The only active major-leaguer with all five vowels in his first name is who? Aurelio Rodriguez, Detroit infielder. Next question.
COURTING THE WOMEN
Tom Thacker, the clever defensive guard who led the University of Cincinnati to two NCAA basketball titles in the early '60s and then played seven seasons in the pros, has returned to his alma mater to coach the sport. His players are not called Bearcats, though. They are the Bearkittens, Cincinnati's women's varsity.
There may be a trend afoot. Former UCLA All-America Kenny Washington recently directed the Bruin women to the All-Cal Tournament title, and several pros, Celtic Don Nelson most prominent among them, run summer basketball camps which include girls. Thacker finds women more coachable than men. "I have some innovative ideas about basketball that I think they grasp faster than men," he said before his team's first game, against Miami of Ohio. "Women have been playing stereotype basketball. I'm trying to get my girls out of some old habits, like slow, sagging, lazy zones. I'm trying to indoctrinate them into the fast break, pressing zones, zone traps, switching and all the complicated things men do. When I speak of their easy grasp, I mean they don't have preconceived ideas about basketball. They haven't had the early orientation boys have and they haven't developed to the point where they can't change their games."
Thacker's theories will have greater impact, however, when the Bearkittens are permitted to finish what they start. Their opener, played as a preliminary to the men's game with SMU, was aborted with 4:50 to go and Cincy leading 53-50 to allow the men to begin their warmups. The game was recorded as a 0-0 tie.
Miami Coach Elaine Hieber complained that a man had been sent to do a woman's job. "I don't mean to attack Tom Thacker," she said, attacking Tom Thacker, "but if Cincinnati had a woman coach, she would have been fighting against stopping the game as hard as I was."
SINE OF THE TIMES
Students with pocket calculators will please take them out; the rest of you are excused. Our problem for today is to determine the beneficiary in the following eight-digit situation: if you take the 14 million U.S. motorists who are using the highways at any given moment, plus the 215,000 drivers lining up at filling stations, plus 400 unhappy strip mine operators, and set them all in the middle of Saudi Arabia with 69 sheiks dancing around them in oil-rich glee—and you keep the whole mob there for five days (that's right, students, multiply by five)—who is the clear winner? Turn your calculators around and read the answer upside down. Class dismissed.
Almost before the inquisitive stranger can get the words out—"Are you a...? —George Johnson, the 6'11" center of the Golden State Warriors, is replying politely, "No, I'm a gynecologist." At other times he is a pediatrician or a podiatrist or an anesthesiologist. Johnson claims he actually enjoys being approached now. "People show great respect for my ability to pass med school despite my height."
It is a good ploy, but no tall man ever came up with a better answer than Johnny Kerr, who used to play for Syracuse and is now business manager of the Chicago Bulls. "No, ma'am," he once told a nice little lady. "I am a jockey for a dinosaur."