The foul weather that prevailed during the World Series diminished the quality of play and alternately soaked and froze the fans. Some critics accordingly suggested it was time to turn back the clock and shorten the season, but in an era of expansion and playoffs that is unlikely to happen. Others proposed holding future World Series in neutral, warm-weather locations Super Bowl-style, but that would take the event away from hometown fans. One sensible option remains. Despite the TV networks' understandable preference for beaming the Series in prime time, all games should be scheduled for daylight hours, as was the practice until 1971. If last week's first three games had been played in the afternoon instead of at night, we might have witnessed baseball, not weatherball.
BACK TO BEN
A four-week walkout by 1,000 New York City high school coaches ended last week when Mayor Edward Koch found a way to meet their demands for more money. The coaches, whose work stoppage had halted practice and competition in soccer, fencing, cross-country and volleyball, among other sports (football coaches were not on strike), wanted restoration of 25% pay cuts they had voluntarily accepted to ease the Big Apple's financial crisis in 1975. Four years later, the city still doesn't have the money, and Koch broke the impasse by promising to raise the $386,000 needed for restoring the cuts through private, tax-deductible donations.
The benefactors so far lined up for the Board of Education Emergency Athletic Fund include real-estate moguls, foreign diplomats, the New York Cosmos and Reggie Jackson, all of whom agree that sports are a valuable part of high school education. Although it is certainly good to have the coaches back on the job, the recasting of high school athletics as a charity recalls the days of Benjamin Franklin, who organized philanthropic projects in Philadelphia to finance police and fire departments and to pave and light city streets. None of these services were yet provided by government, and Franklin was trying to shame municipalities into taking them over, which they eventually did. Seen in this historical light, it is difficult to view the resolution of New York City's coaching dispute as progress.
Big Bay De Noc High School in Michigan's northern peninsula was beaten 56-0 in football Saturday by Rapid River, its 24th straight loss. Worse, it was the 15th consecutive shutout suffered by the Black Bears, who were outscored in those games by a total of 830 points. A couple of weeks ago, Tailback Ron Collins broke into the clear for a 60-yard gain but was tackled at the 10-yard line of rival De Tour, and Big Bay De Noc couldn't get into the end zone. It lost 51-0.
The beleaguered gridders at Big Bay De Noc might find comfort in hearing about Healy ( Kans.) High, which lost to Dorrance the other night 107-0 and had five of six punts blocked in the process, the one exception being a third-down punt that Coach Larry Ayers ordered "just to see if we could get one away." As for Ayers, he might find comfort in hearing about Coach Emelio Tesei, who played a tape of a General Patton speech before sending his Live Oak (La.) High team onto the field recently against unbeaten St. Helena. Fired up by the recording, three Live Oak players charged through a glass door and suffered cuts. Live Oak then lost 36-14.
While some people only complain about the energy shortage, a growing number of others are doing something about it—commuting to work by bicycle. In Washington, as many as 70,000 now ride bikes to their jobs each day, and 25,000 regularly do so in Denver. An estimated 13,000 New Yorkers commute by bicycle, including a number of businessmen in three-piece suits. One of these, Gordon J. Phillips, who pedals 60 blocks to his midtown Manhattan office, says, "Bicycling to work is my elixir for the day. When it rains and I have to take the subway, I feel cheated."
As they increase in number, bicycle commuters have succeeded in winning such amenities as bike lanes on city streets, off-street bicycle paths and strategically placed racks for parking. In Los Angeles, where the bicycle is seen increasingly as an alternative to the exhaust-spewing, fuel-consuming automobile, Mayor Tom Bradley has encouraged the cycling movement by proclaiming a "Bike to Work Week," and rush-hour motorists inching along the Santa Monica Freeway are enticed by signs reading MILE FOR MILE, BIKERS PAY LESS and PEDAL POWER—BIKE TO WORK. A six-mile stretch of busy Venice Boulevard is getting a bicycle lane, and directional signs for cyclists are also planned. An innovation that may be copied elsewhere in Southern California is the installation of bicycle storage lockers at a bus station in El Monte so that commuters can make part of the trip to work by bus and pedal the rest of the way.