RUNNING UP A TEMPEST
As an aspiring actress in London, Angela Lai once appeared in a minor production of The Tempest. After quitting the theater to marry Peter Coe, she named her first two children Sebastian and Miranda after characters in that play. Though neither child took up acting, both were onstage last week. While 20-year-old Miranda Coe was dancing—covered, if you must know—in the chorus of the Lido de Paris show at the Stardust Hotel in Las Vegas, Sebastian Coe, 22, called "Seb" by his family, was setting a world record of 1:42.4 in the 800-meter run in Oslo.
Coe had the world's second-fastest clocking in the 800 last year, and then as now he labored under certain seeming dis�dvantages. For one, he is virtually the same size as his sister—5'9�" and 120 pounds. That's fine for a Vegas showgirl, which Miranda has been since arriving from England 18 months ago, but the rather scrawny Sebastian gets bounced around a lot on the track. Also, he has been trained only by his father, an engineer in a Sheffield silverworks, and has never received professional coaching. And in Oslo he was a bit short on conditioning, having just completed his final exams in economics at Loughborough University. All considered, Sebastian Coe's performance was "such stuff as dreams are made on" (The Tempest IV, i, 148). In smashing Alberto Juantorena's world record of 1:43.4 by a full second, he beat runner-up Evans White by 30 meters.
Under NCAA rules, coaches are limited to three recruiting visits to an athlete's home, and an athlete may visit no more than six campuses. Charley Pell, the University of Florida's new football coach, thinks those figures should be reversed. "You can't really make a judgment on a kid by meeting him three times," Pell says. "You try to select someone you believe will be a winner on the field and in the classroom. With three visits, a lot of guesswork is involved." As for the limit on athletes, he says, "Nobody really has six schools so close in his mind that he needs all those visits." Pell holds that the six allotted visits thus tend to be "all pleasure, no business."
Pell doesn't expect his suggestion to be heeded. "The problem is, the schools with all the power have influence on the rulemaking," he says. "They don't get hurt by the three-visit rule because a coach with a national reputation can come into a kid's home once and sign him. They don't get hurt by the six-visit rule because kids will always save a trip to their place. They figure, 'If we're not hurt, why change the system?' "
ROAD SWEET ROAD
Everybody knows that the home team in sports often enjoys a decided advantage. Dr. Steven I. Berkowitz, a Beverly Hills psychologist, has given thought to ways by which visiting teams can overcome it. Based on his work with patients who spend a lot of time on the road, including actors and traveling salesmen as well as athletes, he offers suggestions—some practical, others outrageous—to help teams fare better away from home.
Berkowitz says that visiting players can partly offset the home team's territorial advantage by staying in hotels close to the stadium. He explains, "The more foreign territory you see on the bus ride to the park, the more of a stranger you feel." He also suggests a visit to the stadium the night before a game, a walk on the field, a spell of sitting in the stands. Football players might also consider urinating on the goal line. "This declares it as your territory," Berkowitz says. "Dogs do it, wolves do it. It's your little secret: you know the area is yours." And he suggests that visitors "negate the hostility of fans" by mingling with them in the stands before games and buying them hot dogs. The thought of, say, a Tom Cousineau mingling with the fans at Ann Arbor makes us a little uneasy, but then, Berkowitz is the doctor.
One other piece of advice from Berkowitz is that the visiting player bring something familiar and intimate with him from home, like a blanket or a pillow. "I know it sounds silly for Mean Joe Greene to carry a pillow around, but it has his own smell," he says. Of course, Joe himself might prefer bringing along a stuffed animal—or maybe a stuffed psychologist.