The success of U.S. and Cuban boxers in the Montreal Olympics has led to an unusually candid—and uncommonly self-critical—appraisal of the new order of dominance in amateur boxing by none other than a former Russian boxing champion, Gleb Tolstikov.
Writing for the official news agency Tass, Tolstikov said bluntly, "The sportsmen of the U.S.S.R., the German Democratic Republic and Poland are living through a certain crisis. Whereas the Europeans conducted their bouts in a calm manner, relying on their superiority in technique, the American and Cuban sportsmen demonstrated a very fast style without detriment to their technical skills.
"They would suddenly go into their highest gear and deliver a large number of accurate and hard blows. It can be said that today the boxing world is led by the schools of Cuba and the United States."
If such candor catches on in official Soviet circles, Tass may soon stun the world by announcing that the Russians did not really invent the telephone, telegraph, radio, roller skates, penicillin, etc., etc., after all.
DOWN AND OUT IN CORPUS CHRISTI
The Seguin ( Texas) Toros play in the Class A Gulf States League, and like many minor league teams they are suffering from a grave case of the financial shorts. Not long ago the Seguin management ruled that in order to save food and lodging expenses the team would have to return home after each game of a three-game series in Corpus Christi. The first night the Toros played, lost, boarded a bus and rode the 165 miles home. The next day they made the 165-mile return trip to Corpus Christi, played another night game, lost again.
The bus arrived for the run home to Seguin. Now the players muttered, growled and finally threatened mutiny if they had to make the trip again. They told the club owner they would rather sleep on the beach in Corpus Christi than suffer through the bus ride again. He agreed to let them. The next night the exhausted beachcombers played once more—and lost once more, their 13th consecutive defeat.
HOME SWEET HOME
A couple of weeks ago Minnesota Twins Manager Gene Mauch was asked what value he placed on hometown rooters, and he scoffed, "It's almost an indictment of a team to say that outside stimulation like a cheering crowd has an effect on a club's performance. I've never put any great emphasis on that as a factor in athletic performance." Now Mauch is as intelligent and resourceful as most anyone in major league sports. But here, it would seem, he is probably dead wrong.
In an article to be published in Social Forces, a journal of sociology, two professors beg to differ with the likes of Mauch, and they have assembled a dazzling array of statistics, tables, theories and $4 phraseology to prove they are right. Barry Schwartz of the University of Chicago and Stephen F. Barsky of Temple begin their treatise by quoting from the preeminent sociologist �mile Durkheim, who wrote, "In the midst of an assembly animated by a common passion, we become susceptible of acts and sentiments of which we are incapable when reduced to our own forces." In defining the scope of their own survey, Schwartz-Barsky write, "At specific issue, then, is not the mere presence but the magnitude and comparative importance of the effects which are so well celebrated in Durkheimian theory, namely, the invigorating influence of supportive social congregation." In other words, do teams win more often at home, and why?