DOWN UNDER COMING UP
Just to alert all you America's Cup fans: Australia's challenger for next year's competition off Newport is to the testing stage. The yacht Australis is at Yanchep, a stretch of scrubby beach 35 miles north of Perth on the west coast of the island continent. Australis belongs to 35-year-old Alan Bond, a former Englishman who is now one of Australia's most successful businessmen. Bond made a great deal of money in land, is in the process of gaining control of a big iron-ore mine, and—in partnership with Japan's Tokyu Corporation—is planning a huge holiday resort and retirement village at Yanchep, but at the moment he is concentrating on winning the cup.
Two of the previous Australian challengers, Gretel I and Gretel II, are riding at anchor off Yanchep waiting to race Australis, which was built 2,100 miles away in a windowless shed in Sydney. The boat was shipped across the continent wrapped in aluminum foil to, well, foil infrared cameras wielded by spies in the employ of either the U.S., the perennial cup holder, or France, another challenger.
Bond, who has carpeting on both the floor and ceiling of his office in Perth, is leaving as little as possible to chance. He has an Olympic gold-medal yachtsman on his staff, as well as the skipper of Gretel II. And he is planning to take a lawyer along to the races at Newport next summer, along with a videotape camera to provide pictorial evidence of the inevitable protests. You may recall the disputes when Gretel II raced. These Australians never quit.
THE CSONKA TAPES
People have been picking on pro football lately the way they used to nag big-league baseball—and maybe they have a point. After a recent Miami Dolphin game, Fullback Larry Csonka complained, "They tell me I'm subject to a $500 fine—or at least the club is—if I have tape on my shoes that is not the same color as the shoes or the uniform." Apparently, it's true. If a player tightens the fit of a shoe with white adhesive tape, the trainer has to give it a squirt of paint to keep it in tune with the times. The new ruling is one more concession to television, part of a general clean-up edict that frowns on bad-image things like loose chin straps, hanging shirttails, and so on.
"Damn it," said Csonka, "I need tape on my shoes to help my feet. Who cares what color it is? Today I went out on the field and then I had to go back to the sidelines and get my tape sprayed. How I look doesn't matter. If you get 40 players who look good and can't play, what good are they?
"All this kid stuff is starting to interfere with my concentration. It seems to me that some of the rules we have now must have been made by someone far away from the game."
Tearing down goalposts is fun for victorious fans but an expense and a nuisance for the teams, especially when the posts go down before a game is over. Even metal goalposts, which have replaced wood in many places, are destroyed. This season Stanford University tried STP on its posts, the idea being that a fan grabbing an STP'd goalpost would have no more success than Rocky Marciano did when Andy Granatelli challenged him to pick up a slicked screwdriver in that old TV commercial.
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