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Greek sprinters—who usually raced 606 feet, a distance known as a "stadium"—set off from a standing start. Dr. Broneer hinged a crossbar to each pole at a little above waist level. He ran cords along the grooves, through the bronze staples, up the poles and out to the free ends of the crossbars. When he crouched in the pit behind the starting line, he could raise the crossbars like semaphores by pulling on the cords and could make the bars drop simultaneously simply by releasing them. "But," he was asked last week in Chicago, "wasn't a runner in danger of bumping the end of the bar as it fell?" Greek runners, he said, grinning, seldom tried to jump the gun. If they were caught they were not just set back a yard; they had to erect a statue of Zeus outside the stadium as penance.
HAPPY HUNTING GROUND
Football squad rosters do not often make entertaining reading but there is something about the rosters of the Atlantic Coast Conference teams which, when read in a kind of Vachel Lindsay rhythm, can wake a man up instead of putting him to sleep. Like the beat, beat, beat of a Cole Porter tom-tom there recurs throughout these listings one incessant note—Pa., Pa., Pa.
The eight-team ACC lists no fewer than 102 Pennsylvanians—35 of them at North Carolina State. The N.C. State squad, in fact, carries more Pennsylvanians than the University of Pennsylvania, which has a mere 22. For comparison in a similar geographical area, the Southeast Conference lists only 13 Pennsylvania players and, in fact, only 55 players from north of the Mason-Dixon line. The ACC, a third smaller, has three times as many—172 Yankees.
An SEC coach explains it:
"We just cull our home territory well. Those guys in the Coast conference refuse to realize there are good boys at home. They're all trooping to Pennsylvania. Well, I'll tell you. Those coal miners up there may be big and strong but we found that so many of them were numbskulls that even our colleges were too rugged for them academically. We find we do much better at home."
The explanation of an ACC coach does not differ much. It goes like this:
"I still think that Pennsylvania boys are good, and besides we've got to have them. For one thing, Jim Tatum started importing these Pennsylvania boys to our league and got too strong for the rest of the conference. This is bad for both morale and gate receipts. So we had no choice but to try to beat him at his own game. There just aren't enough good boys in the Carolinas and Virginia to stock all our rosters and the SEC has got Alabama, Georgia, Florida and Mississippi sewed up."
The ACC rosters break down like this:
Clemson: 8 Pennsylvanians, 11 Northerners all told, 18 out-of-state Southerners.