Sporting goods stores are experiencing a similar boom. A representative of one firm said, "During the first 10 years we were in business we probably didn't sell more than one sweatband a year. Now 10 a day is slow. Wilt started it all. It's reached the point now where a kid will hardly go to school without one."
MORE BIKE THAN BARK
The Baltimore County Commission on Physical Fitness has issued a hints-to-cyclists booklet that includes suggestions on how to repel dogs.
"Some cyclists," the work notes, "grab their tire pumps as weapons. Some carry one or two large stones in their pockets. Quite a few others have found that lung power is very effective. We have seen a dog literally skid to a stop and slink away as a result of a very loud and angry yell, 'GO HOME!' "
It must be that many dogs around Baltimore are hard to intimidate, because the booklet also suggests: "Keep your pedal speed very high; this will make your feet a poor target."
The best idea of all might be to switch over to a penny-farthing bike. Penny-farthings are those old-fashioned ones with the big wheel in front and the tiny one behind. Two years ago in England a former racing cyclist named Keith Brock built one for his daughter. People saw it, liked it, asked about it, and now Brock has a factory turning out 1,000 bikes a week. Most are for the British market, but several American concerns are interested in distributing them here.
Most of Brock's bikes are for kids and cost $52 each, but he also makes an adult version for $394. This is a little expensive for the average cyclist, but it might be worth it if he has trouble with dogs. Back in the 1880s the original penny-farthings were known for their tendency to frighten horses. Dogs don't scare as easily, but the rider sits so high up on the big front wheel that he might well be above a dog's importuning bite. Or, that failing, the penny-farthing could make a dog laugh so hard he wouldn't be able to chase it.
Pro basketball coaches and scouts at the NAIA tournament bounced around a rumor that Kareem Abdul-Jabbar would leave the Milwaukee Bucks after next season. The word was that Jabbar might play out his option and become a free agent. In that event, one coach suggested, the only teams that could afford to meet his price would be the Knicks or the Lakers, which, significantly, represent 1) the city where Jabbar grew up and first played the game and 2) the city where he established his supremacy as a college player. It is no secret that he would prefer either to Milwaukee as a place to be.
BASEBALL STRIKE TALK
If it happens at all, the threatened strike of major league baseball players will probably come on a spot basis, say a Saturday early in the season when Game of the Week television would be affected. But reports persist that the strike could wipe out the entire 1972 season. What are the economic consequences for the owners if there is no season? Frank Cashen, executive vice-president of the American League champion Baltimore Orioles, said the other day that in Baltimore's case the loss of one season would not in itself be as bad as the aftershock. "If we play this year and draw 900,000 and do not get into the playoffs or World Series," Cashen said, "I expect we'd be looking a $600,000 loss in the face. If baseball shuts down, I could cut our staff and our operation to the bone and not lose anything close to $600,000."