It was basketball's answer to Affirmed vs. Alydar, two evenly matched Ohio high school teams battling down to the wire:
[This article contains a table. Please see hardcopy of magazine or PDF.]
Make that beyond the wire. After a three-minute overtime period, the teams were still tied, 53-all. Franklin finally won in the second overtime, 58-56.
BOWLING OVER THE OTHER 49 STATES
Only two schools have achieved victories in each of the six oldest surviving college-football bowls—the Rose, Sugar, Cotton, Orange, Gator and Sun. Brace yourselves, you Trojan, Buckeye, Fighting Irish, Longhorn, Crimson Tide and Sooner fans. Would you believe Georgia Tech and Georgia?
BANNING THE BANG
It might be called the Great Anti-Starter's Gun Crusade, and it all began on Dec. 14, the day of the silent vigil in memory of John Lennon, who had been slain by gunshot six days earlier. To symbolically protest the use of handguns, Fred Lebow, the 48-year-old president of the New York Road Runners Club, decided to forgo use of a starter's pistol at a 10-mile road race in Central Park and send the runners off instead by means of a digital clock. The 1,000 competitors watched as the clock ticked off 40 seconds—one for each year of Lennon's life—and then took off. Later, Lebow says, he was deluged with so many letters, phone calls and personal comments favorable to his anti-gun gesture that he decided to ban the use of starter's pistols at club events permanently.
"It was a force not to be resisted," says Lebow. "I've never in my life believed in any sort of gun. And it doesn't take any outstanding logic to figure out that handguns are for one purpose only—to kill people. We shouldn't be glamorizing them at our races. Our objective is to make a statement. Runners have been shot and killed, too, you know."
Lebow says he will urge other running clubs to enact similar bans, a prospect that can scarcely please manufacturers of starter's pistols. A spokesman for Massachusetts-based Harrington and Richardson, Inc., which makes starter's pistols plus a full line of firearms, somewhat lamely insists that because they fire blanks, such guns should more properly be referred to as "starting devices." More to the point, he notes that guns, which were used to start horse races in the earliest frontier days, have traditionally been used for starts at swimming and track meets because, as he puts it, they "provide a sharp, definitive, readily recognizable sound that has the added value of overcoming crowd noises." He adds that such pistols are also used in dramatic productions, to test the reactions of Seeing Eye dogs and, not least, to signal the end of football games.
One can only guess what effect, if any, Lebow's move might have. Contrary to what he implies, some runners have responded to his innovation with guffaws. While his digital-clock countoff worked well enough, subsequent experiments with other alternatives to pistols have been fiascoes. An attempt by his club at starting a five-mile run on Jan. 4 by popping a large balloon was a flop; the balloon didn't pop but merely deflated gradually, spoiling the start. Undaunted, Lebow says he intends to experiment with gongs, which have been used to start road races in England, as well as with air horns and exploding photo flashes. But he concedes that the club will continue to fire a cannon for the start of the New York Marathon, because of the need for a tremendous report that all 17,000 runners can hear. "A cannon isn't a concealed weapon," says Lebow. "Very few homes have one. Although if I felt that in some small way we could stop world wars, I would try banning cannons, too."
CITY OF THE NAKED THUMBS
At the end of each NFL season, the G.C. Murphy store in downtown Pittsburgh customarily holds a clearance sale on discontinued Steeler T shirts, beer mugs and other such paraphernalia. But the Steelers' surprising failure to make the playoffs for the first time in nine years has apparently had a depressing effect on this year's sale; the store manager, William Bader, reports that some of the Steeler-related merchandise is selling only one-third as well as last year. The marked-down items include a Steeler coin bank (reduced from $7 to $2.50), a tam (reduced from $5.95 to $3.95) and a mirror (reduced from $9.95 to $6.95). But the biggest bargain is a button bearing Mean Joe Greene's prediction that the Steelers would win their fifth Super Bowl ring this year. Originally priced at $1, buttons carrying the slogan "One for the Thumb in '81" are now going for two bits.