SI Vault
Edited by Steve Wulf
January 07, 1985
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January 07, 1985


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Notre Dame and Duke are the only winners in the four years of the award. They may not play pigskin with the best these days, but the Irish and Devils certainly know how to lug that sheepskin.


Prince Charles, watch out. Polo has a new, rather imposing convert, namely Wilt Chamberlain. Having stuffed basketball and spiked volleyball, the 48-year-old Stilt has taken up the plaything of the rich and famous. Many an afternoon Chamberlain can be seen astride his aptly named pony, Hollywood, at the polo grounds in Los Angeles's Griffith Park.

"I am a neophyte in the truest sense of the word," says Chamberlain. "But I love polo. I've always had a penchant for horses—they are great athletes and I like working with other great athletes. I also like to keep the competitive thing going." The head pro at the Los Angeles Equestrian Center, Dan Healy, has found Chamberlain to be an excellent pupil. "Even though he's had very little riding experience," says Healy, "he shows a lot of promise. He's well coordinated and pretty dedicated. Obviously, he has great reach." Because of his 7'1" frame, Chamberlain does need a larger horse, and at 16 hands, Hollywood looks down on most colleagues.

Chamberlain, who should be familiar with such polo terms as "dribbling" and "forward," feels at home with other aspects of the game. "Coming upheld is like coming upcourt," he says. "The offense gets a certain right of way over the defense. No such thing as a slam-dunk, though. It's a whole different sociological arena, too. Here we get a lot of movie people who love polo because they can get on a horse, put on a helmet and become a whole new person. Polo is a nice way to lose your identity."

Maybe if you're a movie star, but not if you're The Stilt.


The writing is on the ivy-covered wall. The Chicago Cubs, responding to a directive from the office of commissioner Peter Ueberroth, filed a lawsuit just before Christmas asking the state Circuit Court to block enforcement of city and state laws designed to prevent night games at 70-year-old Wrigley Field. The Cubs' argument is that the prevention of night baseball will deprive the club of a home-field advantage if it makes the playoffs or World Series. Baseball, of course, is really concerned with the loss of millions of dollars of TV revenue if the Cubs qualify for postseason play.

So the Cubs want lights now. Even the people of Chicago seem to be coming around to the idea of night ball in Wrigley—a recent poll revealed that only a slight majority preferred day ball. It all seems so inevitable. If the Cubs give in on lights, they'll soon be giving up on Wrigley Field altogether. Not enough seats to pay those salaries. Not enough parking. Not enough luxury boxes.

The arguments for preserving the integrity of Wrigley Field seem old and fatigued, worn down by the calls for progress, which is often just a euphemism for greed. The neighborhood around the park has shouted itself hoarse, and before long that voice will give out.

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