This Sunday night at 9 p.m. (EST) NBC is showing Gone with the Wind, but if you prefer faster-paced action, switch to ABC for a thriller called 21 Flours at Munich. This is the "dramatized true story of the Palestinian terrorists' attack on Israeli Olympic athletes in 1972," the Munich massacre in which 11 Israelis, five Arab terrorists and one German policeman were killed. It is every bit as bloody and entertaining as the current Dustin Hoffman-Laurence Olivier hit, Marathon Man.
Which may be the trouble. Although the sites of the tragedy—the Olympic Village and Munich's F√ºrstenfeldbruck airport—were used as sets and there are a few film clips of the actual Games, the movie is just that: a movie, not a documentary. William Holden plays Munich Police Chief Manfred Schreiber ("Listen, you animal," he tells the terrorist leader, "we aren't going to do anything for you unless we see every single hostage alive"). Richard Basehart is West German Chancellor Willy Brandt. Anthony Quayle plays General Zvi Zamir, the Israeli security official.
The biggest role belongs to Italian actor Franco Nero, who plays the Arab terrorist leader, Issa. Nero, wearing an immaculate white hat and a well-cut beige suit, has several scenes with handsome blonde Shirley Knight, a glamorized version of Annaliese Gr√§s of the Olympic Security Service, who acted as an intermediary between the Arab leader and the authorities. Nero plays his part with great skill, to the point that he even manages to arouse sympathy for his plight. When one of his fellow terrorists dies by his side and it is obvious that the 727 at F√ºrstenfeldbruck is not going to take off, a closeup shows Nero's blue eyes filled with tears. He has failed. He kills the nine manacled hostages in the two helicopters and is killed himself. It may be as perverse as life itself, but it is effective theater. Nero's Issa is a victim, too, betrayed by the German police and his own twisted ideals.
November 8, 1976
But how can the total reality of what happened at Munich be used this way? As reporting, the film fails: on the screen the Israelis are only victims, pitiable but one-dimensional. Their tragedy does not come across, and the "re-creation" fails to deliver the full impact of one of the most hideous crimes committed since World War II.
1984 AND ALL THAT
Los Angeles is beginning to receive hints from Olympic authorities that it ought to bid for the 1984 Games, the implication being that the International Olympic Committee would look favorably on such a bid. This is contrary to the way it was in the 1950s and 1960s when the U.S. Olympic Committee seemed always to pick Detroit—a curious choice—to be the American city proffering a bid to the IOC. Not until it came time to choose a site for the 1976 Games did Los Angeles become the American entry, and then the IOC passed up L.A.—in our Bicentennial Year—to select Montreal. As if to placate the U.S., it turned around and picked Denver for the 1976 Winter Games instead of Canada's Banff, a far more logical site. Denver folded a year or two later (the IOC had to make a hurried switch to Innsbruck) and Montreal nearly folded. Los Angeles made a strong bid for the 1980 Games, too, but the IOC chose Moscow instead.
Now the Olympic people seem to want Los Angeles, and both Philip Krumm, retiring president of the USOC, and Julian Roosevelt of the USOC, an IOC member, have gone on record urging that city to bid. To no one's surprise, the California metropolis has not reacted by jumping up and down and clapping its hands. Even though it has distinct advantages as an Olympic site—many existing facilities, including some built for the 1932 Los Angeles Olympics, a huge sports-minded population, excellent weather—the memory of Montreal's troubles is strong. Councilman Arthur Snyder says, "Unless we can be sure that public expenditures would be offset by increases in employment and income from tourists, we shouldn't get involved."
Even those in favor of the Games are cautious. Councilman Marvin Braude says, "I'm skeptical...but if it can be clearly demonstrated that the city would benefit without cost to the taxpayer, I'd be supportive." And Councilwoman Peggy Stevenson warns, "I'd strongly support the bid...if the IOC is prepared to conduct the Games in a Spartan atmosphere."
RED SALES IN THE SUNSET
Even though Nebraska's unbeaten season went down the drain when it was upset by Missouri, thousands of Cornhusker fans are still planning to take part in an extraordinary mass migration later this autumn to see their beloved Big Red team play a game nearly 4,000 miles from home. Nebraska meets the University of Hawaii in Honolulu on Saturday, Dec. 4. In the week or so before the game more than 16,000 Nebraskans—requests for tickets originally topped 20,000—will fly to Oahu for the fun, as well as to take in a few palm trees and a beach or two to remember through the long cold Nebraska winter.
Travel agents in Lincoln, Omaha and elsewhere have been busy for months selling tour packages at prices ranging from $424 to more than $1,000. Flights of 747s and DC-8s will stream in and out of Nebraska to take part in the massive airlift. Travel agents claim the 16,000 fans going to Hawaii will be the greatest number ever to travel so far to see a sporting event, and they add that the total amount of money football-loving Nebraskans expect to spend on the trip will be close to $10 million.
