If the Chicago Bears can hold their half-game lead on Sunday, the NFL championship game will be played at Wrigley Field, where the Bears beat the Giants in the NFL's very first title game 30 years ago. Few people, other than the Bears' season ticket holders, are rejoicing over the choice of venue. Wrigley Field holds only 49,000 spectators. The Wrigley stands cut across a corner of one end zone and are so close to both end lines that a player running deep and fast risks collision. The press box at Wrigley, while adequate for a ho-hum, mid-season baseball series, will never hold the small army of reporters, columnists, spotters and freebooters that descend on a title game. Twenty years ago, when a championship was last played in Wrigley, there were enough vantage points for photographers, but that was before the televisers and all kinds of cameramen came bearing telephoto lenses the size of mountain howitzers. There are no lights at Wrigley. The game will have to start at noon, so that, in case of a tie, at least one sudden-death period can be squeezed in before dark.
Soldier Field in Chicago seats 110,000. It has room for players, for press, for cameras. It has lights. So why try to crowd the game back into Wrigley, the cradle where it was born?
THAT OLD HAWAIIAN MOON
In ponds and lakes of the U.S. the large-mouth bass prospers mightily by feeding on its little distant cousin, the bluegill sunfish. The bluegill survives by keeping away from its big cousin, the bass. The relationship between the two, though unwholesome for the bluegill, is a well-established one, or at least it was until fishermen began pulling an occasional strange fish from the Puukaele reservoir on the Hawaiian island of Kauai.
From the looks of it, the strange fish was a cross between a bass and a bluegill. At first, the fish and game experts in Hawaii pooh-poohed the idea. The bass and bluegill belong to separate, sharply defined genera, too far separated ever to intermingle in such a romantic way.
But Hawaii has quite an international reputation as a melting pot. If Chinese, Polynesians, Filipinos, Japanese, Boston missionaries and English merchants can mingle there, why not fish? A specimen was sent to Dr. Reeve Bailey, an authority on fish at the University of Michigan. After studying the specimen inside and out, Dr. Bailey confirmed that such interbreeding logically could not happen but certainly did. The fish was indeed a cross between the bass and the bluegill. Quite possibly, Dr. Bailey suggested, it was an unusual case of stress mating, the sort of thing that occurs, say, when a lone bass cannot find his real love and looks elsewhere for companionship.
Dr. Bailey's explanation will not do. The Puukaele Reservoir teems with bass and bluegill. Charlie Fern, editor of the local paper on Kauai, suggested a simple answer. "It was just that old Hawaiian moon," Fern wrote in his paper, "that got our little bluegill girls and large-mouth boys together."
Is this sort of crossbreeding likely to happen again? No one knows. The next full moon over Hawaii is December 30. The level of the reservoir will be lowered shortly thereafter, so a large number of fish can be netted and examined.
BACK TO THE BASQUES
There is some historic talk that jai alai started in the New World among the old Aztecs of Mexico, and that Invader Cort�s took the game from them back to Spain. Now another Cort�s, Roy McAndrews, who owns the jai alai fronton in Dania, Fla., is practicing a sort of reverse lend-lease. Jai alai came from the Basque country to Florida by way of Cuba 30 years ago. McAndrews is picking up his cestas and taking them to a new fronton he plans for the Canary Islands. He also is negotiating for construction of another fronton in San Sebasti�n, Spain, the heart of the old Basque jai alai country.
WRESTLE THE DEVIL