SI Vault
Edited by Jerry Kirshenbaum
April 13, 1981
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April 13, 1981


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Louisiana high school athletic officials are having trouble explaining away an ugly incident involving two black golfers at St. Frederick Catholic High, an integrated school of 300 students in Monroe. The trouble occurred when St. Frederick showed up to compete in a 12-team tournament in Bastrop, La., only to be told that because the event was being held on a segregated private course, the two black team members, Detrand Lloyd and Lesley Williams, wouldn't be allowed to play. Armed Mathews, St. Frederick's athletic director, says he offered to withdraw his team but that Lloyd and Williams volunteered not to participate rather than deprive their white teammates of the chance to do so. Incredibly, Mathews, tournament officials and everybody else involved acquiesced. The event was held without Lloyd and Williams, who went sightseeing because they weren't even allowed to stay and watch the event.

If the banning of the two black youngsters was disquieting, so is the reaction to it. Asked if he still felt his decision to let the team play without Lloyd and Williams had been right. Mathews said, "The kids felt like it was, so in that regard, I do, too." Sister Clarice Faltus, the principal of St. Frederick, said, "It's not that big of an issue, and there's no reason to keep badgering us about it." Frank Spruiell, commissioner of the Louisiana High School Athletic Association, deplored what he called a "very unfortunate situation and an embarrassing one," but he also said, "Unfortunately, every school and every area doesn't have a municipal course. Some schools wouldn't have a team if they didn't use the private clubs. This is true even in tennis, and sometimes swimming. So we don't knock the local clubs that cooperate with the high schools."

Spruiell is no doubt right in suggesting that some schools in Louisiana, like a good many elsewhere, might have to abandon golf if they didn't play on private courses. But one has to question whether it is worth maintaining a golf program if matches have to be held on segregated courses—even if there are no blacks playing on participating teams at the moment. The use of such courses not only reinforces segregation generally but may also discourage some black youngsters from taking up the game. Besides, alternatives to segregated courses often exist, as Spruiell himself seemed to concede when, referring to schools hosting golf tournaments in his state, he urged that henceforth, "If any school they're inviting does have blacks, they're going to have to pick a place they can play." It apparently didn't occur to Mr. Spruiell that they might be better off simply picking courses where blacks can play period.

By winning the NCAA basketball championship after losing nine regular-season games (against 21 wins), Isiah Thomas and his Indiana University teammates set a new standard for such things; the previous record for most losses by an NCAA champ was seven (against 20 wins) by Marquette in 1976-77. But when it comes to peaking in postseason play, nobody compares with the 1937-38 Chicago Black Hawks, who won the Stanley Cup despite a regular-season record of 14-25-9. Other teams that scaled the heights after relatively mediocre seasons include the NFL champion New York Giants in 1934 (regular-season record: 8-5, .615) and the 1974 world champion Oakland A's (90-72, .556). In the NBA, the Washington Bullets took the league title in 1977-78. despite going only 44-38 during the regular season, a "record" that the Moses Malone-led Houston Rockets, who were 40-42 during the regular season (as were another playoff team, the Kansas City Kings), are stalking after upsetting the defending champion Los Angeles Lakers last week in their opening-round playoff series (page 12). If the Rockets win the NBA title, it will mean that basketball teams led by players named Isiah and Moses will have wound up forging unprecedented turnarounds in the same season.


Anyone who still assumes that George Brett's seventh-inning, two-run homer was responsible for Kansas City's 3-2 victory over the Yankees in the decisive third game of last season's American League playoffs had better think again. According to Jose Martinez, the Royals' first-base coach, K.C. won because he had had the foresight to enlist the help of his godfather. Alberto Lozano, a Cuban-born practitioner of voodoo who lives in Miami.

Martinez reveals that he called Lozano to ask what could be done to ensure that the Royals would win the pennant. Although Lozano is a Yankee fan, he felt obliged to help his godson, and so he told him. "Stick the Yankee lineup in the freezer," an action that he said would "freeze their bats." Before Game 3, Martinez dutifully obtained a copy of the New York lineup, went into a back room in Yankee Stadium and placed the card in a freezer. This is why, Martinez suggests, the Yankees scored only two runs.

Lozano says that he and his followers have used their mystical powers to cure disease and save lives, adding, "We don't harm anybody. We don't do wrong to nobody." The Yankees might dispute that, especially when Lozano goes on to say that he has already arranged the outcome of this season. He and his disciples have been meeting every Monday to practice secret rites, and he says. "I'm telling you nine months in advance. The Royals will be the American League champions, and they're going to beat whoever is in the World Series representing the National League. That's it. K.C. is going all the way to the top."


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