- TOP PLAYERSOffensePABLO S. TORRE | August 20, 2012
- TAMPA BAY buccaneersENEMY lines WHAT A RIVAL COACH SAYSJune 28, 2012
- Faces in the CrowdJune 11, 2001
But one thing is not equal. The '80 Trials will take place in late June, when Eugene's average humidity ranges from 49% to 62% and Durham's from 57% to 88%. Humidity above 70% can be debilitating for runners, especially for those in distance events. Because the Olympics will be held in late July, when Moscow's average humidity ranges from 40% to 68%, a number of Olympic hopefuls, reasoning that conditions at the Trials should favor those with the best chances of performing well at the Games, are nervous about Durham's getting the nod.
SOMETHING TO CROW ABOUT
It may be time to utter a few words in praise of the oft-maligned crow. True, crows steal corn and wheat, which is why farmers are always putting scarecrows in their fields. But the accursed birds may partially make up for the damage by feasting on beetles, caterpillars, slugs and other pests.
As it is in the fields, so it is on the links. Several years ago there were reports out of India that crows, presumably mistaking the white objects for eggs. were stealing golf balls off the greens at the Chembur course in Bombay (SCORECARD, Jan. 5, 1970). Similar incidents have been reported from time to time since then, most recently that the crows have been swiping as many as 20 balls a day off the Ashburnham course at Pembrey, South Wales. Last week a crow swooped down, grabbed a ball in its beak and flew off to perch on a fence a short distance away. When the woman whose ball it was approached, the crow simply hopped a few feet further down the fence, seemingly laughing at her.
On the other hand, a golfer playing the 9th hole on the Manoir Richelieu course at Murray Bay, Quebec last summer came across a crow that was apparently trying to be helpful. John Basaraba hit his tee shot on the 165-yard par-3 hole six inches from the cup, at which point he and the others in his foursome were astonished to see a crow land on the green, pick up the ball and drop it into the hole. It didn't count as a hole-in-one because an "outside agency" was involved. But isn't it likely that the same thing has happened without anybody seeing it? It is a tantalizing thought. Somewhere, sometime, a crow may very well have made an eagle of a birdie.
At a banquet last week in Indianapolis, swimmer John Naber, the Sullivan Award winner as the best U.S. amateur athlete of 1977, opened an envelope and excitedly announced that swimmer Tracy Caulkins had won the 1978 Sullivan Award. No doubt Caulkins' victory also gladdened swimmers Tim Shaw (Sullivan winner 1975), Mark Spitz (1971) and John Kinsella (1970). If you detect a pattern here, you're right. Not only have swimmers won in five of the last nine years but the last 29 Sullivans also have been divided up among just three sports: aquatics (diving as well as swimming), track and field and basketball.
The Sullivan's scope has not always been so narrow. The award, presented by the AAU since 1930, went occasionally in earlier years to performers in golf (e.g., Bobby Jones), tennis ( Don Budge) and football ( Doc Blanchard). But the best in those sports no longer stand a fighting chance. The Sullivan procedure is for an AAU screening committee to select 10 finalists, with the winner then chosen by a mail ballot of up to 2,500 sports-writers, broadcasters and amateur athletic officials. However, in the years in which they might have merited consideration, none of the following have so much as made the final 10: Tony Dorsett. Earl Campbell, John McEnroe. Nancy Lopez and Tracy Austin.
Instead of acknowledging and explaining what has been an evident shift in criteria, the AAU stubbornly clings to the fiction that it is honoring the best amateur athlete in the U.S. In point of fact. it is honoring the best athlete in an ill-defined and limited group of certain largely (but not exclusively) Olympic sports. The 16-year-old Caulkins, the youngest Sullivan recipient ever, last year won five gold medals at the world swimming championships in West Berlin and currently holds or shares three world and 13 American records. She may very well have outpolled a field in which all amateur sports were represented. Unfortunately, we'll never know.