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There is the state dog, the Chesapeake Bay retriever, the state bird, the Baltimore oriole, the state fish, the rock-fish or striped bass, the state flower, the black-eyed Susan. Now Maryland, by vote of the House of Delegates, has chosen the Baltimore checkerspot brushfooted butterfly, Euphydryas phaeton, as "the official arthropodic emblem of the state." The insect was nominated by State Senator Edward Hall, who said, "It's difficult to propose this with a completely straight face."
Senator Hall and the House of Delegates should now have completely red faces. The term "arthropodic" refers to a phylum of animals having segmented appendages and external skeletons shed during periods of growth. Insects are only one of a number of classes in Phylum Arthropoda, which also takes in the Crustaceans, notably the blue crab, Callinectes sapidus. Is any arthropod more symbolic of Maryland than the blue crab? The delight of kids and the pleasure of gourmets, the blue crab supports a vast recreational and commercial fishery in Chesapeake Bay. Marylanders eat soft-shell crabs by the ton, they relish crab salad, they serve up crab cakes to drooling tourists. As much as Kentucky is the bluegrass state, Maryland is the blue crab state. Citizens, arise! Summon up the shades of H.L. Mencken to fight for the right arthropod in Annapolis.
EAST AND WEST
For a basketball power that rarely draws players from outside the neighborhood. Providence College has pulled off a stunner by reaching into Southern California for Terry Tate, a very fluid, very smooth 6'6" senior at Daniel Murphy High School in Los Angeles. Eyed covetously by such schools as Southern Cal, Long Beach State, Santa Clara, North Carolina, Memphis State and Notre Dame, among others, Tate got interested in Providence because the same order, the Dominican, runs his high school. Last fall Tate went East for a visit, liked the "closeness" of the players so much that when Providence went to play UCLA in January, Tate met the team at the airport. After UCLA won, says Providence P.R. man Mike Tranghese, "I think Terry felt worse than we did."
But the West will fight back and then some. Or at least Bill Toomey, decathlon gold medalist at Mexico City, will as the new track coach of the University of California at Irvine. Thinking global, Toomey says, "I'm going to recruit foreign athletes. I have contacts all over the world and it would help our program to have world-class athletes on the team." Several weeks ago Toomey was in New Zealand and spoke to a 19-year-old half-miler who does 1:48; Toomey was also at Richmond for the U.S.- U.S.S.R. meet where he gave his pitch to Nikolai Avilov, who broke his decathlon record at Munich. Adds Toomey, "I have a good friend who broadcasts track for the Bavarian TV station. I asked him to give me a plug on German TV, and he did. Hopefully I'll be getting letters soon."
There will be no merger between the National Hockey League and the World Hockey Association right now. WHA owners believe they will win their $64 million antitrust suit against the NHL and its reserve clause. Also, WHA owners don't want to indemnify NHL owners in the event of merger. The NHL would want WHA teams to pay at least $6 million each, the price Buffalo, Vancouver, Atlanta and the New York Islanders all paid for admission. Moreover, some NHL owners fear that if a merger ever comes, a new major hockey league might start and cause a war all over again.
Within the NHL itself, owners are scheduled to meet secretly in New York this week on internal problems. Several owners, notably William Wirtz in Chicago and Bruce Norris in Detroit, are incensed that Bill Jennings of the Rangers started merger talks with WHA owners on his own and said nothing to them until they were over. Moreover, Wirtz and Norris are angry that Jennings ignored them while newcomers from Philadelphia and Pittsburgh were invited. Says one NHL owner: "Damn Rangers. They get $5 million indemnity from the Islanders and now they want another $6 million for a merger. The hell with them."