NO ROOM FOR A PARADE
Leominster, Mass., a city of 34,000 about 35 miles west of Boston, is suddenly a hotbed of baseball talent. Four of its youth teams—from Little League, Lassie League for girls, 13-year-old and 14-and-15-year-old Babe Ruth leagues—were Massachusetts state champions this year, and all but the Little League team went on to win northeast regional competition and advance to World Series play. None of the Leominster teams won the whole ball of wax, but the 14-and-15 Babe Ruthers went all the way to the national finals before losing to Tallahassee, Fla.
Leominster, previously known mostly for the odd way its name is pronounced (Lemminster is approximately how the home folks say it), is proud of its young heroes and heroines, but no special celebration is being planned. Benjamin Ruggles, director of the recreation department, says that ordinarily the city would lay on at least a police escort, but a police department spokesman says even that modest attention is unlikely. "Right now our downtown is completely destroyed," he explains. "They're doing urban-renewal work. There isn't a street that's passable."
Golfers at the Eagle Bluff club in Hurley, Wis. were mystified by the repeated disappearance of balls hit along the fairways. Then club manager Gary Pelkola discovered that foxes living in the rough near the 1st and 13th holes were swiping the balls and carrying them off into the tall grass, particularly yellow balls, which for some reason were their favorites. Complicating matters is the fact that a fox will sometimes pick up a ball, carry it along the fairway and then drop it again before scampering off to cover. One golfer had his lie splendidly improved by a fox that moved his ball 30 yards closer to the hole. "We're still, trying to figure out what the ruling is," says Pelkola.
THE SWING AIN'T THE THING
Despite a chronically aching back, Lee Trevino won the PGA Championship mostly by taking it easy between tournaments and not practicing very much, but Fuzzy Zoeller, the 1984 U.S. Open champion, was so disabled by his painful back that he had to withdraw from the PGA and check into a hospital with back spasms after practice rounds. Does the golf swing, with its extreme and sometimes violent twisting of the torso, cause back problems, as many assume?
Dr. Edward Zenni, a Cincinnati orthopedic specialist and himself an ardent golfer, says it doesn't: "I don't think golf causes any more back injuries than other sports do, such as football, soccer, basketball. In fact, other sports probably cause more back injuries than golf does. If you have a chronic back problem, you can't play football, soccer or basketball, but you can go out and play golf. Then, when the back acts up, the golf swing is blamed."
Zenni points out that Zoeller's back problems are a consequence of an old basketball injury and that Trevino was struck by lightning during the Western Open near Chicago nine years ago, after which he had two back operations. "In the normal populace," Zenni says, "five percent to eight percent have back problems. I don't think the percentage is any higher in the golfing community."
Just don't bend over too fast when you pick the ball out of the cup.