THE RALSTON CASE
If ever there was a thorny issue, it is the suspension of Tennis Player Dennis Ralston. If ever there was an organization ill-equipped to cope with a thorny issue, it is the United States Lawn Tennis Association, which suspended him. This group of muddleheaded do-littles has now managed to confuse the issue beyond any hope of clarity.
Ralston put on a bad show at the Davis Cup American Zone final in Cleveland two weeks ago. "Harumph!" said the USLTA, and "dear me!" By the time this senescent group had cranked up for punitive action, Ralston was in the process of winning the national doubles championship with Chuck McKinley. So the grand nabobs of tennis held off until the match was over, then informed Ralston that his presence was requested at a meeting of the USLTA's Amateur Rule Committee in New York the next morning. Ralston replied that he couldn't make it to the meeting but would be able to appear later. "Harumph!" said the USLTA, and "dear me!" Conference calls were made, and Ralston, after all this shilly-shallying, was thrown out of the national singles championships at Forest Hills. A few observations:
Ralston behaved badly at Cleveland—but there is a considerable body of doubt as to just how badly. Referee M. D. Kallie was the main witness for the prosecution. He charged, in a shrill report to the USLTA, that Ralston "yelled 'G—D—-it!' " and "repeatedly pounded the net with his racket (we were sure that he was going to snap the cable)...." On the other hand, Umpire Olen Parks, who had a good view of the action, said that reports on Ralston's conduct were "very much exaggerated." And seven of the eight seeds at Forest Hills, among many others, petitioned the USLTA to lay off Ralston until the championships were over and evidence could be viewed calmly.
Whether Ralston is guilty or not, the USLTA has added another to its long list of bungled and misleading decisions. The young rowdies of tennis should be punished when they are indeed guilty of rowdyism, but such verdicts should not come from hurry-up hearings scheduled overnight after maundering delays. It will take an organization with more backbone and better eyesight than the USLTA to straighten out amateur tennis.
GUILT ON GOLDFISH
Goldfish in bowls have a look of hapless innocence. But turn them loose in lakes and they make all kind of mischief. Things have got so bad at Big Bear Lake in California that the state Department of Fish and Game is out to destroy them. The trouble is that goldfish have as voracious appetites as wrestlers. In Big Bear's fine trout waters, they compete pugnaciously for food. Also, goldfish reproduce more abundantly than rabbits, and are on the verge of overpopulating the fish world. "Goldfish," says one despairing resident of Big Bear Lake, "are the crabgrass of the piscatorial kingdom."
The first goldfish were brought to Big Bear Lake—illegally—as live bait. Others were left at the end of summer by families tired of tending them, just as cats are abandoned every year by summer vandals. Businessmen at Big Bear are thinking of draining the lake to eliminate the goldfish, while rescuing more desirable resident fish. Then, after a normal rainfall, the trout could be replanted. But the Department of Fish and Game suspects that the goldfish may have some secret weapon, and might re-populate Big Bear Lake as quick as you could say Margaret Sanger.
A BREAK FOR BOXING
Madison Square Garden resembles some mythical beast that has grown fat by eating its own tail. Luckily, it has come to its corporate senses in the nick of time: it was about to devour its own head. By televising prizefights over the years, the Garden greatly assisted the decline and fall of the small boxing club, which could not compete with something people got for nothing in their living rooms. As the little arenas went dark, fighters no longer had the opportunity to practice their lonely craft or art, and thus there came to be fewer fighters, lousier fights, and televiewers often got nothing for nothing.