In case you're betting and trying to get an edge on the spread, that adds up to 56 points of home-court plus.
ST. LOUIS OMEN
Major league hockey's expansion last season has created a startling surge of interest in the ice sport. In St. Louis, for example, where the Blues are leading the new clubs in the National Hockey League's West Division, one sporting-goods store (Giesler-Jorgen) reported selling 500 hockey sticks in a single mid-January weekend. Casey's, a three-store chain, reported selling 3,600 sticks the same weekend.
Ken Connor, manager of the Casey chain, said that people phoned from as far away as Decatur, Ill. (110 miles to the northeast) and Columbia, Mo. (120 miles west) to ask if hockey sticks were available. Assured that sticks were in good supply, they showed up in St. Louis a few hours later to buy them. Even expensive items like goalies' gloves ($50 per set) sold rapidly.
Walter Jorgen of Giesler-Jorgen said, "After a weekend like that you figure by now every kid must have a stick. But the next weekend we sold another 150. January is traditionally a slow month for sporting-goods companies, but our business this January was phenomenal. And 85% of the sales were related to hockey.
"Last April, when the Blues were in the playoffs, we actually sold more hockey sticks than baseball bats. And the interest continued well after anyone could have found any ice. It kept up right on into June."
One reason is the "iceless" puck, which sells for $1.95, compared to 95� for the official NHL puck. The iceless puck is made so that it will slide on concrete or wood, whereas an official puck tends to roll. Kids not in organized leagues, which play on rinks, often play without skates on parking lots, tennis courts, streets, alleys, basements or even—when Mom isn't around—living rooms.
And all this in more or less southern St. Louis where, two years ago, virtually no one in town knew the difference between a body check and a slap shot.
PAR FOR THE TORT
Hitting people on the head with golf balls was the subject of recent litigation in two widely separate sections of the country, and the consensus appears to be: go right ahead—it's up to your fellow golfers to get out of your way. In Massachusetts the State Supreme Court ruled that it was not even necessary to shout "Fore!" as your errant drive wings its way toward an unsuspecting skull. It would be a courteous, and even kind, thing to do, but it is not legally obligatory. The court held that anyone who goes out on a golf course should know that once in a great while a golf ball will not go precisely where a golfer aims it, and that by the very act of stepping onto the course a person accepts the risk of being hit.