A new movie called Horror High is a veritable showcase for the Dallas Cowboys. Craig Morton, Calvin Hill, Billy Truax and D. D. Lewis play policemen, but the best—really the most grisly—role went to Guard John Niland, who plays the part of a sadistic football coach. Niland builds a small, esthetic type into a self-assertive monster and for his trouble is left for dead hanging bloodily upside down from the swinging rings in the gym. "The worst part was when they poured a quart of syrup over me dyed with food coloring," says Niland. "Syrup is for pancakes."
A simply depressing note in London. When Graeme Levin, editor of a magazine for indoor-sports enthusiasts, tried to market a cricket card game, he says he was turned down by everyone he approached on the wicket that "cricket is a dying sport."
Pat Pieper, official announcer at Wrigley Field, has just begun his 70th season with the Chicago Cubs. Now 87, Pieper started announcing with a megaphone when the Cub double-play combination was Tinker to Evers to Chance, and Mordecai (Three Finger) Brown was leading the pitching staff with a 1.86 ERA. Peering back from the gloaming of his career, Pieper notes clearly one significant change that was never made. Wrigley still has no night lights.
In the University of Maine's Distinguished Lecturer Series, there were Vice-President Spiro Agnew, Senator Thomas Eagleton, Senator Strom Thurmond and—yes—Redskins Back Larry Brown. Larry was off and running on the lecture circuit after chatty Bill Russell had told him it was "a real good scene" out there. At Orono, Maine, in only his fourth talk, Brown drew more of a crowd than Thurmond and got more requests for autographs than any of the politicians. What did he talk about? Life ("If you can't be a mountain be a river...") and football coaches ("Allen trades you for almost anything, even AstroTurf sometimes. If you dropped a ball on Lombardi, you had to run, run, run, never walk"). And, presumably, you never talked.
When NBC-TV announced recently that it will jazz up its sports broadcasts this year by using show-biz personalities as "color analysts," Washington sportscaster and former play-byplay man Warner Wolf recalled an experiment of the same kind four years ago. "Flip Wilson was our first celebrity analyst. He was joking away while the Senators lost to the Orioles 2-1." Washington tried ex-ballplayers next. " Moose Skowron spent his time knocking people he didn't like. I'm looking for another disaster."
Most plastic surgeons, like concert pianists, are too fond of their fingers to risk fracturing them in violent sports. But not Dr. Ralph Millard Jr. Once an all-state football center in North Carolina, Millard was also an unbeaten heavyweight boxing champion at Yale. While in residency training in Houston, he took up rodeo. Moved to Miami, he turned to water skiing; first two skis, then one, then one on a slalom course. If you're out on Biscayne Bay water skiing someday, and this tall, handsome sportsman is showing you up with eye-popping new wrinkles in one-ski rope tricks, try ruining his concentration by yelling something like "Deviated septum!"
Cesar Cedeno, Houston outfielder whose .320 average made him third best in the league last year, travels with cassette tapes to help pass the time on the road. Many ballplayers do this, but the tapes Cedeno listens to are his own recordings sung in his native Spanish, and his favorite song is the theme from The Godfather. Says Cedeno: "I love to listen to myself."
Before the sign went up near the training room at Johns Hopkins requiring athletes to wear T shirts and shorts, the boys were jumping into the whirlpool in the altogether, which was only slightly embarrassing for Kelly Morron, an 18-year-old freshman who is serving part-time as one of the athletic department's assistant trainers. "I saw a lot of nudity before everyone was aware of the signs," she admitted, blushing slightly. But it wasn't all that hair-raising. "I got used to it. It's no big thing."
The evening after winning the $200,000 Tournament of Champions at La Costa, Calif., Jack Nicklaus went off to local courts for two sets of tennis. "I needed to get in a little exercise," he said.
The players line up in a space half the size of a football field, they get their signals musically from an outerspace voice, a wind machine hurls a gale on them and 300 pounds of ice stacked in a corner is a chilling reminder of heroic battles in late fall. It is all very symbolic, the non-verbal work of Jack Thibeau, a poet and now playwright who back in the '50s was on a Mendel Catholic High team that won the city championship before 80,000 people in Chicago's Soldier Field. Thibeau did not play—too small for that, he was the squad manager—but, he says, he has never lived down his "crazy relationship to the team's spirit." The Saint and the Foot-hall Players, performed by the Mabou Mines play troupe, was presented at New York University, and for anybody who asked what it all meant, Thibeau had a ready answer: "The mere sight of football uniforms re-creates a whole level of consciousness."