THE BOYS OF WINTER
If all National Hockey League playoff series under the new, extended format go the limit, the final championship game will be played on May 29, possibly in Atlanta.
SCHOOL AND SPORT
It has become something of a tradition for school boards faced with tough budgetary decisions to single out athletics for the supreme sacrifice. The threat to do away with extracurricular sports unless the taxpayers support a balanced educational program and such other enriching activities as band and theater generally brings them around to the board's point of view.
Eventually, this probably will be the outcome in San Francisco, where the board recently voted 6-1 to remove $200,000 from the budget and cancel spring varsity competition for senior and junior high schools in basketball, swimming, fencing, golf, and track and field. As is true in most such cases, the issues are not clearcut. Most of the $200,000 was ticketed as overtime pay for coaches, who were accused by former board chairman Dr. Eugene Hopp of performing their duties only for the money. That, of course, is part nonsense, but it is true that the coaches' association, described as a powerful lobby by Dr. Hopp, did refuse to go along with a revamping of the school day that would either cut back on the coaches' teaching hours to avoid overtime pay for after-school work, or combine some phys ed classes with varsity practice.
But California schools without sports? That is like Oxford without a library. People in the city responded magnanimously, pledging enough money to retain a full sports program until the fall. Unfortunately, generous as the outpouring has been, it did not restore funds for the library, the music department, etc. that had already been eliminated, or even guarantee sports in the next school year. A better solution must be found.
Whatever it is, it probably will—and should—entail compromise and belt tightening by athletic departments on a par with those undertaken by other specialized staffs. And the board should—and based on past experience in other cities, will—come up with permanent financing. Sport is a vital part of the educational process and cannot be left to voluntary contributors whose enthusiasm is bound to wane under the stress of successive fund drives.
DIAL I FOR IMAGE
The North American Soccer League's Tampa Rowdies, the team that gave us the memorable slogan, "Soccer is a kick in the grass," has struck again. Its new telephone number is 961-KICK. Oh, if the Rowdies can only play.
PEARL OF A PROJECT
Algae to oyster to seaweed is the triple play of the moment at the Environmental Systems Lab, part of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. Sewage from which inorganic matter (metals, etc.) has been removed is mixed with equal parts seawater in six 35,000-gallon tanks, where the temperature is controlled. In the resultant rich environment single-celled plants (algae) grow and reproduce madly, cleaning out troublesome wastes like nitrates, phosphates and ammonia even as they prosper. The algae are then fed to hungry oysters awaiting their dinner in long "animal raceways," a few steps away from the algae ponds. In addition to dining sumptuously on the algae, the oysters further filter the sea-water mix, which then travels to other raceways housing marketable seaweeds such as hypnea and Irish moss. The seaweeds in turn filter out the oysters' wastes, and the water by then is squeaky clean.
The brainchild of Marine Biologist John H. Rhyther, the ESL is a pilot plant for a system intended for residential areas where the sewage does not contain the heavy metals of industrial plants. Variations on the basic theme are being pursued constantly. One promising line of investigation involves heated waters discharged by energy plants. It is hoped that eventually they can be used to control the temperatures of the algae ponds and animal raceways, another step in the process of converting harmful waste products to use.