This is the era of the specialist and at Permian High School in Odessa, Texas there is a young man who specializes in just about everything.
On a recent routine afternoon Pat Brown spent an hour working with the track team, another 45 minutes slamming them out in the baseball batting cage and then eased off with a final hour of spring football training.
Last year, as a precocious sophomore, Pat Brown ran a leg on the fastest high school sprint relay team in the nation, did 9.8 and 21.2 in the 100-and 220-yard dashes, hit .425 as an outfielder and was unbeaten as a pitcher. Who says you can't win them all?
Ordinarily, there is an easy explanation for excellence in a team—recruiting, very often, or superb coaching, or special facilities. There is no easy explanation for the fact that Peekskill ( N.Y.) Military Academy, the country's oldest military prep school, has the best prep-school swimming team in the nation. In the past two years it has lost only one dual meet—and that was against the best freshman team Princeton University ever has put together. PMA's cadets have broken or tied national records 49 times and have placed 12 men in 43 All-America positions while winning 51 out of 60 dual meets since Christian Sparks took over in 1958 as coach and guidance instructor.
Sparks and his team are handicapped by the fact that military and academic requirements limit practice to 90 minutes-a day four days a week. This, compared to the long hours of workouts that most schools require, makes the Peekskill record all the more a mystery. The team now holds 11 national prep-school records. Carl Robie, former PMA student now at Michigan, broke the 200-meter butterfly world record. Steve Rerych, a 6-foot-6 senior from Paterson, N.J., has held 11 national records and recently won his sixth gold medal in the Eastern Interscholastic championships.
The answer may lie in Sparks's methods and preparation. He has introduced a system of isometric exercise, for one thing. For another, he put in a year under Yale's famous Bob Kiphuth, who seems to be pretty good at coaching coaches as well as swimmers.
Hovercraft, a vehicle that travels by hovering above ground or water on a self-generated cushion of air, is now available in Britain. A 14-foot version, complete with lift motor, a 40 hp outboard engine (for propulsion while actually in water) and trailer (for conventional highway towing) costs only $2,700. Union Dynamics Ltd., its maker, says anyone can solo after just a few minutes of instruction. And in uncomplicated, sensible England, no operator's license is necessary. Officially, the thing is an aircraft but Britons know full well it is not—any more than it is an automobile or a boat.
RELATIVITY UPSIDE DOWN
In the New Mexico Lobo, student newspaper of the University of New Mexico, there appeared a classified advertisement this week. It read as follows: