The Olympic torch that once took months to travel by relay from Greece to the site of the Games will be flashed between Athens and Ottawa in 1976 in less than a second by laser beam. Runners will carry it only from Olympia to Athens and Ottawa to Montreal.
CUTTING THE BAD SKATES
If professional hockey is reluctant to rein in its unruly members, the Ontario Minor Hockey Association is not. Concerned at increased violence in the game, 899 delegates to the 41st annual meeting voted new penalties right where they will do the most good. A coach in the Pee Wee series and below (ages eight to 12) will draw a day's suspension every time his team incurs more than 26 penalty minutes during a game. Coaches of Minor Bantam and above teams (ages 13 to 18) will be allowed 36 minutes in penalties before getting the treatment. Said Vern McCallum, secretary-manager of the 142,286-member OMHA, "This is getting back to the coaches, where some of us think the unruly conduct begins."
GUIDANCE OF DIVINES
In the long run, Father Paul Clarke, the new assistant priest at a Catholic church is Sleaford, England, probably would agree with the 11 theologians queried recently by the Chicago Daily News. They contended, for a variety of reasons, that there is no way a gambler can pray his way to the bank.
"Blasphemous," "magic," "perversion of the fundamental notion of prayer" were some of the objections. The most any of the 11 would say in favor of a gambler's prayers came from the Rev. Charles R. Meyer, professor of systematic theology at St. Mary of the Lake Roman Catholic Seminary. "It's not wrong to pray [to win]," said the Rev. Meyer, "but only if it be in accord with God's will, and that if it is against His will we don't want it." The majority agreed with the Rev. Dr. Kenneth Kantzer, dean of the Trinity Evangelical Divinity School of Deerfield, III., who thought God would be against anyone gambling, much less praying to win. He suggested that God's most likely answer to such a prayer would be to quit gambling.
Well, Father Clarke got into religion because of his wagering. As a young punter he found himself one day faced with �70 in debts. He went to church and prayed, then hied himself to the nearest betting office and backed two horses. They won �80. Later, faced with a bank overdraft, he sought guidance in another church. When he got outside he bought a racing form, and the name of a horse seemed to glare out at him. He bet on it and it won.
"That's when I started taking religion seriously," he said. "I believed I was being called to the church through my only interest, gambling."
Since taking holy orders, however, he has not placed a bet. "I sometimes try to pick a winner in my mind," Father Clarke says, "but the horse I choose never wins." His advice for unsuccessful gamblers: "Seek God's help, even though he might not give you the winner of the 2:30."
THE RAKE'S PROGRESS
As fall ends, leaf jumping has not caught on, but that is because the rest of the world has not yet caught up to Justin Catanoso, who is not only the codifier of the sport but possibly one of the great leaf jumpers of our day.