TAXING THE IMAGINATION
Just speculating idly, the man suggested that since the Internal Revenue Service has confiscated equipment from this defunct World Football League team, uniforms from that one and gate receipts from another, what organization is in a better position to field a new professional football league in 1975 than the IRS? The names are naturals. The Tampa Tax Shelters, the Washington Withholders, the Denver Deductions, the Juneau Joint Filers, the Wilmington Write-Offs, the Rochester Refunds. The IRSFL would be better financed than the old WFL and obviously it keeps better books. So the man said.
THE CUP SPILLETH
The U.S. loss to Mexico in the Davis Cup this week carries a great deal more significance than did similar defeats the U.S. and Australia suffered in earlier rounds of the competition last year. Then the two top nations had excuses: they were trying to sneak by with second-stringers on faraway foreign courts. Against Mexico, Captain Dennis Ralston did make what appears, from hindsight, to be a curious choice by playing Stan Smith in the singles with a bad leg while using Wimbledon semifinalist Dick Stockton to replace him in the doubles, instead of using Stockton in the singles and leaving the Smith-Bob Lutz combination intact.
But Mexico is a genuine winner. Not only did Raul Ramirez and Vincente Zarazua beat a most representative U.S. team—although Arthur Ashe had a tournament commitment—they did it on U.S. soil, only the second time in history that we have ever lost a preliminary Davis Cup match at home. Which should now make it clear to everyone that we cannot expect to beat lesser cup teams, let alone the Australians, without playing our best. And that means Jimmy Connors.
Citing his usual array of petty personal and political slights (real or imagined), Connors has refused invitations from Ralston to play for his country except on his own terms; he requires some sort of right of refusal over Davis Cup team officials. In Las Vegas for the Rod Laver match (page 18), a wonderfully entertaining but easily movable feast, Connors' manager, Bill Riordan, declared baldly, "We have simple conditions. The present administration of the team must be changed—specifically, Dennis Ralston."
It is a sad situation when the U.S. Lawn Tennis Association must succumb to a form of extortion in order to obtain the services of its best player.
HARDEST ROWS TO HOE
One of those little-known facts that everyone knows so well it has become a clich� is that with respect to physical ability there is no more demanding discipline than ballet. The corollary is that Rudolf Nureyev may be the best athlete alive.
With that out of the way, we may now proceed to the most difficult forms of athletic endeavor, as ranked by Dr. Paul Hunsicker of the University of Michigan in the book Fitness, Health, and Work Capacity. He rated each sport in 10 different categories—strength, endurance, body type, flexibility, coordination, speed, agility, balance, intelligence and creativity—and gave points according to the importance of each category to a sport (e.g., three points to a sport in which strength is a high requirement, two points if it is moderately required, one if only mildly so and none if no strength is required at all). Of the 40 sporting pastimes rated, basketball comes off with highest marks (23), with wrestling, fencing and soccer close behind. Team sports such as football, rugby, rowing and lacrosse, high in the strength and endurance departments but low on creativity, intelligence and balance, occupy the middle ground, while the endurance sports—swimming, bicycling and distance running—show the way only to quieter pursuits like fishing, curling and archery. Lowest rated are bowling (5) and, of all things, hiking (6), which should give the walkers something to think about the next time out on one of those long, undemanding treks.
CALL OF THE WILD