SI Vault
Edited by Robert W. Creamer
October 06, 1975
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October 06, 1975


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Albany International, which made enough felt last year to cover 100 million tennis balls, kept looking for some way to make tennis zingier—this was before brightly colored shirts and shorts were permitted on court—and about nine years ago came up with a new imported dyestuff that did the job. Now yellow tennis balls are all over the place, and a new orange ball is becoming popular, too. In time, Wall says, sales of the traditional white ball will diminish to only about 10% of the total market.

Albany has also experimented with blue and green, and a few years back produced a batch of fuchsia balls. "They sold for about two years," Wall says, "and that was that. The colors were not fluorescent enough. The ball didn't shine well."

Some players imbued with patriotic fervor have asked if a red-white-and-blue ball could be produced to mark the Bicentennial. "We made a red-and-blue ball with white seams some time ago," Wall says. "Demand wasn't much, but if the Bicentennial arouses interest in it we could easily turn it out again."

Think of the possibilities. In Davis Cup play, for instance, the U.S. could use the red-white-and-blue ball when it served, the Russians a solid red one, the Irish (do the Irish play tennis?) a bright green.


All right, put down the steak, forget the hamburger, knock off the veal. A vigorous action group called Un-Meat Sports of Akron has taken the bull by the horns and gone to the meat of the problem. Flesh and fowl are not the stuff athletes are made of, says Un-Meat; vegetables are. Meat-eating athletes have an average pulse rate of about 72, Un-Meat claims, vegetarians only 58. Tests at Loma Linda University in California reportedly showed that vegetarians had much greater endurance than meat eaters in running, lifting weights and so on. Vegetarians at Yale did three times as many deep knee bends as meat-eating Yale football players ( Yale football players eat meat?). Un-Meat says vegetarian athletes include swimmers Johnny Weissmuller and Murray Rose, basketball players Bill Walton and Connie Hawkins, pro football Linebacker Ray May, major league Pitcher Bill Lee.

Look at the ox, says Un-Meat. Look at the elephant, the workhorse. All vegetarians and all strong as a, well, lion. Look at the great apes, eating fruit and berries and avoiding "dead flesh," as the vegetarians call it. And then look at meat eaters like lions and tigers. What they do most of the time is lie around in the sun digesting their meals.

Uh, hold it, Un-Meat. Maybe you'd better scratch that last argument. Not that we have anything against munching oats or picking berries, but lying around in the sun after a good meal doesn't sound all that bad.

Over the past 50 years, from 1925 through 1974, what college team has the best regular-season won-and-lost record? Notre Dame? Ohio State? Alabama? USC? Oklahoma? Close, all of them, but the best—believe it or not—is Tennessee. An NCAA report says the Vols (359 wins, 103 losses, 26 ties, a .762 win percentage) are just ahead of Alabama (358-105-23, .760) with Notre Dame (355-108-21, .755), Ohio State (308-110-22, .725), Oklahoma (333-125-27, .714) and USC (341-133-32, .706) trailing after.


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