"When we least expected it, Canonero won the Derby for us," he said. "When we were afraid to expect it, he won the Preakness. And when we fully expected a victory, he lost."
THE PLAYING FIELDS OF PHILLY
It just might be a political ploy, a threat to force increased taxes on an already overburdened population, but the city of Philadelphia's school system is threatening to eliminate athletics in its 165 schools and to hell with talk of mens sana in corpore sano. The only saving grace at the moment is that school-board approval will be necessary to "finalize" a budget cut of $23 million in appropriations for sport, along with the elimination of 1,000 teachers and 1,000 other employees from the system's 22,000 full-time jobholders.
Those who oppose the cut, which is sponsored by Dr. Mark Shedd, superintendent of schools, are saying things like "damn shame" and "now the kids' interest will turn to drugs and gangs."
While opening the oysters, Shedd shed a tear or two. "All athletic programs," he said, "including baseball, football, basketball and track will go down the drain." As an afterthought, he added swimming. Then he suggested that pressure be put on the state government to recognize "the dire conditions of the city school system," which may have been the point of the dagger.
God help us all if the Philadelphia disease spreads. As Dan Peffle, Philadelphia's school district director of health and physical education, put it: "I don't see how it fits in with logic. We talk about dropouts and a study of dropouts has shown that athletics is one thread that kids hang onto to remain in school. Athletics is the greatest deterrent to dropping out."
The Big Ten agenda and rules committee is studying a recommendation of its athletic directors that the number of scholarships available for minor (non-revenue) sports be reduced from 34 to 22. Only the athletic directors of Indiana and Michigan State opposed the recommendation.
Two Indiana coaches, Dr. James Counsilman in swimming and Sam Bell in track, would be among those most seriously affected and, naturally, they are against the proposal.
"I've got 20 years to go before I retire," said Counsilman, "and I wanted to be competitive all those 20 years. But it makes me wonder if we can stay in it if this happens."