Football coach Harley McCullough of Blanchester ( Ohio) High has come up with an innovative weapon by resorting to an archaic one. He is reviving the dropkick field goal.
A few weeks ago McCullough noticed senior Rick Rice drop-kicking for excellent distance while "just fooling around" in practice. This technique, which involves dropping the ball and kicking it through the uprights after it has touched the ground, has been pretty much relegated to the fooling-around category since footballs were streamlined in the 1930s. The narrower balls were easier to throw but didn't bounce cleanly. The last pro to drop-kick an extra point was the Chicago Bears' Scooter McLean, who convinced George Halas to let him try one in the 1941 championship-game rout of the New York Giants. In the '40s, collegians Stan Krivik of Notre Dame and Rooster Andrews of Texas were still drop-kicking, but they were relics.
Now comes Rick Rice. McCullough realized that a long dropkick is as good as a punt—if it rolls into the end zone it's brought out to the 20-yard line—and so he allowed Rice to attempt four drop-kicks, including a 55-yarder, in a game against Hamilton Ross High. The long one failed, as did two others that were then brought out to the 20. But a 30-yard attempt went through for a field goal, and Blanchester won 9-6. "It would have been nice," said McCullough, "if we had found out he had this talent earlier."
ONE BARRIER STANDS, ANOTHER FALLS
The Secret Service disclosed last week that one of its agents had been kept from doing her duty at the Burning Tree Country Club because of a long-standing ban on women. Last April the unidentified agent and several male colleagues arrived at Burning Tree, an exclusive club in Bethesda, Md. The Secret Service team wanted to check security prior to the arrival of Australian Prime Minister Robert Hawke, who was to play golf with U.S. Secretary of State George Shultz, a Burning Tree member. According to the Secret Service, the gatekeeper, as he does with all approaching women, refused to allow the agent to enter. Protests were made to club officials but to no avail. Burning Tree's sacrosanct maleness was thus preserved, a maleness, by the way, that has recently cost the club a $186,000 land-preservation tax break that the state will restore only if the club admits women.
Meanwhile the New Orleans Athletic-Club, a 110-year-old institution, voted 109-33 last week to finally admit blacks. In 1976 Thomas Perkins, a black member of the Harvard Club of Boston, attempted to enter the NOAC under a reciprocal agreement. Perkins was denied access. He sued in federal court and won $1,000 in damages. The NOAC then canceled its agreements with other clubs that had black members. Those old ties can be reestablished now that the NOAC has finally opened its doors to blacks.
Do you miss the World Series? If Charles Einstein, the editor of the Fireside books of baseball, had his way, the Series might still be in full swing—way, way out West. Einstein's theory is that the Series should take place annually in Hawaii. The weather would be perfect—not just warmer than in Boston and New York in October, but perfect. Most important, television revenue, which dominates baseball's thinking in these matters, wouldn't be affected. A starting time of, say, 2 p.m. in Hawaii—which would give purists their day games—would make for a prime-time 8 p.m. TV start on the East Coast and a 5 p.m. start on the West.
What about the argument that playing in a neutral site would be unfair to loyal local fans who support the team all season? Most loyal fans watch on TV anyway, says Einstein. Besides, the seven-game playoffs now seem to satisfy much of that local postseason hunger.
One other advantage: Many people feel it's unfair and illogical to start the World Series so soon after finishing the league championship. Wouldn't it be better to give both teams a week off to regroup and get their pitching lined up again—to be at a peak when the Series begins? But the way it now stands, you can't push the schedule any further into autumn; there were snow flurries in Boston and New York last week. All the while the teams prepared in Hawaii, attention and suspense would be building. Then, once the Series was under way, there would be no need for travel days and the games could be played one after another, the better to test the teams' depth and balance.