Let those of us who are pigeon-toed and bowlegged and still want to be athletes take heart. It might be the best thing that ever happened to us. Jake Gaither, football coach and athletic director at Florida A&M, cites as living proof none other than his star pupil, the world's fastest human afoot, Bob Hayes, now with the Dallas Cowboys.
"Here's a boy," says Gaither, "who's bowlegged, he's pigeon-toed, he waddles just like a duck, and he's the fastest man in the world. I have a sort of sneaking suspicion that when those toes turn in, that when a runner strides, he gets spring out of all five toes instead of just two. Jackie Robinson was pigeon-toed."
Gaither's theory of the superiority of the pigeon-toed antedated Hayes, he says.
"I always felt that a pigeon-toed back could cut and maintain his balance much better than a boy who was a straight-ahead runner," he explained. " Jesse Owens, if you saw him run, was just like an arrow. His legs were straight. Now here comes a boy who doesn't do like Owens. The position of the toes inward gives him flexibility, more push-off. It gives him more momentum.
"Just a theory. Nothing scientifically proved. But I don't turn down any bow-legged, pigeon-toed boys. I love 'em."
Never mind the science. We pigeon-toed types agree.
Newest fad raging in the Ivy League is a game called Tangle, put out by Selchow & Righter Company, who gave us Scrabble a few years ago. The game is played on a board, with two or four contestants, each holding 29 playing pieces of various shapes and point values. Points are scored when a player encloses all six sides of a hexagon on the board with his playing pieces.
Cornell put on an all-night Tangle tournament and broadcast it over the campus radio station. Columbia's Tangle tournament for students was such a success that one was scheduled for the faculty. Other successful tournaments have been held at Yale, Dartmouth, Harvard, Princeton and Pennsylvania. Only Brown's was a washout. "We are too conservative for board games," a Brown man explained haughtily.