Marty Liquori, the miler everyone thought had succeeded Jim Ryun as our prime candidate for a gold medal in the Olympic 1,500, stopped training a couple of months back because of a persistent injury in his left heel. Two weeks ago he tried jogging but "I hurt worse than ever." He decided to give up running altogether and forget about the Olympics.
But he paid one last visit to a doctor, and now hope is burgeoning again. "He said little crystals showed up in the X rays," Liquori explains. "He said it's probably the gout. The muscle could be completely healed and all the pain could be coming from the gout. He's treating me for it. I'm dieting. If that's what it is, it should be cleared soon and I can start serious training again."
Liquori with gout, traditionally a disease of middle-aged swingers? It won't come as a surprise to Jim (Jumbo) Elliott, Liquori's coach at Villanova. "Jumbo told me last fall it could be that," Liquori says. "I kept telling him he was crazy. We all tend to think of Jumbo as being a little wild sometimes. When he finds out about this I'm going to hear the loudest I told you so' in history."
Even if it is gout and it is cleared up, the question remains whether Liquori has time to get in shape for the Olympic Trials. He was able to run eight miles last Friday and 13 miles Saturday but, as he says, "It will mean track 24 hours a day for the next 10 weeks. It will be murder, but I'll make it. Mentally, I'm already angry. All the work that went into track, the great year I had last year, the confidence that I could improve, and now this. The way I feel, I want to beat somebody."
WAGES OF SIN
A glittering bit of sportsmanship came to light in the early weeks of spring. Yes, indeed. In the Eastern Basketball League a schedule conflict and some bad traveling weather combined to leave the Wilkes-Barre Barons two games short when the regular season ended. Both were home games. If Wilkes-Barre had played and won both those games it would have moved into a tie for fourth place. If it then had won the team-to-team showdown for fourth it would have qualified for the league playoffs. A continuation of this theoretical hot streak in the playoffs could conceivably have won Wilkes-Barre the league championship. A miracle finish, of course, but who can forget the Braves of 1914 and the Giants of 1951?
It was not to be. The league decided that if Wilkes-Barre played and won those two missing games the playoffs would be unduly put off, thus "causing financial loss to the other teams and probably delaying the end of the playoffs until May"; consequently, the Barons were told to forfeit the games, disappear from the scene and let the other clubs get on with it. The vote to cancel was unanimous, meaning that Wilkes-Barre went along with the idea.
William Montzman, league commissioner, pointed out that poor attendance was a factor in the Barons' decision to quit without further ado. Asked if forfeiting might not have an adverse effect on the fans' future attitude toward the team, Montzman said, "I've been wondering about that." Amen.
Young Ben Crenshaw's 19th-place finish in the Masters Tournament deeply impressed the world of golf. Nineteenth place may not seem like much, but at the Masters it meant $2,500 that the 20-year-old Crenshaw would have won if he had not been an amateur. Last year he played in three pro events and tied for seventh, 24th and, in the U.S. Open, 27th. He would have earned $6,000 in just those three, and there are more than 40 tournaments. "Each year he stays off the tour," Jimmy Demaret commented some time ago, "it's going to cost him $100,000."