SI Vault
December 01, 1958
The Silent Type
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December 01, 1958

Events & Discoveries

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According to Jones, as well as other less biased boosters, the advantage of the En Tout Cas surface is that it stays crisp and firm on top, yet moist and springy underneath. Spikes come out of the compound easily, so that the runner is not detained by his shoes. And the track is just as usable after a heavy rain—or even during one—as it is in the finest weather. (En Tout Cas is French for in any case.)

Professional baseball, interested in being rained out as rarely as possible, once asked the En Tout Cas people to experiment with a weatherproof baseball diamond. En Tout Cas mixed up a new compound (the track mixture wouldn't do—you couldn't slide on it) and built a diamond at the U.S. Air Force Base at Brunting-thorpe, England. Reporting on results, the English builders wrote to their American agents that a "baseball match" was held directly after a heavy rain and that the "running paths" and "base points" were found entirely satisfactory. As yet, however, no major league team has installed English running paths on which to play its baseball matches.

The Sheik of Kuwait, who has plenty of oil money, once hired Jones to build a track for Kuwait University, on the shores of the Persian Gulf, and Jones did so. Flat on the blazing desert he spread out tons of earth taken from the damp English countryside, and his highness the Sheik was well pleased. But this is one En Tout Cas track on which no spectacular times have been set: summer temperatures in Kuwait hit 120° to 140°.

Chicago's English track will be the first in North America, and Chicago hopes it will continue to attract top-grade athletic events long after the Pan-American Games are over. This hope led the city to vote $85,000 for building a track and field installation of Olympic caliber. The present asphalt track, which was used for stock-car races at Soldier Field, will be dug up and a base of fine cinders laid down to settle through the winter. As soon as the Great Lakes thaw next spring, a ship will bring 450 tons of En Tout Cas compound into Chicago, and Mr. Jones will reappear there to supervise its distribution over the base.

This should be done by June, and Chicagoans are talking now about opening the track with a pre-Games invitational meet to which every famous miler in the world would be invited. Chicago seems to feel that if most future track records are going to be set on English soil, some of them might as well be made on English soil within Chicago's city limits.

Cold Logic

This man likes to dive
In the cold seasons;
He dives, I suppose,
For divers reasons.
--Barney Hutchison

Latest on Elmer Lam

Football has run its annual course in the Shenandoah Valley and your attention is again invited to Elmer Lam of Elkton, Va. His story (SI, Oct. 20), it pleases to report, has enjoyed satisfactory resolution.

The Elkton High Elks (13 strong) scored 184 points this fall, their opponents 62. More precisely, Elmer Lam scored 112 and passed for 54 more, leaving the 18 remaining points to others. And it seems sure Elmer would have scored a few more if he had not been injured by resolute pile-on tacklers in the first quarter of Elkton's final game. A lineman was turned into an emergency back to take his place, and Elkton went down in its only defeat.

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