GAMES AND FUN
Studies of Little League baseball and football have been cropping up around the country, with interesting if generally inconclusive results. Although a third of the parents questioned in one survey said their sons were too excited to eat or sleep normally after a Little League baseball game, scientific measurement of sweating response—as a precise indicator of emotional stress—showed that the boys were no more stimulated by a formal Little League game than they were by softball games played in school during phys ed classes. But another test, in which portable devices taped to the youngsters' bodies recorded heart rates during a game, revealed that pulses became most rapid when the players were at bat; since the boys claimed they did not feel nervous when they were batting, the researchers suggested that the cheering of parents and other spectators, for or against the batter, had an influence on heart rate. This indication that the Little League environment causes emotional reaction counteracts the sweating-response findings and brings us back to square one.
Replies to questionnaires on Little League football, distributed to coaches, parents and players in Utah and New Mexico, reflected the special interests of those queried. The Little League coaches were nearly unanimous in describing themselves as fair and knowledgeable and in saying that the most valuable aspects of the program were learning the game, conditioning and teamwork. But high school coaches said their Little League counterparts were generally unqualified, if well-meaning, and failed to teach "good fundamentals." Parents said their own feelings and reactions had no effect on their sons and declared rather sanctimoniously that the principal benefits of the program were teamwork, knowledge of the game, sportsmanship, fitness, fun and discipline.
The kids themselves said their coaches knew football, were good teachers and worked hard, but 41% also complained that the coaches yelled too much and 36% added that they were poor losers or poor examples. When asked why they played, most of the boys answered, simply, "To have fun." Significantly, almost three-quarters of them said they would rather see action with a losing team than sit on the bench with a winner.
Carnegie-Mellon University of Pittsburgh is not one of the nation's basketball powers, and no wonder. Workmen laying a new floor in Carnegie-Mellon's basketball court sensed that something was wrong with the center circle. They took a few measurements and found they were right—the circle was four feet off center to one side of the court. When he was told about it, former Athletic Director Raymond Haynes said the sideslip must have occurred that time they put the new backboards in. And when was that? Well, 12 years ago.
And you wonder why your jump shot keeps going off to one side....
When Colorado Coach Bill Mallory elected to go for one point and a tie against Oklahoma a couple of weeks ago, instead of gambling for two and an upset victory, the kick failed, Colorado lost and Mallory locked the press out of the dressing room after the game.
When Michigan Coach Bo Schembechler was criticized after his heavily favored Wolverines were held to successive ties by Stanford and Baylor, Schembechler reacted by saying he didn't care what the fans thought.