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SCORECARD
August 26, 1968
VANISHING SPORT
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August 26, 1968

Scorecard

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SPARE YOURSELF TROUBLE
In the future British motorists traveling abroad may have more than just a spare tire in the boot. The Royal Automobile Club now has a rent-a-part service for travelers taking their cars to foreign countries. For about 35� a day a motorist can obtain a kit including such things as spare bulbs for the lights, fuses, an electrical fuel pump, a condenser, a coil, a distributor cap, points, plugs and a fan belt. A spokesman for the RAC explained, "The cost of obtaining spare parts for British cars taken abroad by their owners is a very expensive business. Equally important, a slice of their holiday can be wasted just waiting for the part to be flown in, particularly if they are in a remote part of the country." The RAC says the kit will rectify 65% of all breakdowns experienced by English motorists. For the other 35%, the club has included a tow rope in the rent-a-kit.

LEANING ON FRUITCAKE

"It is the worst professional athletic team in North America," said its co-owner, Lamar Hunt. That was when the Dallas Tornado soccer team was running up an 0-18-3 record. But now the club has acquired some new personnel and is on a relative tear, winning two out of seven games, and Lamar Hunt feels perhaps he was too hasty in casting judgment. Before hiring a new coach, however, Hunt and Co-owner Bill McNutt, who is in the fruitcake business, had even tried running the team themselves for two games. They lost both.

Despite the Tornados' dismal season, they are drawing an average of 2,500 people per game, but that is scant solace. When they appeared in the Rose Bowl not long ago only 1,251 of the 94,405 seats were filled. "When the season ends," says McNutt, "we'll just have to sell the heck out of fruitcakes."

FAITH, HOPE AND DRAPEAU

On August 7, Montreal came within five minutes of returning its franchise to the National League. At the conclusion of a dismal meeting that produced no real hope for either a satisfactory temporary stadium or a permanent domed structure, there appeared to be nothing left but to announce the surrender to the waiting press. Mayor Jean Drapeau, who had by then already driven League President Warren Giles to distraction by constantly assuring him that "there are no problems, only solutions," pleaded that they at least delay official announcement for one more day and pray or something in the meantime. "Faith," the mayor suggested.

A few hours later John McHale, who is part owner and president of the new team, shrugged and proposed a visit to a recreational area in the north of town called Jarry Park. A local all-star game was in progress on the diamond there, and when the revered little mayor was recognized a scene of high emotion followed. The 2,000 fans rose and applauded, and cried, "We must have a team." The potential for constructing a temporary 30,000-seat stadium on the site was suddenly as obvious as the demand. "This is what I have been looking for," Giles beamed. "This is a baseball park."

There are still no firm plans for the promised domed stadium, but Mayor Drapeau and faith will probably solve that one, too. McHale, a believer now, like everyone else in Montreal, just assumes "he'll pull that other rabbit out of the hat, too."

Now that there appears to be a team, it has to be named. Voyageurs and Expos—neither of which seems to be a fortunate choice—are the favorites. Miracles or Faiths (Les Fois) are more recent and more appropriate candidates. But why not be obvious and just call them the Drapeaux? With that name, Montreal would be a cinch to win the National League flag its first season.

OUT OF AMMUNITION
That fine British pastime, croquet, is currently the craze—well, call it the enthusiasm—of the United Arab Republic. President Gamal Abdel Nasser has a well-tended croquet lawn behind his home—it is said he plays a wicked game—and the sport has even become popular with sugar-factory workers. Mallets are being made from the steel shafts of golf clubs (is golf dying in Cairo?), but there is a shortage of suitable croquet balls. "We've had some of our best engineers trying to make them," Ahmed Hamroush, the president of the Egyptian Croquet Federation, reports, "but they fall apart after a few games." Balls could be imported from England, but there is a shortage of currency. Since the U.A.R. government is only willing to release a few hundred pounds a year in foreign exchange to the croquet clubs to pay for balls (they cost about $17 for a set of four), the supply of authentic English models is fast diminishing. And this is one time Nasser cannot turn to Russia for aid.

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