THE GAMES INCH FORWARD
The 1988 Summer Olympics approach slowly, not by days but by deadlines. The latest comes from the International Olympic Committee, which last week set a June 30 deadline for North and South Korea to agree to an IOC proposal that would allow North Korea to host a small portion of the 1988 Seoul Games. The North Koreans have been demanding that they be allowed to host 50% of the Games, but the IOC proposal, made last week in Lausanne, Switzerland, after negotiations with both sides, offers them only table tennis, archery and part of the cycling and soccer competitions. "This is the final proposal by the IOC," warned IOC president Juan Antonio Samaranch.
There are indications that North Korea may accept the terms, at least for now. Although president Kim Il-Sung insists the country still wants to be co-host, there are reports that other communist nations don't want to have to boycott the Games over a North Korea-IOC dispute. South Korean officials are also expected to approve the plan, which assures them of all of the Games' major events and doesn't significantly undercut Seoul's position as host.
If both Koreas approve the IOC proposal, they will sit down with Samaranch next month and start negotiating the details. Ung Chang, secretary general of the North Korean Olympic Committee, has already implied that his side may at that point press for further concessions. That, of course, will lead to the next deadline.
The latest bumper sticker to be seen around Boston: BE KIND TO ANIMALS—HUG A HOCKEY PLAYER.
Boise State University has never had a football game televised nationally, and if the viewing public is lucky, that tradition will continue. Boise's Bronco Stadium is being renovated at a cost of $600,000, but the color of dubious choice for the new artificial-turf field will be royal blue. And this fall, so they won't clash with the rug while clashing on it, the football players will forsake their blue jerseys for orange ones with blue and white trim. Sounds as if the Broncos should hire a design consultant.
MAKE THAT ONE HOMER, TO GO
As Yankee third baseman Mike Pagliarulo was leaving Mamma Leone's restaurant in New York two weeks ago after dinner with his wife, the restaurant's manager, Joe Montalbano, came up to him. "I've got tickets to the game tomorrow," Montalbano said. "Hit a home run for the boys at Leone's."
"Sure, I'll hit one for you," Pagliarulo assured him with a grin.
In the sixth inning of the next afternoon's game against the Orioles, Montalbano was sitting in the lower rightfield seats at Yankee Stadium when Pagliarulo came to the plate. On a pitch from Baltimore's Ken Dixon, Pags launched a drive to right. It soared. Montalbano looked up and saw the ball coming right at him. This can't be happening, he thought. But it was.
Montalbano, 40, jumped up out of his seat just before the home run ball landed. It hit his chair and bounced high in the air—right to Montalbano, who gave it to a child sitting next to him.
"I guess this means I can eat at Leone's anytime I want," said Pagliarulo. Indeed, his next meal there will be on the house.
THE TOMATO STAKES
Snow Chief may have won the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico last month, but he's running a distant fourth in Mike Klingaman's tomato plant Preakness. Klingaman, a former sportswriter who does a weekly gardening column for the Baltimore Evening Sun, put in a tomato bed outside his Sykesville, Md., home in mid-May and—with what might be called a certain rooting interest—fertilized the four plants with manure from particular Preakness horses. Each vine is planted and marked in the order of its namesake's finish: Snow Chief first, then Ferdinand, Broad Brush and—four lengths away for having finished sixth—Groovy. "My Preakness stakes," notes Klingaman, "are tomato stakes."
Klingaman, who will declare a winner later this summer based on an as yet undetermined weighing of factors (height, size, taste, bushiness, first to produce, most tomatoes produced), reports that Broad Brush "is a little bit ahead right now. Ferdinand is a little fatter, but Broad Brush is taller. Groovy, though, is coming up on the outside." Klingaman points out that Broad Brush, the horse, was bedded on peat moss instead of straw before the Preakness (he reportedly kept eating his straw) and that his peat moss-manure mixture is probably superior to his rivals' straw-manure combinations. "Snow Chiefs contribution was mostly straw," Klingaman admits.
In truth, all four of the thoroughbred tomato plants have a tough row to hoe. "None of them is doing as well as the plants I put in that were fertilized by Dexter," says Klingaman. "Dexter is just an old horse around here."
