More recently, history's two greatest hurdlers have confined their potentially explosive rivalry to a confrontation on an episode of the ABC-TV show The Superstars taped in mid-December in Key Biscayne, Fla. and aired on Sunday. Nehemiah and Moses twice competed face-to-face. One meeting came in a heat of a rowing competition won by baseball's Bill Buckner with Nehemiah second and Moses third. The other came in a 300-foot obstacle-course race that involved scaling a 12-foot-high wall, scrambling through a tunnel, pushing a blocking dummy, high-stepping through auto tires, leaping over a water hazard and a high-jump bar and, yes, clearing two three-foot hurdles. Competing in separate heats, Moses and Nehemiah were clocked in 24.55 and 25.83, respectively. Nehemiah might have gone faster except that he tripped over a hurdle. In the finals he didn't trip and was timed in 24.16, but Moses won anyway, in 24.04. However, Nehemiah finished ahead of Moses when the results of all events were taken into account. Assuming they're allowed to pocket their winnings under track and field's increasingly liberal "amateur" rules, Nehemiah earned $7,400, Moses $4,700. Did it occur to Nehemiah and Moses during the Superstars taping that they might soon be moving their rivalry onto the track? Said Moses unhesitatingly, "We thought about it."
THE OTHER DEADEYE AT ACCURACY U.
In his article on Oregon State's basketball team (page 22), Curry Kirkpatrick dwells on the exploits of the Beavers' 6'10�" center, Steve Johnson, who had a 71.0 field-goal percentage last season, an NCAA Division I record, and is shooting a startling 76.2% this season. Well, it happens that the 6'5" senior center on the Oregon State women's team, Carol Menken, is shooting 72.2% from the field, which is tops in the country, too. Menken, who has averaged 28.6 points a game and has led her team to a 12-4 record, deems it no coincidence that the two Oregon State teams boast such accurate shooters. "Both teams do a lot of passing and try to get the ball inside for the high-percentage shot," she says.
Oddly, both Menken and Johnson shoot better from the field than from the foul line; her free-throw percentage is a so-so 63.4, his not much better at 65.1. But while Johnson plays a lot "above the rim," scoring freely on tap-ins and twisting layups, Menken relies on six-to-eight-foot turnarounds. Says Johnson graciously, "Basically, we both take high-percentage shots, but hers are harder than mine. She takes jumpers."
CHARTING THE FLOW OF THE GAME
Go ahead and laugh, but you can apparently learn a lot of interesting things from water-pressure readings and the like. For example, the resort town of Ocean City, Md. (pop. 35,000), used sewage-flow measurements to determine that it had exactly 225,582 visitors last July 4. The calculation was made on the basis of variations in the flow of waste water computed by means of what scientists at Johns Hopkins University's School of Hygiene and Public Health, who developed the technique, call the "demoflush" factor. Similarly, utility officials feel that water-consumption readings can provide a pretty fair idea of just how riveting major sports events and popular TV shows like Roots might be. That's because bathroom use during the most gripping events tends to decline for long stretches of time, then increase significantly during breaks in the action and again at the end of the show.
A case in point is the situation in Philadelphia during Super Bowl XV. As residents crowded around TV sets, the Philadelphia Water Department recorded that at 7:30 p.m., late in the first half, it was pumping water at a 290-million-gallons-a-day rate. By contrast, the flow at 8 p.m., during halftime, sharply increased to a 448-million-gallon rate. Obviously, Philly residents had been admirably biding their time up to that point. But at 9 p.m., well into the second half, the rate declined only slightly, to 339 million gallons, suggesting that some Eagle fans had resigned themselves to the worst and were taking leave of their TV sets. At 10 p.m., after the game ended, the flow increased only to a 361-million-gallon rate. The water department had expected a bigger postgame surge, but many Philadelphians had probably already turned off the TV, having long since realized that the Eagles were going down the drain.
NINE O'CLOCK LIGHTNING
Southern Cal Basketball Coach Stan Morrison had a problem. Dwight Anderson, a heralded guard known as Dwight Lightning, and Forward Mike Owens, both of whom had transferred to USC (from Kentucky and Orange Coast College, respectively), were to become eligible at exactly 9 p.m. on Jan. 26, the moment when fall-semester final exams on the campus officially ended. The Trojans were playing California, starting at 8 p.m. in the L.A. Sports Arena, and Morrison wanted to have the services of his two new players the instant they became eligible, which figured to be roughly halftime. But if Morrison listed Anderson and Owens in the official scorebook before the game, he'd be entering names of players still technically ineligible. If he didn't, he'd be subject to technical fouls for using players not entered in the scorebook. After consultations with the Pac-10, the matter was resolved. Morrison, it was ruled, could enter the players in the scorebook before the game.
That out of the way, Anderson and Owens warmed up in street clothes during the first half, using a basket put up under the stands. The Trojans rolled to a 32-27 halftime lead over Cal. During the teams' halftime warmups, nine o'clock arrived. So, dramatically, did Anderson and Owens, who, now in uniform, ran onto the court to the robust cheers of Trojan fans. While Owens didn't play until the final seconds, and went scoreless, Dwight Lightning struck quickly, playing 19 minutes and contributing nine points to a 72-66 Trojan victory.