SI Vault
September 07, 1959
Enthusiasm vs. Experience
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September 07, 1959

Events & Discoveries

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"I started gambling at 16 in high school," said Joe, now 36. "Matching coins—not nickels, dollars. I went to live with my grandmother, and I'd tell her stories and get her to sign blank checks for me. I took her for $16,000." Joe gambled in the Navy, gambled when he should have been playing baseball in the old Class B Southeastern League, gambled wherever he went. "I'd play poker four nights and three days running," he said. "I wrote $100,000 in bad checks and when I went to prison I spent my time making book. When I got out I got a job driving an ambulance in Oakland, but when they'd need me they couldn't find me because I'd be off in some card room."

"When I was 12 I would gamble on anything, even marbles," said Larry in his turn. "When I was 14 or 15 I went to work in a pool hall and gambled all the time. And before long I was a professional who cheated." After a hitch in the Army, Larry tried to settle down. "I got married and went to college. I wanted to be a writer. I wanted to get away from gambling. But I couldn't. Five years ago I wrote a $15 check on our joint account, the first money I ever hid from my wife. I put the money back in the bank before the statement came and it balanced. This led to a $25 check, and I started having to cover for that." Eventually, Larry opened a secret bank account, borrowed from a loan company, forged his wife's name to sell their furniture, at length sold his house and his car. "Oddly," said Larry, "many of our friends thought we were an ideal young married couple and even came to us for advice." After five separations, Larry's wife went to her parents where a friend of her mother told her about GA.

At the end of the meeting, Larry and a few other GAs stepped outside to wait for a couple driving down from Redding, Calif. The man was a compulsive gambler, and his marriage was breaking up. "Maybe GA will be able to save it," said Larry. It seemed a good bet, but no one present offered to make book on it.

Sleepy Time Guys

Warren Giese of the University of South Carolina Gamecocks is a coach who is patently not content to leave well enough alone. At one time or another he has solicited the aid of closed circuit TV and Polaroid slides to beef up his team. Last week, after exhaustive tests, he announced that the thick, juicy steaks formerly fed to his footballers before each game were not providing enough pep. Henceforth, said Coach Giese, the Gamecocks will get a tasty glass of pure glucose instead. "We'll flavor it with something," the coach said in an offhand way, "to make it palatable."

And, as if it were not enough to supervise their diet, the coach plans to invade his quarterbacks' dreams as well. Each night his voice will softly preach proper football strategy through a special microphone placed under the pillows of his key men. The gadget is Dormaphone, an electronic bedfellow which has spent most of its career teaching foreign languages. Giese has tried it on himself and, apparently pleased with his own progress, he will use the $500 apparatus on his lieutenants this fall.

"We've had one for two months," said Giese, "and I am convinced that it is valuable. We have lost two games in the past three years because o IT quarterbacks didn't remember a few simple rules. I'm going to try to implant the basic rules of the game in their minds during sleep. For instance, I'll tell them such things as: 'Kick on first down behind your own 10-yard line. Kick on second down behind your own 20. Kick on third down behind your own 30.' After they've listened to such instructions in their sleep for 15 minutes at a time, five times a night for a few weeks, I think the idea will be so soundly implanted in their minds they'll do the right things automatically."

Perhaps they will. Perhaps, on the other hand, they'll be so tired they'll just fall asleep.

Better than Baseball

It's a suffering sport," said one of the 170 bike racers assembled for the National Amateur Championships at Kenosha, Wisconsin the other day. "Your legs feel like wet noodles after a few laps around the track. There's no part of you that doesn't hurt."

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