But Seoul is four years away, Los Angeles barely seven weeks, and in the wake of the Soviet-led walkout, some Olympic officials have spoken urgently about a perceived need to "save" the '84 Games. Walther Tr�ger of West Germany, the IOC's new sports director, said defiantly, "The Games don't have to be saved. They are not kaput." Tr�ger's bravado wasn't entirely unjustified. While the boycott will certainly damage the quality of competition in L.A., there will still be sufficient quantity. In the belief that the absence of Soviet-bloc competitors will improve the chances of their own athletes reaching the finals, many national Olympic committees have decided to increase the size of the teams they're sending to the Games. For example, instead of 50 athletes, as planned, India will be sending 75, its biggest Olympic team ever. West Germany will also field its biggest team ever—more than 400 strong. Even with the boycott, Los Angeles organizers are expecting, all told, 141 nations and 7,800 athletes to participate in the Summer Games. Both figures would be records.
While visiting the Baltimore Oriole clubhouse, Chris Dempsey, 6, whose dad Rick is the team's catcher, had a little chat with Hall of Famer Brooks Robinson, now the club's TV commentator. In parting, Robinson told Chris, "Tell your mother that Brooks said hello."
To which the lad replied, "Who, Brooks Shield?"
IN YOUR LAUREL WREATH
During a recent full-court pickup basketball game at Hilton Head Island, S.C., a fellow named Charles called an opponent for traveling and, in the manner of the international game, immediately took the ball out-of-bounds and hurled it down-court to a teammate for an easy layup. The opposing players howled in protest. Sure our guy traveled, they said, but we had no opportunity to get back and play defense. What of the "check" before the inbounds pass, a long-standing part of school-yard hoops etiquette?
Charles was unmoved. "Hey, man," he said. "Olympic year, Olympic rules."
STAYING PUT, MOVING ON
It isn't often that somebody spurns a job that promises to quadruple his salary, but that's what Boston College football coach Jack Bicknell has done. Bicknell, who makes around $70,000 a year at BC, was approached two weeks ago about interviewing for the newly vacant head-coaching job at Miami, a position that, counting income from TV and radio shows and endorsements, paid its former occupant, Howard Schnellenberger, more than $300,000 a year. But Bicknell, though sorely tempted by the prospect of more loot at Miami, decided it was too late in the year to switch schools. "It wouldn't be fair to our kids and staff," he said. "It's June. We've already been through spring practice. To bail out now would be impossible."
Bicknell's decision was in marked contrast to that of Schnellenberger, who quit Miami even though the Hurricanes had also completed spring practice—and even though he had three years to go on his contract. A month earlier Schnellenberger had dismissed as "hogwash" a report that he'd signed to coach in the USFL and had led high school recruits to believe he'd be back at the helm of the national champion Hurricanes. The news of his departure came as a bombshell to players who'd signed with Miami, some of whom say they would have gone elsewhere if they'd known Schnellenberger wasn't going to be around. But under NCAA rules, college-bound athletes technically commit themselves to schools, not coaches, so Hurricane signees like Earnie Parish, a star defensive lineman from Miami's Southridge High, are plain out of luck. Parish described himself as "betrayed and upset" by Schnellenberger's departure.