With the Olympic flame doused for another four years, let us pause now and reflect on some matters discernible in the afterglow.
Item: Avery Brundage, properly distressed by improper officiating in boxing and by ludicrous and unsportsmanlike conduct on the part of some fighters (one loser slugged a referee, another refused to leave the ring for 45 minutes), hinted that the sport might be banned from future Games. That is scarcely a solution. It is up to the international federations to provide impartial judges and to control participants. An ancient, classical, worldwide sport, boxing deserves a place in any Olympic program.
Item: At the Rome Olympics of 1960 everyone laughed at the Japanese who, 500 strong, swarmed everywhere to jot down the most minute details necessary for the running of an Olympiad, even to the precise color of grass required. Ah so, but no one laughed in Tokyo. Rather, the reaction was one of awe that so gigantic an undertaking could be directed with neither confusion nor officious heavy-handedness. Events went off as scheduled, no official got in the way of any performer, there was always a wind gauge present when a world record in track was set. The Mexicans, hosts to the next Games, came to Tokyo with only 200 officials and a casual air. "We are not sure we can guarantee the organization of these Games," conceded Professor Manuel Aquilar, Mexican chef de mission. "The weather will be nice, though."
Item: Come 1968, watch the Germans. Their combined East-West team garnered 50 medals—two less than were collected by all the British Commonwealth nations combined, placing them third behind only the U.S.S.R. and the U.S. They collected eight in the U.S.-dominated swimming and diving, won a gold medal in yachting, finished two-three-four behind American Fred Hansen, world-record holder, in the pole vault and, in the decathlon, universally considered to be the supreme test of an athlete, captured first, third and sixth. They could very well be even more of a force at Mexico City.
Herbert Hoover's love for sport was as genuine as his love for stricken mankind. He had been baseball manager at Stanford University, and his affection for the game survived to the end. He was long a familiar sight at Yankee Stadium, seated in a box along the first-base line, pencil in hand, scorecard in lap, meticulously jotting down hits and strikeouts, double plays and errors. When, as President of the U.S., he threw out the first ball of the season, he did it with unfeigned joy.
As for fishing, few have written more eloquently about a sport that has inspired much literature. His humor had a gentle bite. He once described Calvin Coolidge's back cast as "a common danger." And in his book Fishing for Fun and to Wash Your Soul ( Random House, $3), published just last year, he wrote:
"Life 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."
BY ANY OTHER NAME