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EVENTS & DISCOVERIES
June 24, 1957
VOYAGERS FROM HISTORY, THREE COLTS AND MR. JONES, A GRADE-SCHOOL TEACHER WITH A GOOD LEFT HOOK, HELMET, SHOULDER PADS AND RED TAPE, THE CLOISTERED BASE PATHS
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June 24, 1957

Events & Discoveries

VOYAGERS FROM HISTORY, THREE COLTS AND MR. JONES, A GRADE-SCHOOL TEACHER WITH A GOOD LEFT HOOK, HELMET, SHOULDER PADS AND RED TAPE, THE CLOISTERED BASE PATHS

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His father, heavy-handed Henry Harris, taught all the boys to fight almost before they learned to walk. Roy was fighting in smokers when he was 13 and "whipping grown men" when he was 15. He had 83 amateur fights (losing 10), and has fought 21 times in two years as a professional—beating, among others, Charlie Norkus and Bob Baker. He is a quiet, dark-haired fellow who now weighs 190 pounds; he is awkward, savage and smart in the ring and despite his relative inexperience he seemed to be outthinking as well as outpunching Pastrano in the Houston upset last week. He slipped Pastrano's jab and used his right. He feinted with the right and threw left hooks. When Pastrano tried coming in, head down, he used an uppercut. "Harris," said New Orleans Promoter Allen Lacombe gloomily afterward, "made Pastrano look like a banana carrier."

Back in Cut and Shoot, after the fight, Harris planned to go on with his $229-a-month job teaching the fourth grade. (Robert Thomas, one of his pupils, had predicted: "If he punches Pastrano as hard as he whupped me, there won't be nothing to it.") Roy, who lives with his wife in a neat white cottage adjoining his family's land, also continued to startle Cut and Shoot by 1) driving a black Cadillac, and 2) wearing Bermuda shorts. But the Harris family proper was unaffected—it still resides in the sprawling log house with a galvanized-iron roof, imperfect windows, unclosable doors and fight posters on the walls. A nine-foot alligator still lives in the pond out beyond the sweet gum trees.

"That gator must be getting hungry," said Roy's mother reflectively last week, as she rocked in her rope-bottomed chair. "Hasn't eaten a dog in about a week as far as we know."

FOREIGN AID PROGRAM

Desire is everything in football, and a coach can hardly say no to a star halfback who wants to take some equipment home for the summer; when the University of Virginia's big, line-busting Jim Bakhtiar wondered if the school could ship him 1 football, 1 needle valve, 1 uniform, 1 helmet, 1 kickoff tee and 1 extra-point tee, Head Coach Ben Martin said, "Sure, Jimbo. It's as good as there right now." This, it turned out, was not quite true. Bakhtiar—full name: James Abol Hassen Bakhtiar—lives in Abadan, Iran, and Abadan is a long way from Charlottesville, Va. Assistant Coach Ralph Hendrix (whom Martin cunningly appointed his delegate in the matter) found this out almost immediately.

It took a half day of telephoning just to find out how you best send a parcel to Abadan (air express), and after that he had to stuff the gear into a worthy parcel. These chores accomplished, he delegated Handyman Fielding Updike to carry on from there. Updike departed with package. He soon returned. "Can't be sealed," he said. "Customs inspection." Hendrix spent the evening in moody thought and the next day solved the problem—he tied bowknots in the twine around the parcel and sent Updike on his way again. Coach Martin was looking out the window when Updike returned and began a play-by-play: "He's slamming the door. He's hitching up his pants and talking to himself. He looks mad. He's brought it back again!"

Updike also brought a list of what was needed to send a football uniform to Iran: a commercial invoice in quadruplicate, a customs declaration in quadruplicate, an insurance form in quadruplicate, a consular fee of $4.18 and a fee of $8.38 for legalizing general power of attorney and designating an agent in Iran. "Whatta they want a commercial invoice for?" cried Martin. "We're not selling the damned uniform." Hollered Updike: "Don't holler at me, holler at them!" Martin hollered by telephone for a half hour but got nowhere. Then he called in his assistants. "What," one of them asked, "is a commercial invoice form in quadruplicate?" Martin sighed. "How the hell should I know? Just find one."

At this point the coach believed that he saw light at the end of his tunnel. He seized the telephone again and called the Iranian embassy in Washington. Did the embassy know of Jim Bakhtiar and his great work in international relations? The embassy did indeed. Encouraged, Martin tried to delegate the job again. It didn't work. The polite voice at the embassy simply assured him that he would have no trouble at all, and that anything Bakhtiar Khan wanted shipped to Iran was O.K. with Iran. Then the phone went dead.

By the next day Martin and his men had a commercial invoice. By the day after that they had it and all the other forms filled out (Describe commodities in sufficient detail to permit verification of the Schedule B.... Any person violating...Export Control Regulations...is subject to a fine of not more than $10,000....), then were ready, in fact, to try shipping the box again. Martin by now, however, was becoming sensitive to the enemy at the express office. "Bring me a duffel bag," he cried. It was delivered. Quickly he stuffed it with the football gear. He seized his pen and wrote boldly: "Personal Effects of James Bakhtiar" in quadruplicate on every piece of paper in the thick heap he had accumulated. It worked. Railway Express accepted the bag with almost horrifying matter-of-factness. Two days later, Seaboard & Western Airlines sent him a wire assuring him that the "personal effects" were on their way overseas.

Only then did Martin have time to mull, in fascination, the project he was furthering. Bakhtiar, once back in Islam, proposes to suit up and kick field goals over goal posts which his father—a wealthy doctor and Persian nobleman—has agreed to set up in a public park. What will the citizenry of Abadan, Iran think of that? Martin broke off to ask himself another question. What might not happen to the mind and body of his sure-bet All-America if the boy tried to ship the uniform back to the U.S. at summer's end? He leaped to his feet and sought his halfback out. "Look, Jimbo," he said gently. "If you have any trouble—any trouble at all—just leave that uniform in Abadan and forget it. If the worst comes to the worst, next fall we'll play you in your tribal robes."

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