The Olympic fuss and bother in Montreal, particularly the prospect of temporary restroom facilities for the competitors, has led Canadian newspapers to publish the following ditty, to be sung to the tune of A Bicycle Built for Two: "Athletes, athletes, give us your answer, do/We've gone bankrupt, building a site for you/It won't be a stylish summer/We can't afford a plumber/But you'll look sweet upon the seat/Of a portable built for two."
However makeshift, the Olympics will take place in Montreal this summer and, barring disaster, will occur as scheduled in Moscow in 1980. But after that? Quebec Finance Minister Raymond Garneau says the deficit for the Montreal Games could reach $900 million, a figure that may be better understood if one recalls that the extravagant Louisiana Superdome cost less than one-fifth of that amount.
Don Canham, the always outspoken and frequently controversial athletic director of the University of Michigan, declares, "If changes aren't made, the Games will collapse under their own weight. When Russia puts them on, it may be the last time for the Olympics as we've known them. Who else can afford them?"
Canham insists the only hope for survival is for the International Olympic Committee to accept the radical suggestion that the Games be split up—the various competitions held in different sites—with every effort made to put a sport in a place where it is locally popular and where facilities for it already exist. For instance, if the 1984 Olympics were given to the U.S., Canham would have no hesitation in assigning track and field to Los Angeles, basketball to New York, swimming to Florida, gymnastics to Penn State, sailing to Newport, R.I., rowing to the Detroit River, boxing to Chicago, and so on.
Critics say this fragmentation would destroy the special quality of the Olympics, would do away with such spectacles as the opening and closing ceremonies. Canham claims that similar, smaller ceremonies at the various sites could still have great impact. To those who say that press and television coverage of the Games would suffer if the events were spread around, Canham argues, "But that's exactly what happens now, with everything in one city. Too much is going on at the same time. You can't see everything. The press can't cover all the events. Television has to jump around. If the Games were held in different sites, they could be far more effective."
WORDS TO PLAY BY
All sports fans are well aware of the penchant among headline writers and sports broadcasters for avoiding, as though obscene, good solid verbs like "beat" and "defeat" and substituting instead a variety of synonyms. You know the ones: nip, top, trim, trounce, down, edge, whip, whomp, clobber, crush...the list is endless. NBC sportscaster Nat Ash, a notable practitioner of the art, can go through 20 or 30 scores in a broadcast without repeating a verb. He has fun with some—the Phoenix Suns "tanned" an opponent recently—and several weeks ago reached new heights when he had the Houston Aeros "sacking and pillaging" the New England Whalers 5-2. Of course, when you sack and pillage somebody, you really ought to win by more than 5-2. Somebody must have been underplundering.
DAWN OF HISTORY
During baseball's continuing hassle between players and owners, the latter gave the impression that the reserve clause had been an integral, immutable part of professional baseball since the dawn of man. But now A. G. Spalding, the sporting goods company, which is celebrating its 100th birthday this year, has reissued a copy of the rules of baseball for 1876, the year major league baseball began. There, under Article XI, Section 1, is a passage that says, "No club shall be prevented from contracting with a player for the reason that he is already under contract with another club: Provided, The service to be rendered under the second contract is not to begin until the expiration of the first contract."
There is another passage of interest in Article VIII, Section 4, which deals with the arbitration of disputes: "A majority of the arbitrators shall determine the cause," it says, "and from their finding there shall be no appeal."