SI Vault
Edited by Robert Creamer
August 10, 1970
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August 10, 1970


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The son of a publicity man is exposed to so much flak on behalf of whatever it is his father is publicizing that his responses sometimes become almost automatic. Thus Paul Ramsey, 12-year-old son of Jones Ramsey, sports publicity man for the University of Texas, is well aware that Football Coach Darrell Royal much prefers the pass to the run and that Fullback Steve Worster is one of Royal's favorite running backs. It was only normal when Paul and his father saw a road-construction sign one day for the boy to read aloud, "Do Not Pass," and then, without even pausing to think about it, add, "Give the ball to Worster."


One of the odd psychological spin-offs of this electronic age is the empty feeling TV sport fans have when they get off their easy chairs and go out to the stadium to watch their heroes in real life. The trouble comes after a particularly gripping moment—a superb catch, a broken field run, a Jerry West basket, a Bobby Orr goal. The TV-indoctrinated fan sits back, shaking his head in admiration, and waits for the instant replay. He forgets that time in the arena does not have a stop. The game goes relentlessly on, and the spectator is left with the uneasy feeling that he has missed something.

But not fans in Vancouver, British Columbia. The new scoreboard in Empire Stadium, where the Vancouver Lions play Canadian football, includes a giant—well, 15-by-20 feet—screen which will pick up the same replays that are being telecast to the home audience. Canadian Visual Productions, Ltd., which is responsible for the replay screen, says that Empire Stadium is only the start. "We have our sights on the Houston Astrodome—it's ideal because of the controlled lighting—but we figure hockey is the best vehicle, partly because of the lighting and partly because goals happen so quickly that many fans never see the puck go into the net."

Referees and other officials don't much care for the idea, even though instant replays on home television consistently show that officials are right the vast majority of times. Hockey Referee Lloyd Gilmour says, "Look, we blow a few calls, but when we make decisions we have to stick by them. Can you imagine blowing one against the Bruins in Boston and then having the replay show your goof in slow motion to those fans? That could shake a guy up."

Something fishy has been going on in Middle America, and it took the revelation of mercury pollution in lakes and rivers to bring out the truth. One favorite dish of folks eating out in Kentucky has been golden brown " Kentucky lake catfish," but the danger of mercury pollution has prompted diners to shy away from it. This, in turn, has obliged the restaurant people in the area to admit, with red faces, that the catfish they serve is perfectly safe to eat because—they kind of hate to admit this—it doesn't actually come from Kentucky lakes at all but is imported from places like Iceland and the Amazon River in Brazil. The diners are not always amused. As a restaurant owner in Gilbertsville, Ky. said, "How can you tell customers you've been lying to them for years?"


First they get all suited up in skintight, streamlined outfits, with crash helmets pointed like ship's prows in front. Even the baskets on their ski poles are cone-shaped to reduce wind drag. Then the idea is to see who can ski the fastest down the Plateau Rosa, a lofty glacier above Cervinia, on the Italian side of the Alps. Anyone not prepared to go at least 100 mph might as well not make the climb.

For six years the world record for the Kilometro Lanciato, one kilometer with flying start, was 104.86 mph, held by Italy's Luigi Di Marco. But this year along came a gang of Japanese to sweep everybody off the hill: Moroshita Masaru (whom the Italians now call Moroshita the Missile) swooshed through the clocks at 113.887 mph, Nishi Masaru was close behind at 113.773 and Satoshi Shimizu at 113.539 mph. First Italian, Bruno Alberti, came loafing along fourth at 113.424 mph. Another Japanese, Yuichiro Miura, skied down Mount Everest last spring wearing parachutes as stabilizers (SCORECARD, May 25) but that was more of a circus trick then sheer speed skiing.

On hand to spectate was Leo Gasperl, who won the first edition of this crazy event back in 1931 wearing a 17-pound pair of skis. He has now determined that even though the Japanese beefed themselves up by wearing ballast on their special Kazama skis, the streamlined egg position is of far more importance than the weight of the skier and his appurtenances. After all, little Moroshita weighs only 117 pounds.

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