Former Maryland basketball coach Lefty Driesell uttered some unwise nonsense at a June 5 conference on drugs in sports at the University of Rhode Island. Driesell said, "I'm a firm believer that, if you know how to use cocaine and use it properly, it can make you play better.... I really believe cocaine can be performance-enhancing." Driesell later recanted, saying, "I shouldn't have said that; there is no proper way to use cocaine. That word properly was my mistake."
Driesell's mistake may have cost him a chance at the coaching job of the new NBA franchise in Charlotte, N.C.—right now, the feeling in Charlotte is that he is too hot to handle. As an antidote to his words, we offer you a poem on Len Bias, the Maryland player who died of a drug overdose last year. It was written by Sam Kennedy, an eighth-grader from the Lincoln School in Brookline. Mass.:
Slowly slipping into a world of evil,
Drugs grasping at his soul,
Death drifting his way.
Tragically trapped in a confused world,
A superstar was blooming like a flower,
A cloud of tragedy smothered success.
Glory that once flowed
Came to a horrid halt.
A chance of a lifetime—dreadfully denied.
Sachio Kinugasa of the Hiroshima Carp (SCORECARD, June 1) surpassed Lou Gehrig's record last Saturday when he played in his 2,131st consecutive game. When the game with the Chunichi Dragons became official in the fifth inning, play was stopped. In a gesture that would seem strange in an American ballpark, Kinugasa's teammates and opponents filed onto the field to present the 40-year-old third baseman with flowers. Then in the sixth, to show that he was not through, Kinugasa hit a home run, his eighth of the season and 495th of his career—two more than Gehrig had. After the game, Tetsu Jin, or "Iron Man," said, "I never dreamed I would receive such a gala blessing. I will try my best for my beloved baseball in the future." The next day he hit two more homers.
BRINGING IN THE SHEAVES
The Saskatchewan Roughriders of the Canadian Football League have set up a farm system—for their fans. The club has entered into an agreement with the United Grain Growers of Saskatchewan so that farmers can purchase season tickets, regularly priced at $185 (Canadian) each, with grain deliveries of anything from rapeseed ($250 a ton) to oats ($60 a ton). Three tons of oats might prove a bit cumbersome to take to the Roughrider ticket office, so the farmer can simply deliver his grain to one of the 150 UGG grain elevators in the province, where he can exchange the load for ticket vouchers.
The grain-for-games concept was devised this year because the Rough-riders, who have been in business for 77 years, are in financial trouble; in fact, they're in about as much trouble as the economically depressed farmers are. "We really think this will help the spirits of both the team and the growers," says John Clark of the UGG. "We've already had a lot of response. The Roughriders are a provincial team, not a city team, and the farmers really want to help out a friend in need."
BELTING 'EM OUT
SI's Amy Lennard went to the Battle of the Singing Heavyweights at the Sands Hotel in Atlantic City on Saturday night and filed this dispatch: