SI Vault
Edited by Douglas S. Looney
January 30, 1978
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January 30, 1978


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An episode in Virginia Beach, Va., involving the manipulation of 10- to 12-year-old players in a Midget football league demonstrates once again that children's games are far too important to be entrusted to some adults.

Frederick Talbott, a staff writer for the Norfolk Ledger-Star, has brought to light proof that 11 of 26 members of one team—a team undefeated for two years—were too old (up to 15), too young or did not live in Virginia Beach. The evidence surfaced when Mrs. J. A. Cox refused to go along with a coach who asked her to alter her son's age on his application blank. "We received five anonymous phone calls threatening our lives," Mrs. Cox said. One mother of a player in the league delivered a bunch of toughs to beat up the Cox boy; he ran inside and police were called.

"This is amazing," says Nick Sessoms, a City Parks and Recreation official who took part in an investigation by the city, "when you consider that we are talking about a game for children." The impact on children both on and off the team has been enormous. They have been exposed to a code that says cheating is defensible, and that lies are suitable when something as all-important as winning and losing is involved. Fletcher Bryant, the man who started the league in 1962, is irate: "This is the first exposure most of these kids have to organized sports."

An awards banquet was held for the offending team, the Courthouse Knights, at which everyone was assured that the Knights were still champs. Head Coach Frank Brunell said he had no idea there were 11 ineligibles on his team. Nevertheless, he and three other coaches have been permanently suspended from coaching city recreation teams again in Virginia Beach.


In greyhound racing, the dogs chase a mechanical rabbit but never catch it. Almost never. At Hollywood Greyhound Track in Florida the other day, fans wagered $47,000 on the fifth race, but not many dollars on a 10-1 shot named Lucky Maury. Away tardily, Lucky Maury took two jumps down the track and saw that his chances of catching his buddies were slim, of getting to the rabbit nonexistent. So he made a U-turn, eluded a frantic patrol judge who tried to grab him, and proceeded to meet the bunny head-on at the clubhouse turn. He made Bunny's fur fly; when the other dogs caught up, they joined in the fun.

Nobody can remember such a scandalous flaunting of the rules by any greyhound. Infrequently a dog will fall, be dazed, and get up and run the wrong way, but he will just be trying to get back to the paddock. Lucky Maury, who is not quite two years old, was being devilish. All bets were refunded.

Last week Lucky Maury was put in a schooling race for a refresher course on dog-rabbit etiquette. But there were those who thought Lucky still had a certain gleam in his eye.

The California Interscholastic Federation (Southern Section) surveyed its 400 members and found the most popular team name was Eagles, used by 17 schools. Best name? The Argyll Academy Socks.

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