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SPORT IS FOR SPORTSMEN
This magazine has said often enough that politics has no place in sport. The dictum bears repeating in the wake of India's lamentable decision not to meet South Africa in the Davis Cup finals. Follow India's thinking to its logical conclusion and there would be almost no international competition. Communists would not meet capitalists, Scottish nationalists would refuse to compete against the English, and the Asian Games would collapse under the weight of religious partisanship.
When he visited South Africa last fall, Arthur Ashe said, "Sports is the Achilles' heel of South Africa." He meant that the South Africans' extraordinary devotion to sport might yet prove the undoing of the invidious policy of apartheid, which he, as a black, despises every bit as much as the Indians. Ashe knew that he was being used by his hosts, but he was using them, too, to show that black can play against white and the races sit next to each other in the stands without terrible consequences.
This was a modest contribution in the cause of tolerance, but preferable to a heavy-handed action that assures only that black will not meet white on the tennis courts of South Africa this year and may eventually help kill Davis Cup competition, one of the few vehicles in the world of sport that does bring people of all nations together. This is the sort of thing that happens when governments take the play away from the players.
REST IN PEACE
A bastion of male chauvinism that had stood for 220 years fell recently, with not so much as a thorny burr in protest. Indeed, the end came with such stunning suddenness that the 180 assembled members of the Royal and Ancient Club were shocked speechless. Unheard of.
The beginning of the end was a letter from the Ladies' Golf Union to which, frankly, the ladies would have been happy merely to receive a reply. Inasmuch as the Women's Open was to be played on the Old Course at St. Andrews this coming June, they wrote to the R and A, please, sirs, would it not be possible for the players and officials to use the clubhouse? To their astonishment, the ladies were given access not only to the Silence Room (egad!), where the trophies and regalia are in a manner of speaking on display in a big iron safe, but to the Big Room, the holy of holies itself, and to the whole of the locker and changing accommodations.
In manlier days, many years before, British golf writer Henry Longhurst recalls, the club once introduced a lady cashier to collect the luncheon money at the dining-room door. An elderly member spotted her and said, "Dammit, it's a woman!" He soon had her out, a boast he carried to his Scottish grave.
HOW SOON THEY FORGET