Mike Mosley of Humble High School in Texas gained 320 yards in 12 carries and scored four touchdowns in the first half of Humble's 48-0 rout of New Caney High. Then, although young Mosley had a clear shot at breaking the Texas high school record of 520 yards rushing in one game, his coach kept him on the bench the entire second half. His coach also happens to be his father, Sam Mosley.
"It was the greatest performance I've seen by one player in my 18 years of coaching," Sam said later. "Mike was running that outside veer and just using his speed. But I also knew how that coach sitting on the other bench felt. I had to be merciful."
SPORT OF QUEENS
A bunch of students at Queens College in New York City, discovering they had a common interest in horses, racetracks and betting, decided to pool their beer money and form their own stable. In the spring of 1975 a friend put them in touch with Owner-Trainer E. Barry Ryan, who had a 4-year-old gelding named Mycerinus kicking around his stable. He sold 30% of the horse to the students for $6,000 and raced Mycerinus in the name of the collegians' Que-Cee Stable seven times that summer. The gelding won once, earned $8,890 and provided his student owners with more than enough material for a "What I Did on My Summer Vacation" assignment. However, after his seventh race Mycerinus was claimed, which happens when you run horses in claiming races.
A search was started for another horse, and again Ryan found one: a 3-year-old Graustark colt named Snowy Tiger. There were smiles when the student-owners voted to give 1% of their horse's winnings to their college—Snowy Tiger finished out of the money in his first three races for Que-Cee—but it was not as un-philanthropic a gesture as it appeared to be. Queens College was in a budgetary bind (President Joseph Murphy even considered putting his house up for sale to raise money) and the students' announcement helped call attention to the school's financial plight.
Snowy Tiger must have heard. He finished 2nd, 1st and 4th in his next three races before he, too, was claimed, and earned $6,790. The students' next horse, Lea's King, won only $840 before he was claimed, but their current representative, a 2-year-old gelding named Garden Inspector, also bought in partnership with Ryan, had earned $5,940 as of last week.
All in all, the Que-Cee Stable has made $33,000 in purses and claiming fees and spent nearly that much to buy and maintain its horses (it costs roughly $30 a day to maintain a thoroughbred in the style to which it is accustomed). Queens College has gained a little money and a lot of publicity. And the students have had a chance to weigh the validity of the old Greek proverb that says it is better to have bet and won than to take 5% for your money.
AT SIXES AND FIVES
One of the more interesting legal battles now involving sport is a suit brought against the Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association by 15-year-old Victoria Ann Cape, a 5'10" basketball player, and her father, James Cape. No, Victoria is not trying to get the TSSAA to let her play on a boys' team or to keep a boy from playing on a girls' team. What she objects to is six-person basketball, the old-fashioned version of girls' basketball authorized in Tennessee's high schools.
Women's basketball in American colleges, in AAU competition and in the Olympic Games is now five to a side, like the men's game, and Tennessee is one of half a dozen states that retain the six-person game. It is a static form of basketball, in which the players are confined to offensive and defensive zones. Practically speaking, only the three players on each team assigned to offensive zones can shoot at the basket.
In federal court in Knoxville, Victoria argued that the six-person game limited her opportunities to develop her basketball skills and, by extension, her chances of winning an athletic scholarship to college. Witnesses defending the TSSAA position said six-person basketball was a perfectly good game. The Capes said if it was, why not change the boys' rules and let them play six to a side? Federal Judge Robert L. Taylor said last week that he would review the testimony before rendering a decision.
From goal line to goal line the football field at West Jefferson Junior High in Conifer, Colo. looks pretty much like other football fields: 100 yards long, 160 feet wide, lots of white lines at regular intervals, and so on. But beyond the goal lines the West Jefferson field takes on unique characteristics. The crossbar between the goalposts at the north end of the field is only 5½ feet above the ground. The rules say it should be 10 feet high. The thing is, West Jefferson's field slopes sharply uphill past the goal line, and standard goalposts stuck in the ground on the hill would put the crossbar at a distressingly high altitude for aspiring place-kickers. So math teacher Rod Butler and some of his students took a transit level and figured out the proper height the crossbar should be in relation to the flat part of the playing field. The little squatty "H" is the result, and it works fine—the only worry being that an overambitious wide receiver zooming up the hill on a post pattern may find himself clotheslined by the crossbar.
The south end of the field is level. All a wide receiver has to worry about there are the rocks and trees in a patch of woods in front of the goalposts.
THEY SAID IT
•Billy Martin, oft-fired New York Yankee manager: "I'm a one-year manager only if the front office interferes with my running the ball club. If it leaves me alone, I'm a 20-year manager."
•Lynn Swann, Pittsburgh Steeler wide receiver, on how injuries have hampered his effectiveness this season: "I'm a mere shadow of my statistics."
•M. L. Carr, Detroit Piston forward: "Now that I'm in Detroit I'd like to change my name from M. L. Carr to Abdul-Automobile."
•Reggie Williams, Cincinnati Bengal linebacker, on his greatest assets: "Speed, strength and the inability to recognize pain immediately."
•Don Larsen, asked if he ever tires of talking about his perfect World Series game: "No, why should I?"