Look sharp, Vermont
Its last problem solved with the hiring of engineers who can get to work next winter on skis, Vermont's first television transmitter went into operation atop Mount Mansfield last week. Although some Vermonters have been kibitzing on New York and Canadian television stations, the entire state will now be exposed to video. Thus, what has become commonplace to most other Americans will come fresh and startling to thousands of new viewers. Soon Vermonters will be whistling (in spite of themselves) the Look Sharp Be Sharp March, which has become the theme music for many a sports event. A little later, the same Vermonters may be wishing they had never heard the thing or, indeed, its companion piece, the stirring How're Ya Fixed for Blades? But Vermonters will find that the price they pay is not too high. For the theme music will herald some of the best sports events on the calendar: the World Series, the Rose Bowl game, the Kentucky Derby, the big fights. And even the most sophisticated sports fans among them now have an edifying experience in store for them. Inevitably, in one of the commercial interludes?there in their own homes among the Green Mountains ?they may see a ball player shave.
Disruptive St. Leger
It is traditional that the St. Leger Stakes be run at Doncaster, near Sheffield, on a Wednesday. But tradition and economics are barely on speaking terms in England nowadays, and so this year, as in all but one since 1939, the famous race will be run on a Saturday?September 11.
Each year Doncaster hopefully schedules the race for a Wednesday and each year, at the last moment, is forced to move it to the weekend. The reason, as reported by The Sporting Life: "Representations had been made to the government by South Yorkshire industrialists that a midweek St. Leger would disrupt production and cause voluntary absenteeism...."
In 1946, the one year since World War II began that the St. Leger was held on a Wednesday, the Yorkshire Post estimated a turnout of 250,000. The St. Leger did not always attract great crowds. In 1777, 150 good seats were offered, at seven guineas each, with first refusal to "the noblemen and gentlemen that live in the town and the neighborhood." Seventy-nine of the tickets were sold.
The striper cometh
The big fellow is out there somewhere, having a high old time, chasing his sea-going snacks right up to the beaches on the black and stormy nights. These are the nights when the surf casters put on their foul-weather gear and come out in force because they know that the worse the weather, the closer the big fellow will come.
Right now, the big fellow is smart. He's been smart ever since he swam out of Chesapeake Bay in the late spring and started his annual journey north. He has been laughing his striped bass laugh as he has spotted the plugs and jigs cast before him in an attempt to deceive him. The big fellow is buying none of these tackle shop tidbits.
The big fellow will outsmart the surf casters all along Cape Cod. But then, full of cockiness, he will start south toward a fateful rendezvous in which some tin or plastic gadget will fool him, smart as he is. For this big fellow is the one destined to win the Martha's Vineyard Derby (Sept. 15 through Oct. 15) for some surf caster who, at this moment, may be staring dreamily out of an office window in New York or Boston or Chicago or Kansas City.
The surf casters come from all over to the Martha's Vineyard Derby, but wherever they come from, they are all of one breed. They are the most dedicated of all fishermen. Others who fish with zeal and passion must have a fish now and then to keep them going. Only the surf caster can survive on faith alone. Only the surf caster can come back year after year with never so much as a strike to reward him. His faith never fails him. He believes, he knows, that some day, some year, his striped bass will come along and when it does, it will have been worth all the waiting.