VOTE OF CONFIDENCE
Among the 63—or is it 257?—non-negotiable demands of the striking National Football League players (page 57) are many so-called freedom issues relating to how the players conduct their own lives. These have been singled out for particular ridicule, but should they be?
Admittedly, the players supporting the strike are flying in the face of one of the most cherished prerogatives in the game: the right of coaches to determine what they will do, and in some cases wear, almost every hour of the day through the entire exhibition and regular season. Such total control, conceivably, is necessary to achieve a winning record in junior and senior high school, perhaps even in college. But in professional sport? We wonder. If a man does not know how to take care of himself properly by the time he turns pro, he soon will be gone, and no loss. There are others to take his place, and his paycheck. The players score some points here.
Each time a Houston Astro hits a homer in the Dome when the minute hand on the scoreboard clock shows an even number—i.e., 9:12—it's beer on the house for the rest of the game. The giveaways are known as foamers.
Catchy word, that, and worth more exposure, so July 12 was announced by the Astro publicity office as Foamer Night. Then came the retraction: July 12 was already scheduled—as Baptist Night. Hold the foam.
AB-SOLUTELY GOOD NEWS
As dear as a ripe avocado to the heart of a Southern Californian is a bland sea creature growing inside an iridescent shell that attaches itself for dear life to rocks beneath the waters of certain coves along the Pacific Coast. Breaking the suction that holds an ab—as the creature is affectionately known—to its rock requires strong arms and lungs and, traditionally, a tire iron. And rendering the abalone meat edible is equally testing, requiring a merciless pounding with a wooden mallet, but all worth the work according to the ab's devotees.
You can imagine, then, the consternation when the abalone abandoned Abalone Cove on Los Angeles' Palos Verdes Peninsula in the mid-60s, because pollution and warming waters destroyed the kelp beds on which they subsisted. Now the California Division of Fish and Game is attempting to recreate an environment at Abalone Cove. It has transplanted kelp from giant beds off Catalina Island, installed hollow concrete building blocks to protect young abs from such predators as sheephead fish, cleared the area of sea urchins, another adversary, and, finally, seeded the cove with 2,000 juvenile abalone, 1,000 of them a year and a half old and the size of a silver dollar, 1,000 nine months old and no bigger than a thumbnail.
It will be several years before these abs reach the legal seven inches. But if all goes well, Abalone Cove and others like it may once again exist as one veteran diver remembers them: "Wall-to-wall kelp and abalone everywhere."