SI Vault
Edited by Robert W. Creamer
November 22, 1976
POLITICAL GOLF BALL Jimmy Carter's sporting interests are coming in for attention. His well publicized participation in softball games during the campaign served as something of a counterbalance to Gerald Ford's equally well publicized career as a center on the University of Michigan football team. Now that Carter is taking over the Oval Office, an aide was asked about the President-elect's other sporting interests, specifically golf, which both Ford and Richard Nixon are so fond of playing. "Golf?" the aide said, as though Carter had been charged with creeping Republicanism. "No, Jimmy never took much to golf. He plays tennis a bit, loves fishing and is crazy about auto racing. But golf? Forget it."
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November 22, 1976


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In football, the idea of changing to the metric system is usually laughed at ("Hey, first down and 9.1 meters to go, right?"). Yet, as Dr. Andrew Hulsebosch of the Eastern Analysis Institute points out, switching football from yards to meters would be easy to do. Hulsebosch has devised 90-Meter Football, played on a field 90 meters long by 50 meters wide with nine-meter end zones. Those are nice easy numbers to remember and they translate well. Such a field would be almost precisely the size of the present field: 1� yards shorter between the goal lines, less than a yard wider on each side, the end zones a scant 5� inches shorter than they are now.

But what about "First down and 10 yards to go"? Simple. Stripe the field every five meters instead of every five yards. First and 10 would be first and 10 meters (11 yards) to go. The only radical change Hulsebosch recommends has to do with the yard markers—sorry, meter markers—on the sidelines. He'd have them carry double sets of numbers, one batch in red, the other in white. The red numbers would measure the distance in meters one team has to go from its own goal line to a touchdown, while those in white would measure the same distance in reverse for the other team. Thus, the meter marker at one goal line would have a red 0 and a white 90, and as you move upheld the markers would read 5/85, 10/80, 15/75, 20/70, 25/65, 30/60 and so on. Midfield would be 45/45, and the other goal line would be 90/0. Not only would this spotlight the new metric values, it would emphasize the distance of a long kick or run ("Simpson breaks loose! He's to the 65! The 75! The 85! And it's a touchdown!").

A realist, Hulsebosch knows there is little chance of persuading the NFL or major colleges to try the idea, at least not yet. But he believes a few small colleges, especially those in an academically oriented league like the Midwest Conference (Carleton, Lawrence, Chicago, et al.), might repaint a field and experiment with 90-Meter Football. Try it for a year, he says. You'll like it.


Kapaa High won the interscholastic football championship of the Hawaiian island of Kauai this year.


It was Kapaa's first championship in the 31 years the league has been in existence.


There are only three high schools in the league.


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