AN AMUSING LITTLE GAME
Perhaps it is time, now that a few months have passed to allow the excitement of the season to calm down, to talk a little about one of the more successful aggregations in sport: Oxford University's wine-tasting team. Oxford's cricket 11 had a bad year, its crew was swamped by Cambridge in the famous Boat Race and its tennis squad was a bust. Against this background of disaster the wine tasters rose to the heights, knocking off wine-tasting societies from the suburbs of London and from other universities before crushing Cambridge 381 to 210. We would like to tell you how the score of 381 to 210 was arrived at, but cannot, since wine tasting is all very esoteric. But as the contestants sniff and sip (and spit out) the various wines, they are supposed to name the country of origin, the area, the village, the vineyard, the vintage and, ultimately, the precise name of the wine. Whether they have to decide whether the grapes grew on the shady or the sunny side of the slopes is not entirely clear. In most matches, the tasters attempt to classify five white wines and five red wines.
Sarah Stewart-Brown, the only woman ever to taste in an Oxford-Cambridge wine showdown, says team members stay in shape off season by traveling extensively in wine-growing regions, sometimes sipping away from morning till night. "It takes memory and a great deal of drinking to develop your palate," says Miss Stewart-Brown. "Of course, no one gets drunk. You spit the wine out after each taste. One aims vaguely at great silver spitoons."
Japan's famous slugger, Sadaharu Oh (SI, March 29), has revised his thinking about major league baseball in the U.S. after seeing the Baltimore Orioles in action during the American League champions' recent visit to the Orient. "When the Dodgers came here in 1966 and the Cardinals in 1968, I felt I could play with the Americans," Oh said through an interpreter. "But after facing the Orioles, I think it would be difficult. They are very, very strong." He was equally candid about Japanese baseball in general. "It will be a long time before we reach the level of the Americans," he said. "Maybe never. Physically, they are stronger than we are. We are trying to close the gap, but it is very wide yet."
DOCTOR'S NIGHT OUT
This is not to imply that she ever got the least bit out of shape, but Tenley Albright, the first American woman to win the world championship in figure skating (1953, 1955) and Olympic gold medalist (1956), is back in training. So are ex-champs Hayes and David Jenkins and 1960's top Olympian, Carol Heiss, who is married to Hayes Jenkins. Plus, as they always say, a star-studded cast of others, every one a winner.
The oldtimers will highlight the U.S. Figure Skating Association's golden jubilee wingding this Monday night at Madison Square Garden in New York. The fund-raising benefit will include the 1971 U.S. figure-skating team and every other skater around who ever was anybody in the sport, except for Peggy Fleming, who is taping a TV show in Europe.
Showing up for a night of nostalgia is fine, but the proposed format for the jubilee really got to Tenley Albright. The oldtimers, presumably creaky with age, were supposed to be pushed around the ice on sleds while they sat there quietly, waving sedately to the crowd. Tenley, who is 36, married, a mother of three and a busy surgeon as well, decided she wasn't that creaky. She can still fit into her old skating costumes, though "they look kind of old-fashioned," and all she needed was a new routine and a little time away from the operating table.
The Jenkins boys and Carol Heiss, who felt the same way, are also spurning the sled, and will appear on ice together in a trio act. Tenley will do a solo, worked around a Pink Panther theme. That's showing them, Dr. T. Get out there and cut 'em up.