"We want to
be as scientific as possible," explains Dr. Kenneth Backhouse of London,
one of the society's leading spirits. "We want to keep out the bleeding
'earts—you know, the dear old souls who want to watch the little furry
creatures. The bleeding 'earts have nearly ruined bird watching, and with
mammals they'd be fatal."
With this in
mind, the society's rabbit and seal watchers, whale observers and bat ringers
(who catch bats and put identifying bands on their forearms) sternly snooped on
mammals all over England. The habits of weasels, seals, stoats, squirrels,
polecats, rabbits, deer, rats, moles and voles were under scrutiny. It was
rumored that hares seemed to be moving into rabbit holes—now that the rabbits
have fallen prey to myxomatosis. One J.H.F. Stevenson reported that female
foxes call their young with a "wuffling" sound—"Ug, ug, ug,
ug," said very rapidly with the mouth shut. Dead badgers were in demand—for
dissection. "Bleeding 'earts," said Dr. Backhouse proudly, "would
never scrape a dead badger off a road."
most massive problem? Whales, the doctor thought. "We know that numbers of
whales and dolphins and porpoises are washed up, stranded on beaches around
Britain every year. It's the duty of anyone seeing a stranded whale to report
it to the Registrar of Wrecks. The Coastguards used to do it, but with radar,
the number of Coastguards is going down. But there must be lots of people who
would be interested enough to do it—if you could only publicize the fact that
they should. That's the sort of thing we want to do."
MEET ME IN ST.
St. Louis is to
U.S. soccer as Philadelphia is to scrapple, so it was no surprise that the U.S.
Olympic soccer trials were held there last week. The 15-man team—the first full
U.S. squad in any sport to be chosen for the November Olympics—now faces the
next question: How to get to Melbourne?
When it comes to
doling out travel money, the U.S. Olympic Committee lists sports roughly in
order of their "mass base." Soccer is third from last on the list,
outranking only cycling and field hockey. To help raise the $35,000 expense
kitty, the committee hopes to match the U.S. soccer team against visiting
English, Scots and German amateur teams this spring and summer. The team will
definitely go to Melbourne; however, a scheduled elimination match with Mexico
was called off and the U.S. won by default when the Mexicans could not raise
enough pesos for their own expenses.
In Australia the
Americans will not have to strain very hard to better previous U.S. Olympic
records. The U.S. has been represented by soccer teams at the Games since 1924
(16 years after soccer was added to the list of Olympic events). That year the
Americans survived the first round, defeating an Estonian team, only to lose
out to Uruguay 3-0. Since then the U.S. has never got beyond the first round,
has scored a grand total of two points in 24 years.
four members of the 15-man 1956 team are St. Louisans, and so is the top-ranked
alternate, John Traina (members of the selection committee admitted that they
might have picked Traina for the first squad, but felt that one more man might
give the team too much of a Missouri accent). Otherwise, the teammates are
eminently representative of the whole country. Four players are New Yorkers,
three are from Chicago, with Los Angeles, University Park, Pa., Syracuse and
Cincinnati represented by one man each. Among the players are three soldiers, a
barber, a mailman, a shipping clerk and a truck driver. The team's flashiest
player, Inside Forward Zenon Snylyk, 22, is a naturalized American born in the
Ukraine who is also a political science student at the University of Chicago.
Next fall he plans to move to St. Louis, so he can play more soccer.
LESSON ON A
of Tunis tossed off an idea about Olympic competition the other day, and it was
enough to make the turf tremble on the playing fields of Harrow: Why bother
about the distinction between amateurs and professionals anyhow? "Let
everybody compete," cried Earl Alexander. "Then there can be no
arguments afterward. After all, the world has changed considerably since the
Olympic Games were revived in the 1890s by Baron Pierre de Coubertin of France.
For one thing, there were few professional athletes of any description at that