SI Vault
Edited by Walter Bingham
May 29, 1978
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May 29, 1978


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The first North American Invitational Scrabble Players Tournament was held last weekend at New York's Summit Hotel, with 64 contestants from the U.S. and Canada playing 18 games apiece over three days for a $1,500 first prize. Scrabble lovers would like to see the game elevated to the status of chess and bridge, but for those who think there are too many sports already, Scrabble could be the haulm that broke the oont's dorsum.


Blue, an albino Norway rat, has hung up his spikes. Blue burst upon the sporting world last year when students in a class on the principles of conditioning and learning at Georgia Southern College in Statesboro taught the rat to put a marble into a miniature hoop. Not only that, Blue learned how to dunk it.

This year, students taught him to bowl, using the marble, miniature pins and a two-foot lane. His average score was 40, with a top of 60. But now, at the age of two, Blue has been taken to Savannah by one of the students.

"Blue still plays for pleasure, but not on a regular basis," says Claud Felton. Georgia Southern's sports information director. "But we've left the door open for him. He could come out of retirement for exhibitions."


Mike Tully of UCLA had his ups and downs last Friday at the Pacific Eight track and field championships, which were held at Oregon State. Tully won the pole vault and went on to clear 18'8�", one-half inch higher than Dave Roberts, two-year-old world record. And yet because the officials were negligent, approval of the mark is doubtful.

Let Tully, who holds the indoor world record of 18'5�", recount his utterly frustrating day. "I went clean, making 17 feet, 17'8�" and 18'1" without a miss," he says. "The next height was the record. They measured it at 18'8�"." This Tully barely cleared on his first try; then he went screaming around the infield as if he had landed on a hot stove.

"But the NCAA rules say you have to measure again after a record," he says. "For that they had to move the standards so that the bar was directly over the box, and when they did, the bar fell off. They say the wind blew it off. I think they were just clumsy. They put the bar back again, but they hadn't marked which side was to be up, so they couldn't be sure they had put it up exactly the way it was before. There can be a fluctuation of as much as an inch, you know."

The remeasurement was 18'8"—no record. "Then there was confusion," says Tully. The discussion went on for some 30 minutes, while Tully fretted and stiffened. "They finally said it couldn't count, I'd have to do it over again."

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