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Dr. Frances Hellebrandt, who headed the project, deliberately pushed and prodded her volunteer human guinea pigs to the agony phase of exhaustion in order to study this crossover effect in muscle control. The results appear to have a clear application in sport. One subject reported: "You feel some pain, but after a while lifting the handle [the experimental weight test] becomes more important than anything else. You forget the pain. You forget everything but achieving the objective."
This reaction brought joy to certain dedicated sportsmen. Mr. Bruce Hopping, who is founder, chairman and sole endower of the New Jersey Committee "for the advancement of recreational swimming," sat down and wrote: "By driving the service muscles beyond the control of our cerebral cortex and allowing the primitive brain centers to take over, the competitive swimmer will receive the superhuman strength necessary to dominate and win all competition. This objective would be obtained by training the service muscles to the point of agonizing pain."
Mr. Hopping does not indicate who would win if one agonized swimmer met another agonized swimmer in the same event, but he does say that this cheery attitude toward his favorite recreational sport parallels the ideas of Jim Counsilman, coach of swimming at the University of Indiana. Counsilman's charges include Olympic Champion Mike Troy (who in pre-Olympic training had a sheet of paper on his wall bearing the word PAIN in large letters). He stresses in his coaching the necessity of overcoming the natural human reluctance to extend oneself beyond normal limits. Counsilman says, "We cannot lower our times merely by changing our goals and shooting for, say, a 2:05 in the 200 meters. We must condition both our bodies and our minds."
Of course, all this depends to some extent on just how important lowering our times is. Or doesn't anyone remember when sport was supposed to be fun?
SLAP ON THE WRIST
THE POLITE AMERICANS
When the San Francisco Giants arrived in Japan for a 16-game barnstorming tour, they got a boisterous ticker-tape reception and a stack of flowers. A troupe of kimono-clad Japanese girls engulfed moon-faced Owner Horace Stoneham. Giggling schoolgirls gawked at Willie Mays and said, "Say Hi! Say Hi!" Baseball-shaped transistor radios were handed to all the players, who were then whisked off in a motorcade to a fancy dinner. Commented Stars & Stripes: " Willie Mays and associates will be killed with kindness."
They were also killed on the ball field. While 30,000 cheered, the San Francisco Giants lost the opening game to the Tokyo Yomiuri Giants 1-0. The American star known in Japan as Whirrie Mays got a scratch single and dropped a cinch fly ball. Courteous to a fault, one Japanese fan said, "The Americans are just being polite. They will catch up." But the Tokyo Times cried banzai! " San Francisco's blown-up Goliath crashed to earth yesterday afternoon with a heavy thud that reverberated across the length of Japan." Asahi Shimbun echoed: "The game upset the idea of U.S. supremacy."
There was more loss of face to come. The Giants dropped the second game of the tour 2-1 to the Japanese All-Stars. They finally won a couple, 1-0 and 5-3, then stumbled to a 10-7 loss in which they had to suffer through an eight-run Japanese inning. By the end of the week the polite Americans could show only a 4-3 record. It was the worst start for any American team in the traditional barnstorming tour, and Lefty O'Doul thought he had an explanation: "The Japanese players are getting bigger and better. I can remember when the fellas here were all 150-pounders. Now there are more and more 6-footers. And they play more nonchalant and relaxed against us, like they know what they're doing. Before they were jittery, like they were playing against God or something."
CAST OF CHARACTERS