Only a few more
than half of the 100 athletes who went to Australia ever returned to Hungary.
More than a score came to America, found jobs and a new life (see 19TH HOLE).
Those who went home found the atmosphere drastically changed by a once-bitten
Red government that had grown more than twice shy. Despite what seemed to be a
determined effort to make political capital of their returning heroes and to
organize an efficient sport machine on the Soviet style around them, the Kadar
government bore down hard on would-be athletes.
Many of Hungary's
top performers have been benched—or worse—for political unreliability. Lesser
figures have found little encouragement to climb to the top. Top stars who once
spent almost the entire year training luxuriously on salaries equal to those of
the nation's doctors and engineers found themselves faced with the need to earn
a living at workaday jobs.
said an ex-Olympic star in Vienna last week, "the sports clubs get only
half as much money as they used to, and athletes' stipends have been cut from
800 to 400 forints a month." Beyond these privations, the jittery
government has to a great extent deprived potential athletic stars of the
finest incentive of all—the chance to get away from Hungary.
NEVER ASK A
official named Mel Ross, whose home base is Oklahoma City, flew from San
Francisco to Denver the other day to work a game between Drake University and
the Air Force Academy. Over a coffee at the airport a stranger gave him
directions to the academy. Following the advice, Ross paid $6 for a bus ticket
for the 72-mile trip to Colorado Springs, then rented a car for $20 to drive
out to the academy site. There he got a fine uncrowded view of the academy's
ultimate home, now under construction and scheduled to be ready for the airmen
in the fall of 1958. The basketball game, a foreman pointed out, was being
played at the academy's temporary layout in Denver.
Denver, said he was on his way. Still in his hired car, he roared down the
highway, was promptly arrested for speeding and fined $104.
Ross never did
make the game. Too bad, too, because the $65 fee would have been at least
something toward the day's expenses: a total of $195.10—including the cup of
coffee at the airport.
basketball coaches are content merely to win the old ball games, Saxon Cameron
(Sax) Elliot of Los Angeles State is not. A successful campaign for Elliot is
indicated less by his won-lost record (20-11 last season) than by the number of
fresh ideas he can bring to the game.
This season Sax
has opened strong. His latest idea is a "remote control" referee who
watches the game via closed-circuit television from the safety and quiet of a
nearby room and booms out his calls and whistle blasts over a public-address
system. Elliot tried it out the other day but it was not a pronounced success.
The TV cameraman, unfortunately, was no sports expert. He had trouble following
the ball but got many excellent shots of the spectators. Elliot hopes
eventually to eliminate human failure by having three fixed cameras which will
take pictures of the entire court.