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It is an old truth that Chamberlain is always worth more to everyone, himself included, if he does not stay too long in the same place. Three years per team has been his history—three years at Kansas, three years with the Philadelphia Warriors, the San Francisco Warriors, the 76ers. Three years is up again, and Wilt appears on the move.
Taking his work home has made life on the farm easier for Joe Prieve of Wellborn, Texas. Prieve is the groundskeeper of the student golf course at Texas A & M, and the old, worn-out balls he picks up there are put to work on his farm keeping snakes from eating up chicken eggs. Snakes love eggs. They gulp them whole and crush them internally. Prieve sets out clutches of old golf balls around the farm, and the snake that mistakes them for eggs dies of indigestion. "One ball will usually get them," Prieve says, "but we opened a six-foot chicken snake and found four golf balls in him."
A recent report had it that Prieve planted balls on the A & M course to which rattlesnakes fell victim. He denies this, saying, "In the first place, rattlers are pretty rare in this part of the state. In the second place, if we laid out golf balls, A & M students would steal them before the rattlers did."
The finest American gymnast of all time, Makoto Sakamoto of Southern Cal, has decided to skip the Olympics in Mexico City this October. Sakamoto, who was born in Japan and came to the U.S. when he was 8, says his decision is not, "absolutely not," political. Instead, he says his reasons for passing up the 1968 Olympics are twofold. For one, he does not believe he is good enough to win. "I don't have a chance," he says. "Maybe if I was 100% perfect and had all the luck, maybe at best I could win a bronze medal. Probably sixth would be more like it." For another, Sakamoto is scheduled to go to Waseda University in Japan this September as an exchange student, and he figures—rightly so—that a year of competing against the Japanese, the best gymnasts anywhere, will help him reach genuine world ranking. "I don't want to be just another American gymnast," he says. "I want to be world class. I had to make a choice—go to the Olympics and remain a mediocre gymnast or go to Japan to become a superior one."
Now 21, Sakamoto figures he will reach his peak at 25, which would make the 1972 Olympics in Munich just right. Sakamoto is no spoiled athlete with a cushy job. This summer he is clerking in a hardware store from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., and afterward he works out in the gym until 10. He will have to pay his own expenses, including travel and tuition, to attend Waseda, but he thinks the year there will be worth it. Yet Sakamoto is a somewhat angry young man. He says that several American Olympic and AAU officials have told him that if he goes to Waseda instead of Mexico City, he can forget about competing when he returns. "I want my individual freedom," Sakamoto says. "I will fight for my ideal of becoming a truly great gymnast."
A FIX FOR STICKS
Lacrosse enthusiasts like to boast that theirs is the fastest-growing sport around. But last week the lacrosse boom came to a sizzling stop—the factory that makes 97% of the lacrosse sticks in the world burned down. Until the fire, the Chisholm Lacrosse Manufacturing Company near Cornwall, Ont. had been doing a rush business, with production this year slated for a record 72,000 sticks, 22,000 more than last year.
Not everyone can make lacrosse sticks, which retail at from $5 to $17.50. The Chisholm company's 75 employees are all Mohawk Indians, mostly descendants of stickmakers. The sticks are made from select hickory, so select indeed that Colin Chisholm, the company founder, traveled 15,000 miles a year looking over wood. Back at the factory, the Mohawks set to with electric drills and Sanders, but even with such modern gadgets it still took a year to cure and bend the sticks in proper fashion.