SI Vault
Edited by Robert W. Creamer
February 10, 1986
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February 10, 1986


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When play resumed two nights later, Hope's women went on a scoring surge that trimmed Albion's lead. Eerily, at precisely 6:45 p.m., with the train once again rattling past, Hope sank the game-tying basket. The Flying Dutch went on to derail Albion 83-78 in overtime, ending a game that had taken some 49 hours to complete. Noted Renner, "There's no truth to the rumor that we put timbers across the tracks on Tuesday so we could get an extra day of practice. But there is talk of changing the school athletic symbol from a wooden shoe to a caboose."


A "seat belt" rule, which requires high school basketball coaches to remain seated during play (except in special instances), has been adopted by the National Federation of State High School Associations, and it has caused some coaches mental, even physical, distress. C.J. Howard of Santa Teresa ( Calif.) High is an emotional sort who, like many coaches, tends to jump up, shout, point and emote. "I've been coaching for 12 years," he told Dave Payne of the San Jose Mercury-News, "and it's very difficult to suddenly not be able to jump from my seat." Therefore, Howard now ties himself down with a rope. "It's saved me a few times," he says.

A neighboring coach, Ray Snyder of Monta Vista High, is also an emoter who needs restraint, but instead of a rope, Snyder has two human seat belts. They are Monta Vista High students Stacey Fernandez and Denese Cheatham, who keep statistics for the team and have taken on an added duty. During games, they sit behind Snyder, and when he starts to rise, they push him back down. "Thanks to them," Snyder says, "I've been pretty good about obeying the rule."


Several years ago (SI, Oct. 13, 1980), Bil Gilbert reported that the endangered black-footed ferret was "missing and presumed dead." Happily, a small colony of ferrets was discovered the next year in northeast Wyoming. But that colony, which had grown to an estimated 130 ferrets by 1984, is now threatened with extinction.

It was learned last fall that the colony had been infected by canine distemper, a disease routinely fatal to ferrets. "We predicted distemper would kill most of those left in the wild," says Dr. Tom Thorne, the Wyoming Game and Fish Department's staff wildlife veterinarian. "We didn't even know how many were left at that point. We determined to get some out before they were exposed."

Six uncontaminated ferrets, including four females, were captured and are now being kept in quarantine near Laramie. Because the group is not of optimum age (the males are still too young) or sex ratio (there should be at least as many males as females) for breeding this winter, Thorne is "not optimistic" that they will mate during their season in February and March. He does, however, hope to catch additional healthy ferrets after the deep snow melts in the spring. "With only the six animals we have, it's a fairly long shot" at reestablishing the population, Thorne says. "But if we add a few more animals to the captive population, and if we are successful either this year or next in breeding, then in the long run the chances would be pretty good. We hope we can build a captive population, then feed the wild populations from it."

He says the animals contracted distemper in the wild, possibly from raccoons, coyotes, dogs or skunks. He adds that other ferret colonies—if there are any—could also be threatened by the disease. "And we don't have enough ferrets to do distemper research on them," Thorne says. "If we're successful with captive breeding, that will be one of our highest-priority research programs."


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