During the contract bickering between National Football League owners and the Players Association, league officials got into a little heavy psychology with their employees. When the Players Association first began acting like an honest-to-God labor union a few years ago, the owners reacted with indignation and resentment, as though there were something indecent about pro athletes talking of negotiations and strikes. This year, however, the owners switched to an almost sardonic insistence that the Players Association function as a union all the way. They even suggested rigid pay scales for various job categories (center, for example, or running back).
The pay-scale idea has not been formally submitted and has not even been made public, but here is how it's supposed to go. Rookies would be paid as follows: quarterbacks, $25,000; receivers, defensive linemen and middle linebackers, $20,000; centers and running backs, $19,000; guards, tackles and outside linebackers, $18,000; defensive backs, $16,000. Raises would depend on seniority, not individual skill. Thus, after four years all running backs would get $26,000, all defensive backs $22,000. Maximum salaries would be $125,000 for quarterbacks, $50,000 for running backs, $40,000 for defensive backs.
The ramifications are fascinating to contemplate. Imagine trying to persuade a college quarterback ( Jack Mildren, say) to switch to defensive back (which Mildren was until he quit the pros this year). The disparity in salaries might lead to a wildcat strike by cornerbacks and safeties, who could set up a row of pickets along the 30-yard line with signs saying UNFAIR. Then the question would be, will wide receivers coming downfield honor the picket line?
When bird watchers in Arizona and New Mexico listen to the call of the southwestern bird known as the Inca Dove, most agree that its mournful two-note coo sounds like, "No hope, no hope, no hope...." At least, that's the way Roger Tory Peterson and all the local bird books describe it.
In neighboring Texas, however, the call is described differently, perhaps because the Lone Star State is filled with sports nuts. According to the recently published The Bird Life of Texas, what the Inca Dove is really saying is, "Ball two, ball two, ball two...."
HAR-TRU IT IS
Beyond everything else, what tennis fans talked most about at Forest Hills during the first days of the U.S. Open was the new surface. Gone were the traditional grass courts and in their place a gray-green, claylike material called Har-Tru. Sentimentalists mourned the passing of the green, and players whose serve-and-volley style works better on grass cursed a bit. Nonetheless, Har-Tru seemed here to stay.
It looks like clay but is not. Basically, it is crushed greenstone from the Catoctin Mountains of Maryland, where it was originally quarried for use on asphalt shingles. As the greenstone was ground down to size, two piles of waste—one of rock dust, the other of granules too small for shingles—arose. Eventually, the waste was pressed into use for tennis courts and worked out just fine. The Har-Tru surface dries out more quickly than clay, and in fact requires frequent watering to keep it from turning into a minor dust bowl. Moreover, the bounce is true—which explains the "Tru" in the name; the "Har" is for H. A. Robinson, who helped develop it. The only thing wrong with it, really, is that it isn't as pretty as grass.