South Africa continues to stick in the throat of international sport. Last week we noted that Tanzania might not let Filbert Bayi run in the Olympic 1,500 if his archrival John Walker of New Zealand were entered—because black Africa is angry with New Zealand for refusing to break off athletic relationships with South Africa.
Now the problem is coming to a head in tennis. Earlier this year Mexico defaulted in Davis Cup competition rather than play South Africa. Some tennis authorities declared that Mexico's action put politics ahead of sport and was unjustified. The Committee of Management of the Davis Cup voted to recommend to the General Meeting of Davis Cup Nations in July that any country defaulting a match—as Mexico did—be suspended for one year. Mexico, on its part, says that at least 10 countries, including the Soviet Union, will join Mexico in withdrawing from Davis Cup play if South Africa is not banned outright. The U.S. says it will quit if South Africa is banned and, indeed, will quit if Mexico is not punished. Great Britain says the same thing, and there are reports that France will follow suit.
If the opposing sides remain intransigent and the issue comes to a showdown, no matter which side wins, the Davis Cup loses. Tennis loses. And sport loses.
Every year, pro football's No. 1 draft choice signs a contract befitting a man who, it is hoped, will turn a franchise around. That is, every No. 1 choice has signed except the first one—Jay Berwanger of the University of Chicago in 1936.
Berwanger, also the first Heisman Trophy winner, says, "I remember meeting George Halas of the Chicago Bears in a hotel lobby. He asked me what I wanted. I said $25,000 for two years and a no-cut contract. We shook hands, said good-by and that was it."
Now a manufacturers representative in Hinsdale, Ill., Berwanger was a serious young man, and pro football at that time had little glitter and no solid future. "And I was interested in my future," he says, "because I was going to spend the rest of my life there."
All right, let's set the scene for you. Here we are in the quarterfinals of the Louisiana State high school baseball tournament in Baton Rouge—Jesuit High of New Orleans vs. South Terrebone High. Bottom of the first, Kenneth Retif of Jesuit up, bases loaded, two outs, two strikes on the batter. Pitcher throws. Strike three! But the pitch gets away from the catcher and everybody starts running. The catcher scrambles after the ball, retrieves it, races back to the plate in an attempt to get the man coming in from third, fails, spins and throws to first base. The ball sails beyond the first baseman's glove, rolls all the way to the right-field fence and, before it is recovered and thrown in, everybody scores. Four runs. Give Retif a grand-slam strikeout.