have to beat up the professor.
Last week, whilethe colleges awaited a White House decision on whether the Title IX guidelinesto a Federal education law meant equal scholarships and equal facilities forwomen, some of them, along with professional sports organizations, werewrestling with the consequences of another Government advisory. This one wasissued by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission as a guide tointerpreting Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. While it does not requirethat the schools and clubs advertise coaching openings, the commission doesmake it clear they would be better off doing so, and the courts have backedthis position strongly. So they have advertised, and the Walter Mittys in ourmidst have responded. Oh, have they responded!
"You wouldn'tbelieve some of the people who apply," said football Coach Tony Mason ofthe University of Cincinnati, after advertising for a defensive secondarycoach. "They think it's like applying for a garbage collector'sjob."
Among theapplicants for the head coaching position with the Kansas City Chiefs—PaulWiggin got it—were a dentist who had been a successful YMCA coach and stressedhis ability to motivate players—without special drills, to be sure; aman-and-woman team (not man and wife) who said they would split a $36,000contract—she claimed to be able to psychoanalyze people and he was to polishthe resultant product; two 18-year-old boys who had just finished high schoolfootball careers and offered to skip college.
Ernie Barrett,athletic director at Kansas State, got a letter from a 24-year-old insurancesalesman who pointed out how much "national recognition" State wouldenjoy by virtue of the lack of experience of its head coach. Barrett also heardfrom a school administrator in East Germany who said he had coached "littlekids," and a 29-year-old blind aspirant from New Orleans who included aplay in Braille. He wrote a six-page letter telling Barrett that he would usethe single wing, admired UCLA, Arkansas and Tennessee and said that he did notthink being blind would hinder him. Perhaps it wouldn't, but the single wingwould.
HARK THE LARK ONTHE LUTE
The men's basketball coach at the University of Iowa is Lute Olson, coachingthe women is Lark Birdsong, and the bearer of these glad tidings is Iowa'sSports Information Director George Wine—sober.
THEY SAID IT
•Paul Lynde, television comedian, on how to cure a manof compulsive gambling: "Give him the Atlanta Falcons and fourpoints."
•Ben Hogan, on today's golfers: "If a fellowmisses from 40 feet, he grimaces and agonizes like a cowboy struck in the heartby an Indian's arrow."
•Tates Locke, basketball coach at Clemson, which isbeing investigated by the NCAA: "Newspaper stories don't bother me, just mystomach. There's a big softball in there. I'll wake up at three in the morningand somebody's hitting fun-goes."
•Gilles Gratton, 22-year-old goalie for the TorontoToros, asked what advice he would give youngsters: "Quit while there isstill time—at about 12 or 13 years of age."
•Lenny Wirtz, veteran NBA referee: "Our job is theonly one where you have to start out perfectly and get better eachtime."
•Larry Lacewell, assistant football coach at Oklahoma,reviewing the 1974 season: "Our biggest mistake was not taking Wake Forestlightly enough."