"We've tried that twice and it's worked once," says Baker.
The "free school" at the University of Maryland has a course in hitchhiking. The class is taught by 28-year-old Bob Berrio, who claims he has thumbed his way in almost every part of the U.S. and "been busted only once in the past 12 years." Berrio says of police he has come in contact with, "By and large, they're decent people." He advises students, "Be polite to police, don't carry drugs and stay off major highways."
Professional tennis is blasting off in all directions. The women seem on the verge of splitting into two major warring factions (page 86), one under the aegis of the U.S. Lawn Tennis Association and the other a well-financed independent group called the Women's International Tennis Federation, a Gladys Heldman production starring Billie Jean King.
Meanwhile, things are stirring, too, on the supposedly calm male side of the court. A group of Pittsburghers has announced the formation of the National Tennis League, a professional circuit of tennis teams that they say will begin play next May. The group is incorporated in Delaware for $1 million and has put the price of a franchise at $250,000. No franchises have been awarded, but Pittsburgh, Miami, Houston and Los Angeles are supposed to be all set. The NTL says it will stress colorful uniforms and equipment (white is out) and a 21-point game, as in table tennis, but it did not mention the names of the players it hopes to corral.
And then there is Bill Riordan, head of the U.S. Indoor Tennis Circuit, who is organizing a troupe of professionals to rival Lamar Hunt's World Championship Tennis group. WCT reached an agreement last spring with the International Lawn Tennis Federation that seemed to presage peace for the sport. But Riordan says no. He says WCT and the ILTF have tried to monopolize the pro game. "They tried to make the world think there was peace," he says, "but this thing is a long way from being over." He said he had 40 top international stars on his side, including Ilie Nastase, the volatile Rumanian.
And to think it used to be such a quiet, gentle game.
A LITTLE LESS LITTER
Pull-top cans became illegal in Oregon on Oct. 1, although a challenge to the constitutionality of the new law has been carried to the state court of appeals. An earlier challenge was denied in a county circuit court. Conservationists, who hope the ban will be echoed in other states, were elated. They have long argued that pull-top rings are a major and dangerous element in litter (fish, for instance, strike at and swallow the sharp-edged tabs). Now the conservationists have their sights on the plastic-ring unit that holds six-packs together, which has become a practically indestructible part of the American scene.