In the past there has been a lot of handshaking in international table tennis. Even the Japanese, whose traditional greeting has been in the form of low bows, started shaking hands at the end of matches. Now the International Table Tennis Congress, meeting in Prague, has proposed that table-tennis players may shake hands only with their opponents and not with the officials. If they want to be courteous to officials, they may nod or bow.
Hungary proposed the change, remarking that too much handshaking was unhygienic—particularly for officials, who, unlike players, could not leave immediately for the showers. Of course, Americans have been shaking hands for years (frequently without showering immediately thereafter), and there has been no noticeable decrease in the table-tennis population. But if the rules say bow or nod, we will bow—or nod.
A fortnight ago National Football League Commissioner Pete Rozelle denied any plan to impose heavy penalties on players accused of betting or of associating with persons of dubious character (SI, April 8). Since then some new evidence has come in and Rozelle has changed his mind. His relatively stern sanctions, which may be made public this week, are calculated to discourage future indiscretions by players and to remind management of its responsibility for close supervision of its athletes.
HOOVER ON FISHING
Ever since Herbert Hoover was a small boy in Iowa, angling with a willow pole and bait that had been spit upon for luck, he has been a devoted fisherman. One of his predecessors in the White House, Grover Cleveland, was so passionate about the sport that he wrote his Fishing and Shooting Sketches. Now Mr. Hoover has done the same, assembling in a little book, Fishing for Fun and to Wash Your Soul ( Random House, $3), an assortment of memorable and invariably gentle observations he has made over the years on the subject he loves best. Like the subject they cover, these thoughts are refreshing. Among them:
"Fishing is the eternal Fountain of Youth.... There is said to be a tablet of 2000 B.C. which says: 'The Gods do not subtract from the allotted span of men's lives the hours spent in fishing.'
"The spiritual uplift of goodwill, cheerfulness and optimism that accompanies every fishing expedition is the peculiar spirit that our people need in these troublous times of suspicion and doubt. They ought all to be sent fishing periodically."
When President of the United States, Herbert Hoover did not have an easy time but, like other troubled men, he was able to find peace in fishing. "Life," he writes, "is not comprised entirely of making a living or of arguing about the future or defaming the past. It is the break of waves in the sun, the contemplation of the eternal flow of the stream, the stretch of forest and mountain in their manifestation of the Maker—it is all these that soothe our troubles, shame our wickedness, and inspire us to esteem our fellow men—especially other fishermen."
While Candy Spots and Never Bend are still overwhelming favorites to win the Kentucky Derby two weeks hence, a potential spoiler is waiting just off stage. His name is No Robbery, Greentree Stable's son of Swaps. No Robbery, like Candy Spots, has never been defeated and he enters this week's Wood Memorial with four impressive victories. The latest was a 10-length win over older horses at Aqueduct in which he turned the mile in 1:34, just two-fifths of a second off the track record held jointly by Bald Eagle, Beau Purple and Carry Back.