- TOP PLAYERSOffensePABLO S. TORRE | August 20, 2012
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Little Matthew Kennedy, 3, has an inconvenient allergy, considering the interests of his particular family. He reacts to horses. After riding, his brothers and sisters must shower and change before they enter the house so as not to aggravate Matthew's condition and, who knows, perhaps it is the real reason why Daddy Bobby finally had his hair cut.
A Bible-study group has evolved on the pro golf tour, and one of its earnest members is South Africa's Gary Player. Player recently arranged for Dr. Billy Graham to address the golfers, which he did with his customary vigor. A golfer of sorts himself, Dr. Graham couched his address in golfing terms and explained that the game "embraces five great lessons of life": proper stance, he says, because we must take a stand on what we believe in; next, proper grip—"Get a grip on life"; third, hitting the ball from inside out ( Dr. Graham exhorts people to bring out the spirit). The fourth lesson is keeping one's eye on the ball, or looking unto Jesus ("Don't stray to pessimistic writers like Bertrand Russell") and finally there is the follow-through, which is equated with the necessity of following God's rules. Dr. Graham characterized Jesus Christ as "the greatest pro of all time." No doubt Dr. Graham's discourse did his hearers good and, as one official observed by telegraph, he hoped "that Dr. Graham gets closer to par and the rest of us get closer to heaven."
For seven years the VIPs had beaten the KSFO No-Stars in San Francisco's annual Celebrity Softball Game. The VIP team usually consists of newspaper columnists, civic officials and ex-athletes. The KSFO team traditionally comprises a bunch of disc jockeys. Seven years of defeat was apparently too much for the No-Stars, because this year they went out and got themselves some ringers—George Mira, John Brodie, Steve Spurrier, Kermit Alexander, the 49ers' new coach, Dick Nolan and the Warriors' Jeff Mullins. Pitching to this formidable assemblage for the VIPs was little Bill Hartack. He gave up hits to Brodie, Spurrier, Alexander and Mullins, and when Mira hit a homer the VIPs yanked him. The No-Stars took the game 14-3. It is one of those scores that should go into the books with an asterisk.
Another car-struck film star is making a racing movie. Racing buff Paul Newman is presently at work on a film to be called Winning, in which he plays a driver who loses a race and his wife to another driver (played by Joanne Woodward and Robert Wagner) but recoups by winning Indy and with it his Ping-Pong ball of a spouse. By way of research, Newman attended the prerace drivers meeting at the real Indy 500 last week, a meeting held as usual near the pits, which of course were equipped with 8,250 gallons of fuel. Newman lit a cigarette. If he doesn't shape up, Universal had better scrap the film or rename it Losing.
Every man should have a hobby, but not everyone would want Ray Jacobs'. The Dolphins' defensive tackle relaxes by going rattlesnake hunting. Jacobs took up the pastime back home in Corsicana, Texas, but he finds snakes enough around Miami, where he considers hunting more dangerous because of the high grass. "You can hear them, though," he says. "They'll send up a warning with the rattles when you're about 12 feet away. Then they'll coil up and get ready to strike. By that time you better know just where they are, because a big rattler can knock you down. It ain't a picnic."
England's pop singer Billy Fury recently purchased a horse named First Rate Pirate, an animal distinguished by the odds against his winning the Derby at Epsom (2,000 to 1). Bookmakers were even accepting bets that he would finish last. Some truly fanciful members of the fancy bet First Rate Pirate to win, of course, and had lightning struck the entire rest of the field and allowed Pirate to come in first the bookmakers would have had to lay out more than $2.4 million. But the laws of probability held and the horse did finish last. Singer Fury will not disclose what he paid for First Rate Pirate beyond it having been "a great deal of money," but one can see why Billy took the chance. So many people in his line of work have succeeded against far greater odds.
While Paul Newman is racing in Winning and Burt Lancaster is swimming in The Swimmer, Charlton Heston is playing football with his 13-year-old son and USC coaches Craig Fertig and Marv Goux in preparation for the lead in something to be called The Pro. The 43-year-old Heston's own football career at Northwestern was, as he describes it, "spectacularly unremarkable. I had everything an end needed, except speed and good hands. I was strictly cannon fodder for the varsity, and coming to Northwestern when Otto Graham was there was a grievous tactical error." So what induced him to undertake the role? "The dimensions of a hero, internal as well as external, always make for fascinating material," he says. Heston's experiments with heroic dimension so far include Andrew Jackson, Thomas Jefferson, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Michelangelo, John the Baptist and Moses, but whether he can capture all the majesty of a professional football star remains to be seen. "I've been coached to the point where I have delusions of adequacy," he says.