The Southern Pacific AAU did. With rare discernment they decided that the gifts had been given not to Richards but to his church for the use of its pastor, who happened to be Richards, and that there was therefore nothing to endanger Richards' amateur standing. For Richards to earn gifts for his church was no more professional than for him to earn a $1,000 donation for the Olympic Fund.
The cynics snorted, but others, who have seen amateur college football players driving to practice in glittering new convertibles or who remember the �4,735 wedding gift of Australian tennis fans to Frank Sedgman (which prompted Red Smith to write that Sedgman was, pound for pound, the most amateur tennis player in the world), regarded the AAU's decision on Richards as wise, fair and sensible.
At any rate, Richards was cleared and in his joy sprang 3,000 miles east to Boston and 15 feet 3� inches directly aloft, once he reached there, to set a new pole-vaulting record for the 29th Boston K. of C. indoor games.
For dear old Acme
Villanova University had one of its most ineffective football teams (one victory, nine defeats) in 1954. At the same time, it had the most profitable season in its history—thanks to a tie-up with Acme Supermarkets, the Philadelphia food-store chain which bought and gave away tickets to Villanova home games with food purchases of $10 or more (SI, Sept. 27). As a result, there were 95,000 fans in Philadelphia's Municipal Stadium when Villanova lost to Mississippi; 60,000 on hand when Villanova lost to Houston. Happy Villanova has renewed the contracts of its coaches for next season—a sure sign that the heat is off so far as the alumni are concerned.
But the other day a cloud—at present no larger than a No. 2 can of yellow cling peaches—appeared on the horizon. No word of complaint from Acme Supermarkets, mark you, but the trade magazine Supermarket News came right out in print with a candid editorial observation. "The [Acme] promotion might have been even more successful had Villanova possessed a better team."
If Villanova can take a hint, it will do a little dying for dear old Acme come next fall.
That same steady stride
Beats in my dome;
His feet must be geared
To a metronome.
I sure wish he'd skip
Just one big step
And sneak in a—well,
Say a jig step.