Senator Ed Thye of Minnesota took an action last week that could make him the patron saint of Ted Williams, Stan Musial, Mickey Mantle and thousands of other professional athletes. What did Ed Thye do? He dropped in the hopper of the U.S. Senate a bill (S.3282) to allow professional athletes a special income-tax deduction "for depletion of physical resources." If the Thye bill goes through, the Congress of the United States will have written into law the recognition of a rather obvious point: that a professional athlete does give out eventually, just like an oilman's oil well.
Beautiful, Schemin' Squaw
Within Hours, a traveler heading westward from Nevada to the Pacific can pass from burning desert sands through mountains blanketed with snow and into valleys lush with greenery, for the area surrounding California's Sierra mountains offers weather and topography as varied as any in the world. Perched in the very heart of this climatic kaleidoscope is Squaw Valley, the relatively unknown winter resort that was picked as the site of the 1960 Olympic Winter Games.
Since the Games will be held in mid-February exactly two years from now, mid-February seemed a good time to look over the site. Hence, last week, Nevada newspaperman Guy Shipler joined a group of reporters riding a wayward bus along the 45 miles of mostly two-laned and often pockmarked road from Reno, the nearest city, to the valley. "Our self-guided tour," he wired SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, "made two points clear. First, though there has been no big construction to indicate much progress yet, there is little doubt that the valley itself and the Olympic village will be ready in time. Second, though the $8 million construction program will amply care for the athletes, it makes little or no provision for the 35,000 spectators who are expected to journey out to the site each day."
Shipler, like many another local resident, was most worried about the fact that present plans call only for a widening of the single road that is the only entrance to and exit from the valley. What would happen, they asked, if the kind of unheralded blizzard that brought death to the Donner party in the same region last century and held a Southern Pacific train snowbound for five days only seven years ago should suddenly blow up?
The weather in Squaw has been unseasonably mild this February. Last week it was raining in the valley when the reporters arrived, but on the chair lift just over their heads the clothes of passengers turned white with snow driven by ah icy blast of wind. A quick drop of temperature of even a few degrees could well have blocked their exit. Soft, moist Pacific air, whipped over the sharp mountain ridges, has been known to dump huge quantities of snow into the valleys almost without warning, giving the Sierras the highest average fall in the U.S. Ceaseless high winds in the area pile up the result in drifts that defy all removal equipment.
It is certain enough that there will be sufficient snow in Squaw Valley for the winter Olympians of two years hence. Chances are the spectators will watch them in crisp, fine weather. But what if a storm comes up? "These mountains," a valley man whose dog team has rescued many a stranded traveler told Shipler, "is like some women, schemin' and calculatin' underneath, but all you see is that still, soft beauty on a bright, blue-sky day. Then, first thing you know, she's changed her mind and the snow's comin' down horizontal and the wind's roarin' and she's got you pinned to the wall and you've had it."
Casey Warms Up
The spring training season is in its early stages, but Casey Stengel is already in advanced form. The Yankees' manager, like all men with a flair for comedy, revises his material to match the times.