When World Championship Tennis scheduled its 1975 doubles championship in Mexico City, it had the foresight to obtain from the Mexican government a letter of agreement stating that no player would be barred from the tournament. Nevertheless, last week defending champions Frew McMillan and Bob Hewitt, both residents of South Africa, were forced to leave Mexico under circumstances reminiscent of an old spy movie.
A few hours after he checked into a Mexico City hotel, Hewitt was wakened by Mexican immigration officials and told to pack up immediately. His request to see the Australian ambassador (he travels on an Australian passport) or a WCT official was ignored. He was escorted to an airport motel, where, according to WCT's George Pharr, "his phone was dismantled, and he shared a room with two immigration officers who slept, snoring, in the other bed."
Meanwhile, McMillan, his wife and two children were detained by customs officials at the airport and then taken to the same motel. McMillan's pleas for assistance were similarly denied and a few hours later the McMillans and Hewitt were on board an American Airlines flight for Dallas.
May 11, 1975
The Mexican government, which last January ruled that its Davis Cup squad could not compete with teams from countries that practice apartheid, said both men were in Mexico illegally, that they were traveling on tourist permits and that therefore they could not attempt to earn the $30,000 prize money.
The WCT hurriedly replaced the deported champions with Vijay and Anand Amritraj. It also gathered together $35,000 in additional prize money and scheduled a "world doubles final" for May 12 in Dallas—the Mexico winners against McMillan and Hewitt. All players involved supported the move.
Arthur Ashe observed to World Tennis magazine after the incident, "With the exception of 18 million black South Africans...no one is more anti-apartheid than I. I am all for pressure on South Africa, and lots of it, but I draw the line at the shotgun approach."
Ben Jipcho of Kenya is thinking big. He envisions a dream mile with a huge purse divided this way: 25% to the winner, 25% to the rest of the field and 50% for a world record. And if there were no world record the promoter of the race could keep that 50%.
"I see myself against the best in the world," mused Jipcho the other day. "Liquori, Bayi, even Wottle and Wohlhuter and Ryun, plus the first three in the 1976 Olympic 1,500 meters, and a rabbit or two to step up the pace, and any other miler who comes up between now and next summer. It won't be a slow, tactical race because the major prize will be for a world record. It should be held outdoors with many thousands in the stands. With television, too. That will bring in a lot of money, no?"
Suppose no one sets a world record?
"Don't worry," said a smiling Jipcho. "I will do it."
The Bureaucracy in Action award, a spool of red tape, will have to be shared this week by the AAU and the NCAA. The first half goes to the AAU committee that decided that Dwight Stones' world-record high jump of 7'5¾" at Madison Square Garden in February will not be approved because Stones has not taken out an AAU membership card this season.
The other half is for the NCAA body that suspended two Cornhusker football players from Nebraska's opening game against LSU in September for having permitted themselves to be taken to the Sugar Bowl and seated on the bench in uniform, even though as transfer students they were not eligible to play. There had been no intention of their playing, but merely going to the game was apparently a violation of an NCAA rule.
"The players were totally blameless," protested Coach Tom Osborne. "I told that to three separate NCAA committees. I said that if somebody should pay the price, I should. At least I had a rule book."
GOOD FIELD, NO HIT
An astonishing feat has come to light, somewhat belatedly. It seems that on Sunday, April 13 at New York's Shea Stadium, Willie Horton of the Tigers came to bat in the top of the seventh and popped one up foul to the right of home plate. The ball drifted back into the stands and was caught by Tim Kelly, 13, of Harrison, N.Y., who had brought along his glove, just in case.
In the bottom half of the same inning the Yankees' Walt Williams foul-tipped one into the same area of the stands, and guess who caught it? Tim Kelly.
"Everyone gave me a big hand after I caught the first ball," said Kelly. "But I got a lot of bad looks and a few boos after I held up both balls."
Moral: if you've got it, flaunt it, but if you've got two, sit down.
The Association of Tennis Professionals has demanded that sudden death, the nine-point tie breaker invented by Jimmy Van Alen and introduced at Forest Hills by Bill Talbert in 1970, be abolished at this year's U.S. Open. Unhappily, the International Lawn Tennis Federation has agreed. Instead, the 12-point tie breaker—"lingering death," as Van Alen calls it—will be used, a procedure that theoretically could go on forever, and often seems to. The players consider the 12-pointer fairer, but it lacks the drama of sudden death.
"With sudden death, tennis had a finish line," says Talbert. "The real problem is, the players lack courage."
Tough luck, fans.
BANNED NEAR BOSTON
There is a man we know who swims 250 miles a year. For 11 months his swim is up and down the 25 yards of a YMCA pool in New York. But for one month each summer he does his swimming in a lonely pond in the pine woods near Truro on Massachusetts' Cape Cod. The pond is about a mile and a quarter in circumference and the man, observed only by his dog, plows around its edge, naked and content in his isolation.
