In Texas former college students are seldom referred to as alumni. They are usually called ex-students, or exes for short. When Steve Fleming, a sought-after high school halfback, was asked why he had finally settled on the University of Texas he explained that his father and mother had gone there, that a cousin had played football there and that several other relatives had attended the university. "I guess," he concluded, "the ties of exes were upon me."
No sooner had Baseball Coach Charles (Bobo) Brayton of Washington State scheduled a "trim-in" to keep his players, who began practice last week, from resembling one of those old House of David teams than English Professor Howard McCord retaliated in kind.
"I am requiring male students in English 452 (Creative Poetry) to allow their hair and/or beards to grow to suitably poetic lengths," wrote Professor McCord to the campus newspaper, The Daily Evergreen. "By this I hope they will feel more deeply a part of American poetry, following the hirsute tradition of such poets as Walt Whitman, Ezra Pound, Allen Ginsberg....
"But," added Professor McCord, "I think Professor Brayton's requirement is a dandy idea. It's a good device for creating and reinforcing a positive image...and preparing his players for the demands of the professional baseball world."
Coach Brayton was doubly pleased, first by the appellation of professor and second by the suggestion that his team had players with major league futures. He hustled over to McCord's office, and the two, meeting for the first time, hit it off splendidly. McCord showed Brayton a copy of his latest book of poetry, Long-jaunes His Periplus, and Brayton promised that his team would have a winning season. Then the pair posed amiably for photographers under a huge poster-photograph of Allen Ginsberg, with McCord, who had a rich growth of hair, holding a Louisville Slugger, and Brayton, whose head is as slick as a baseball, holding the book of poems.
HIGH COST OF HURTING
A recent article in Medical World News claims that medical expenses cost professional football teams more than $2 million a year. The magazine says that last season a team spent between $30,000 and $60,000 on hospital and doctors' bills, $20,000 for medical and disability insurance and $5,000 to cover the cost of tape, bandages and medication for relatively minor injuries. The teams also have to buy and maintain therapeutic devices, as well as pay the salaries of team trainers.
"Medical expenses are staggering," an NFL owner admitted, "but the biggest expense is paying the salaries of injured players who cannot perform. It probably comes to something like $3 million for both leagues."
That seems high (every team would have to have an average of four $30,000 players out of action in every game), but even so it seems reasonable to assume that the overall cost of injuries (plus an occasional head cold) runs well over $100,000 a team each season.