Our lead story this week, beginning on page 10, deals with sporting events in Newport, R. I. On page 18 we describe the sorry state of bookmaking, especially in Newport, Ky. Starting on page 22 is an extended report on the beach explosion in Newport, Calif. If anything much was happening in Newport, Ore. we missed it.
The Associated Press report of the first fatality of the 1962 football season reached the desk of SPORTS ILLUSTRATED'S football editor last week with a note scribbled across it saying, "...now it begins." The reference was to the related facts that a score of young men died playing football last year, that much publicity was given to this unhappy facet of the country's traditional autumn sport and that the same thing was going to happen this year.
We neither condemn football for these deaths nor exonerate it. It is a rough sport, and many boys play it. Inevitably some are damaged and, tragically, some die. Statistics are cold and comfortless if you are on the wrong end of the statistic, but we sincerely believe that the fatalities in football are very close to a negligible minimum. Over 6,000 Americans drowned last year, for example; only 20 died playing football.
Injuries are another thing. Too many boys are hurt playing football, and not enough effort has gone into a study of preventive measures. Too, the great majority of these injuries are at the high school level, which brings us back to the Associated Press story. The 15-year-old boy who died collapsed after football practice. Football practice? In the middle of August? In high school? Of course. It's routine in many schools. Football is very important.
For years now, critics have charged that football is overemphasized in college. Perhaps it's time to redirect that criticism at the greater offender, at the high schools with misguided booster clubs, school boards, faculties and coaching staffs who place victory in football above everything else, including the health and well-being of the kids in their charge.
RIDERS IN THE SKY
Everybody's trying to get on Telstar, and therefore it is no surprise that the promoters of the Laurel International horse race on turf for foreign and domestic Thoroughbreds should make their pitch. Joseph Cascarella, executive vice-president at Laurel, who goes to Moscow, and would, like the Emperor Henry IV, go to Canossa if necessary to promote his cause, has started negotiations for an international telecast of the Laurel International of 1964 via Telstar.
Racing, unlike cricket or baseball, needs no captions or explanations, so Cascarella thinks it's ideal for international television, and, too, he points with pride and justice to the fact that horse-players are universal.
BATTLE OF HASTINGS, 1962