The pond near the town of Truro is part of the Cape Cod National Seashore and, because of that fact, beginning this summer our solitary swimmer will probably become an outlaw. The National Park Service, in response to complaints of residents of Truro, has outlawed nudity everywhere in the 28,000-acre Seashore. The irony of the situation is that no one, neither the Park Service nor the townspeople, objects to nudity. The real target of the new regulation is the sharply rising population density at a sheltered and unsupervised stretch of Truro ocean beach called Brush Hollow, or Free Beach.
Nude sunbathing has been quietly tolerated on Cape Cod for many years, but its increasing popularity led last summer to stories about Free Beach in newspapers and magazines. As a result, Truro became Mecca for bare bathers from the length of the Cape. Between Aug. 15 and Sept. 6, a Seashore ranger assigned to the task counted a daily average of 500 to 600 naked people at Free Beach with the high, 1,200, on Aug. 25.
So many people meant almost as many cars, traffic problems, trespassing on private property and damage to the fragile ecology of the giant dunes that line the shore of the upper Cape.
Dexter M. Keezer, a former college president who moved to Truro in 1971, is a spokesman for the Truro Neighborhood Association, which favors the ban. "You're cast in the role of wanting to stop people from taking off their clothes," says Keezer, "but that's not the point. If the town is inundated by people the way it was last summer, it will be well on its way to destruction."
Enforcing the nudity ban, if it can be enforced at all, will cost at least $31,000 this summer. And the penalty for anyone over the age of 10 being caught without "opaque covering" could be as much as $200 and six months in jail.
And what of our lonely swimmer in his sylvan retreat? He will either have to cover up, or concede to himself the possibility that under Massachusetts law he is in the same category with "stubborn children, runaways, common night walkers...railers and brawlers" and other such public nuisances.
COMMISH WITH A MISSION
Larry O'Brien will be the new commissioner of the NBA and we wish him well, though his selection as successor to Walter Kennedy, after much huffing and puffing by the owners, is something of a letdown. Aside from the fact that he was born in Springfield, Mass., where the game was invented, O'Brien's connections with basketball are nil.
Rather than choosing someone from within the sport (Deputy Commissioner Simon Gourdine comes easily to mind), the owners have apparently agreed on what they think they want: a $150,000-a-year lobbyist whose job is to persuade Congressmen and others of the righteousness of the NBA's position on such matters as the reserve clause and possible merger with the ABA. Lobbyists may be all right in their way but it is not encouraging that one of our major professional leagues should now be headed by one of them.
Spaghetti for lunch, rice and potatoes for supper, pancakes and toast for breakfast. It sounds like a weight-gaining regimen for a sumo wrestler. In fact, it is the hottest precompetition diet fad of that skinniest of all athletes, the marathon runner. On the eve of last month's Boston Marathon, restaurants in the city's Italian North End did a booming trade in pasta dishes; and at the Trail's End Marathon in Seaside, Ore. in February, local restaurants advertised special "Marathon Meals" of spaghetti and pancakes.
High carbohydrate foods help the body synthesize glycogen, the form in which the muscles store their fuel, glucose. The Carbohydrate-Loading Diet was developed in Sweden in the late '60s by an exercise physiologist named Erik Huffman, who was working with crosscountry skiers. Huffman's aim was to enable the skiers to build up extra reserves of glycogen and thus forestall the point, usually reached after about two hours of continuous exercise, at which muscles exhaust their fuel supply and experience the stiffness and cramps of "glycogen death." Huffman found that by draining the muscles of most of their glycogen a few days before the competition through strenuous exercise and a low carbohydrate diet, and then shifting to all-out carbohydrate-loading immediately before a meet, skiers could boost their glycogen reserves to two or even three times their normal levels.
Word of carbohydrate-loading reached this country at about the time of the 1972 Olympics. Since then the practice has been gaining currency among diet-obsessed marathon runners. Experimenting with the diet under controlled circumstances, a researcher in running-mad Oregon concluded that efficient carbohydrate-loading can take as much as 10 to 12 minutes off an average marathoner's time.
Olympic marathon champion Frank Shorter, who last year said he thought that marathoners tended instinctively to eat more carbohydrates before a race (SI, April 1, 1974), now says he is considering carbohydrate-loading.
"It might be worth another three minutes," he says.
THEY SAID IT
•Jim Schoenfeld, 22, Buffalo Sabres defenseman, on Montreal's Henri Richard, 39: "He really ought to dye his hair. It's embarrassing to find yourself tangling with a gray-haired man."
•Danny Murtaugh, Pirates manager, on why he doesn't like to call up players from Pittsburgh's Charleston farm club: "When I take players from Charleston, they take players from Deptford Mines, and my son manages Deptford Mines."
•Grover Collins, a truck driver from Soddy-Daisy, Tenn., who last month won the world's first annual butter-bean-eating contest: "When you're the champion, there's always some upstart gunning to shoot you down."
•Pete Rose, asked how marriage has affected Johnny Bench: "He's hitting about .240."