Taylor was asked why the farm had not used a thoroughbred of no distinction as a test mare, on the chance that a usable racer might result. "The test mare has to be real gentle," he explained, "so that the horse won't get hurt. She must be very docile. Often, a young stallion acts roughly and strongly, and thoroughbred mares usually won't stand for that. They're very high-strung and nervous.
"And it's the wrong time of year. This foal will be born next October or November. Under racing rules it will officially become a year old the following Jan. 1, when it actually will be only a couple of months old.
"Besides, the shareholders in the syndicate that owns the stallion wouldn't want it."
O.K. Now the only question is, What should the foal be named? Trial Run?
Devising and utilizing a computer program of mathematical equations, two Kansas State University engineering professors have concluded that among track and field athletes, pole vaulters are underachieves. Dr. Philip G. Kirmser and Dr. Hugh S. Walker assert that the present world record in the pole vault (18'5�") is far under what it should be. The two believe a 20-foot vault is not improbable, although they say the 20-foot vaulter will have to have a gymnastics background and a new type of pole. "The pole needs to be more flexible than the fiberglass poles now in use," says Kirmser.
The professors also decided that the longer a vault takes—that is, the more time the vaulter is off the ground—the better the vault will be. "A good vault," says Kirmser, "takes from 1.1 to 1.2 seconds from start to finish. A jump that takes only .8 or .9 seconds is a poor jump. We know a poor vault instantly. A good one always lasts longer."
It's difficult to argue with that. The higher a man jumps the longer it should take for him to get back down. It sounds a little like Calvin Coolidge's dictum: "When a great many people are unable to find work, unemployment results."
In this day and age, when success in sport is measured too often by the dollar sign, it is a pleasure to come across Robert Vanderbrook, a 22-year-old medical student at Louisiana State University. Vanderbrook was in the stands at the Sugar Bowl on New Year's Eve and caught the game-winning field goal kicked by Notre Dame's Bob Thomas. Afterward he made for the dressing room and as he waited outside an exuberant Notre Dame fan offered him $500 for the ball. Vanderbrook said no. The father of Tom Clements, the Notre Dame quarterback who was named Most Valuable Player in the game, heard the exchange and asked Vanderbrook what he intended to do with the ball. "I want to give it to Coach Parseghian," the LSU student said. Clements got him into the dressing room and to Parseghian, who very much wanted the ball, and asked. "What can we give you for it?" Vanderbrook said he'd kind of like a souvenir, so Parseghian gave him another ball that had been used in the game, three jerseys (one for Vanderbrook, one for his brother and one for a friend) and posed for a photograph.