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World Team Tennis, the new professional tennis league, may not turn out to be a success, but it has already made an impact with its team nicknames. Studiously avoiding the bloodthirsty labels that permeate existing leagues, most of the WTT clubs have come up with names that reflect a characteristic of the city or an aspect of tennis. Thus, one finds the New York Sets, the Denver Racquets, the Chicago Aces, the Los Angeles Strings, the San Diego Swingers and the Detroit Loves (whose general manager happens to be Bob Love). And the Oakland Golden Gaters, the Philadelphia Freedoms (you remember Independence Hall), the Pittsburgh Triangles, the Baltimore Banners (The Star-Spangled Banner! Right!) and the Houston EZ Riders (they're owned by Mr. and Mrs. E. Z. Jones).
Someone has suggested that if California gets another franchise in the league the team could be named the San Andreas Double Faults. In any case, headline writers will have rich opportunities when WTT teams play. We can see Freedoms Curtailed, Banners Furled, Triangles Bisected, Strings Tied and, when Detroit wins the championship, Loves Conquer All.
The rabbit lobby has achieved a signal victory in Florida. Humane societies objected to the common practice of training racing greyhounds by letting them chase live rabbits in practice sessions. They complained to Attorney General Robert Shevin, who took their case to court, and this month Circuit Court Judge E. R. Mills ruled the practice illegal. Because greyhound racing is big business in Florida, Judge Mills gave the industry a year of grace to come up with a rabbitless training system.
In handing down his ruling, the judge said, "I'm not satisfied with the evidence by the state or the defendant. There was not enough to show me that the method is or is not the only way these dogs can be trained. But I can't believe there can't be some method other than the use of what the evidence indicates are Easter bunnies and jackrabbits."
Greyhound owners, breeders and trainers were dismayed by the ruling. Some predicted that most of Florida's greyhound breeding farms would fold their kennels and leave the state before it goes into effect. "It's awfully damn hard to train a dog to race without a live rabbit," said owner Woody Blackwell. Brad Cochrane, a trainer, said, "I think it behooves the state to come up with a new training system. It gets about $35 million a year from greyhound racing."
The greyhound men said that only jackrabbits, regarded as pests in most parts of the U.S., are used to train the dogs. Owner Chester Culbreath said, "I don't understand it. Some people wring chickens' necks, and they hit hogs between the eyes with hammers. They used to pay a bounty to kill jackrabbits out West. So what's wrong with dogs chasing rabbits?"