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- Faces in the CrowdJune 11, 2001
Most people go to North Bay, Ontario for the fishing, which has been especially good this year thanks to a damp spring that produced more than the usual number of flying insects.
What is good for fishing, however, is not necessarily ideal for soft ball. For the first time in the history of the Gateway Major Fastball Association a game has been called on account of mosquitoes. Bruce Office Supply was leading the Canadian Forces Base Falcons 9-0 after four innings when darkness descended and the lights went on. Immediately, swarms of mosquitoes and shad flies rose from the shallow waters of Lake Nipissing and began to gather, first around the lights, then around players, coaches, spectators and the umpire. For an inning everybody gave it a try, writhing and slapping, unable to get signals of any kind. Finally, in the top of the sixth, Umpire Harvey Allen, noting through a break in the clouds that the spectators had all gone home anyway, called the game and gave the win to Bruce Office. The evening went to the insects, and the blame, or credit if you wish, to the Resources Ministry, which had abandoned spraying this year as being ecologically unsound.
ON TO THE HOUSE
The Tunney sports bill is halfway home. It passed the Senate last week, after seven hours of debate, by a vote of 62-29. The measure, which is an amalgam of several bills that emerged from Commerce Committee hearings on the state of amateur athletics in this country, creates and funds a five-member Amateur Sports Board and empowers it to charter organizations to represent the U.S. in international competition.
Ostensibly, the bill cuts the power of the AAU off at the knees by limiting the number of sports that can be controlled by a single organization to one (or at the most three when it can be demonstrated that the other two would benefit from common administration). Right now the AAU governs 11 international sports and has voting control over all 26 sports that come within the purview of the U.S. Olympic Committee.
Under the terms of the bill, the status of the NCAA is unaltered except in one important respect—it cannot arbitrarily prohibit athletes from competing in open events. Such prohibitions have been the NCAA's primary weapon in its long power struggle with the AAU.
Danger lurks everywhere. A government-appointed bureaucracy could turn out to be even less competent than the present one; the AAU could choose a disruptive course; the International Olympic Committee could refuse to recognize the newly chartered organizations; the intramural squabbling between the existing organizations could expand to include a number of new combatants.
Despite the hazards, however, a fan's inclination might now be to root for the bill in the House of Representatives, if only because there is a chance that its passage will finally bring to an overdue end the infuriating fratricidal feuding of the AAU and the NCAA.
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