Before playing Bjorn Borg in the finals of the Grand Slam at Boca Raton, Fla. on Jan. 23, Connors was asked where he had been in the days before the tournament. "At home," Jimmy said. "I went home to Belleville to see my folks." Connors lost to Borg, but he never mentioned that the reason he had gone home was to see his father, who was desperately ill.
A week later in Philadelphia in the finals of the U.S. Pro Indoor championship, Connors was upset by Dick Stockton. He made no excuse that day either, but after the match he immediately flew to Belleville, Ill. again, arriving at eight in the evening. Two hours later his father died, a victim of the cancer that had hospitalized him for the previous six weeks. He was 53.
Jimmy Connors often has been criticized for opening his mouth too much. But he did not talk of his dying father, did not seek sympathy, did not use his father's illness as an excuse for his defeats. In a sport where fortitude and class are sometimes sadly lacking, Connors has displayed an admirable quantity of both.
After Basketball Coach Earl Voss of West Chester (Pa.) State College racked up the 99th victory of his career, the college athletic office ordered a case of champagne in anticipation of the victory celebration following No. 100.
However, along with his 99 victories Coach Voss also had 96 career losses, and after the next game he had 97. Then 98. Then 99.
In West Chester's next game, against Delaware, it buckled down and, with eight minutes to play, held an eight-point lead. The Golden Rams decided to sit on that lead and went into a four-corner stall. But the stall kept backfiring, and the lead diminished to one point. With six seconds to go, a Delaware player tipped in a missed shot and Voss had his No. 100—the wrong one.
And it kept going: 101, 102, 103. No matter how bubbly the champagne is, when Voss finally gets to drink it, it's bound to taste flat.
Sporting crime, or crime with a sporting accent, has been occupying the attention of Massachusetts law officers. Two South Boston men were arraigned earlier this month on charges of armed robbery—they were accused of holding up a parking lot. This is not particularly sensational news, but what was novel about the crime was the weapon used. It wasn't a .38, or a Saturday Night Special, or a sawed-off shotgun or anything like that. The men, sporting types apparently, held up the parking-lot attendant with a spear gun. We assume the detective who cracked the case rubbed his chin at some point and muttered, "Hmmm, something fishy here."