Worried about the economy? Sit back and relax until World Series time. Then the economy is due to take a big upswing and business will have a banner year. That is the word from Elrick and Lavidge, Inc., a Chicago market-research firm retained by the National Sporting Goods Association. According to Elrick and Lavidge, both the general economy and retail sales of sporting goods will soar to record heights by the end of 1970. Specifically, sporting goods sales should hit $4.5 billion, up 10% over 1969. Hockey equipment, up 21.4%, is expected to lead the way, followed by winter sports equipment (sleds, skis, etc.) 19.5%; fishing equipment 12%; and golf supplies 11.6%.
The economist who does all the figuring for Elrick and Lavidge is Professor Irving Schweiger of the Graduate School of Business at the University of Chicago and editor of the Journal of Business. Looking beyond sporting goods alone, the professor predicts the 1970 Gross National Product will total about $985 billion, a 5.7% increase over 1969, with much of the jump coming in the last quarter of the year. When it comes to forecasting the economy, sporting or otherwise, the professor bats with the best. He predicted the 1969 GNP would be $933 billion; it turned out to be $932.1 billion.
The Great Barrier Reef of Australia, a 1,250-mile-long chain of coral, has long been acclaimed as one of the biological wonders of the world. Now it is the subject of Australia's No. 1 national controversy. The government of the state of Queensland, where a boomer mentality holds sway, wants to allow oil companies to drill on the reef. Leading the clamorous opposition are a number of conservation organizations and the federal government, headed by Prime Minister John Gorton. They do not want the reef to become Australia's version of the Santa Barbara Channel, and the fighting back and forth has been so heavy that early last month Gorton almost fell from office over a bill that would have wrested control of offshore mineral development from the individual Australian states.
Conservationists have succeeded in forcing the appointment of a royal commission to examine the entire reef controversy, but now, according to the Brisbane Courier-Mail, the commission's inquiries "are so worded as to infer that the governments want the reef drilled and are asking the commissioners to say just where and how."
Nor does the argument stop there. The powerful Queensland Trades and Labor Council has reaffirmed its total opposition to any oil drilling on or near the reef, in spite of the jobs that might become available. The probable consequence is that no union man would even think of lending the oil companies a hand with a screwdriver, much less a drill, regardless of what the royal commission finds.
The Pittsburgh Steelers are not admitting it, but they apparently have found a way of keeping Terry Bradshaw, their prize rookie quarterback, out of two All-Star Games. Bradshaw underwent surgery last week for removal of a calcium deposit on his right thigh, and he will be sidelined for six to eight weeks. Recuperation will keep him from playing in the Coaches All-America Game June 27, and he may well miss the College All-Star Game July 31. Bradshaw came down with the ailment last January, but by scheduling the operation for last week, the Steelers will be able to keep Bradshaw in training camp learning plays.
Sven (Tumba) Johansson is a Swedish sports hero who played hockey for his country in four Olympics and who was good enough to be given a tryout with the Boston Bruins in 1958. Tumba—he recently had his surname changed legally from Johansson to Tumba—is in the U.S. to help promote a pro golf tournament in Sweden next October. When he was visiting the Colonial Invitational in Fort Worth he talked about his try-out with the Bruins. "I don't think they liked me because of a joke I played on them," he said. "Before practice all the players would remove their false teeth and put them in glasses marked with numbers. This one day I thought I'd have some fun, so when they all were out on the ice I switched the teeth around. I was careful about it—if someone had four teeth in his plate, I'd switch it with someone else who had four teeth. After the workout they came in and went to the tooth glasses and tried to put their teeth back in. None of the plates fit, of course, and I sat in a corner and laughed like crazy. I was just trying to be funny, but I hadn't realized that this was a serious thing with the players. They were mad as hell. They looked around and saw me laughing, and that's when I realized it was no joke to them. A few days later I was on my way back to Sweden."
A COLOMBIA GEM