DRIVE YOU HOME, DAD?
For years Jim Paxson Sr. has sold hole-in-one insurance to the Bogie Busters Celebrity Golf Tournament in Dayton, which offers a new car to anyone making an ace at the event. No one had ever done that—and Paxson had never had to pay—until last week, when Paxson's own son John, the Chicago Bulls guard, sank his tee shot on the 17th hole.
SPORTS UNDER THE MIDNIGHT SUN
This Saturday, which marks the summer solstice, is the longest day of sunlight in the Northern Hemisphere. In the far north, where the sun will scarcely set, it will be the high point of several months of midnight sun sports activity.
In Nome, Alaska, softball leagues have been playing each evening until well after midnight. "It never really gets dark," reports Nancy McGuire, editor and publisher of the Nome Nugget. "They just keep playing, since they don't have to pay for night lighting." Alaskan bicycle racers Lyn Gilbert and Gail Koepf took advantage of the evening light recently to pedal virtually nonstop from Anchorage to Fairbanks—361 miles—in 23 hours, 40 minutes. "That's a record for women, I guess," says Gilbert.
In Finland, 17 American-style football teams play in a league from June through August, and one of them, the Oulu Northern Lights, usually faces a U.S. small-college team about now in something called the Arctic Bowl. Last year, in a game that finished in bright 10 p.m. sunlight, Alma College of Michigan put out the Northern Lights 72-0. This year's Arctic Bowl, alas, has been canceled because of concern about terrorism, but dates have been set for the 1987 bowl and a companion Midnight Sun Football Classic in Oslo.
In Yellowknife, the capital of Canada's Northwest Territories, 180 golfers are set to compete this weekend in the 24-hour Midnight Golf Tournament. The tournament begins with a shotgun start and proceeds over nine fairways of glacial sand (grass will not grow on the permafrost of Yellowknife). The "greens" are made of packed, oiled sand and are wickedly fast. Although the course is ready and the sun is up, another immutable condition of Arctic life could affect the turnout for this year's tournament. "We'll try to play, but it's 10 degrees above zero right now," said Helen Lawson of the Yellowknife Golf Club last Saturday. "And the wind's blowing fiercely."
THE FLAMES BURN ON
To help promote Environment Week in Canada, athletes from several Canadian sports teams put together a music video called No More Wasting Away. The hardest role belongs to Edmonton's Paul Coffey, who has to bear up through lyrics that might well remind him of his team's loss to Calgary in the NHL playoffs: "Feel the fire of a flame left burning./Now the clouds only burn my eyes."
NO CREDIT CARDS ACCEPTED
The wife of Kash Beauchamp, an outfielder with Toronto's AAA club in Syracuse, is named Karrie. Says the husband half of Kash and Karrie, "We're going to open a store when I leave the game."
A GOLDEN MOMENT, CAST IN BRONZE
Edward Materson of Cape Elizabeth, Maine, is renowned for his sculpture. So it seemed only right that Materson eventually got around to depicting another noted citizen of Cape Elizabeth, Joan Benoit Samuelson. Following Samuelson's victory in the 1984 Olympic marathon, Cape Elizabeth's town fathers sought a suitable way to honor her, and they commissioned Materson to capture her in bronze.
Materson worked on the statue for more than a year but spent only six hours with the always-on-the-run Samuelson. He worked largely from photographs and videotape of her memorable L.A. victory lap but needed live models in order to capture her in mid-stride. Kim Moody, a friend of Samuelson's, and Lisa Boudreaux, a professional model, were the stand-ins—those are their leg muscles that have been immortalized by Materson.
On a foggy morning last month, much of Cape Elizabeth's citizenry gathered in front of Thomas Memorial Library for the unveiling. Samuelson was moved by the ceremony, but then composed herself, made a quick change of clothes and headed off for a training run along the country roads of the Maine coast.
THEY SAID IT
•Lon Simmons, A's broadcaster, on the slow pitches of 43-year-old Yankee Tommy John: "You could almost walk alongside them."
•George Brett, Royals third baseman: "If a tie is like kissing your sister, losing is like kissing your grandmother with her teeth out."