It was 1 a.m. when passersby in Troy, N.Y. saw the shadowy figure of a man throw a heavy object off the Troy-Men-ands Bridge, then speed away in his car. Summoned to the scene, police and firemen looked out into the murky waters of the Hudson River. They saw nothing. Witnesses provided police with the mystery man's license-plate number, and it was traced to William Biette, 37. He came clean. He said he was a 180-average bowler who had had such a frustrating night on the lanes, averaging just 156 for four games, that he told his bowling companions he was going to throw his ball off the nearest bridge. Which he then proceeded to do. The police didn't press charges, sympathetically noting in their report that Biette had heaved the ball into the drink because it had "let him down earlier in the evening."
The Albany Times-Union was somewhat less solicitous. Its story of Biette's tantrum was accompanied by a photo of the bridge with a dotted line superimposed to show the path of the ball falling toward the water. The dotted line wasn't straight. The artist had impishly drawn it with a sweeping hook, the sort of hook that wouldn't pick up a 7-10 split in a million years.
A QUESTION OF BLAME
The Boston Herald American recently polled readers for their views on who's to blame for the disappointing showing this season of the New England Patriots, who have a 2-10 record. The poll elicited 759 responses, with Patriot Coach Ron Erhardt, owner Billy Sullivan, General Manager Bucko Kilroy and the Pat players, in that order, being most often singled out as the culprits. Other readers mentioned the weather, the Russians, defective footballs and Richard Nixon. Nine fans shrewdly blamed the opposition.
The poll angered Sullivan, who has feuds going with both Boston papers. Two weeks ago he filed a $5 million libel suit against The Boston Globe and columnist David Farrell over an Oct. 4 story alleging that Sullivan had used his influence during World War II to get a "soft" job in public relations at the U.S. Naval Academy and quoting the late Richard Cardinal Cushing as saying he had "never got a dime" out of three Patriot charity exhibition games. As for the Herald American's poll, Sullivan wrote a letter to the paper suggesting that it similarly survey readers about who's to blame for the paper's own woes, which include an estimated loss last year of $10 million. High on Sullivan's own list of nominees was Herald American Editor Donald Forst, who reportedly came up with the idea to run the poll on the Patriots.
Cuba's national women's basketball team beat Old Dominion 71-68 last week in Norfolk, Va., as demonstrators angrily protested the presence in the U.S. of athletes representing Fidel Castro's country. In contrast to this confrontation was a unique situation in Montreal, where Cubans and Americans were teammates in the World Cup Boxing Championships. SI's Bob Sullivan explains:
The format for the biennial amateur competition called for teams to enter on a continental basis. The North American team, one of 10 in the tournament, had been selected during four days of trials in September in Shreveport, La. Fighters from Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic had vied for spots on the 12-man team but all were eliminated; the team that wound up at a three-week training camp in Colorado Springs, Colo. consisted of seven Cubans and five U.S. boxers. By virtue of this breakdown, Cuba's Alcides Sagarra became head coach, an American, Joe Clough, his assistant.
"In Shreveport our guys had watched the Cubans line up like they were in the military and had snickered," Clough said. "Now, with 'AT handling the training, we had to line up. Nobody snickered." But Clough added that Sagarra turned out to be less rigid than he first appeared to be: "He said he was going to have a four o'clock workout, and I said, 'No, that's too late. Noon.' And he said, 'O.K.' That's when I knew we were going to be all right."
By the time the North American team arrived in Montreal, the Cuban and U.S. fighters were quite comfortable with one another. Lightweight Angel Herrera, a two-time Olympic gold medalist, excitedly ran up to a couple of U.S. boxers to show them a Havana newspaper with their photos in it. After grooving on some Latin-rhythm tapes belonging to middleweight Jose Gomez, light welterweight James Mitchell of the U.S. reciprocated by giving the Cuban fighter a Commodores tape. Of the Cubans, who, like the U.S. boxers, were black, Mitchell said, approvingly, "They were soul brothers...originally."