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"Some time later," he says, "three of us were fishing. We used identical lines, hooks and bait. One fellow and I got plenty of bluegills. But the fellow in the middle of the boat got nothing. I thought, 'I bet his hands are smelling up the bait.' "
Elser admits that his hands, too, are sometimes unpopular. The other day, seeing that the trout were "jumping real nice" at a hatchery, he rinsed his hands upstream. When the "polluted" water reached the trout they promptly stopped their frolic.
Which seems to prove that the old saw is true. You never know when you offend.
Hobbled by blistered feet, Marathon Runner John Kelley failed to finish the first of his two required Olympic tryout races (SI, June 6). But when he won the second race by a wide margin, Olympic officials made an exception in his favor. Kelley, they ruled, would proceed to Rome.
Last week, in Manhattan for a 15-mile Olympic warmup, Kelley struggled to rationalize for himself the Olympic committee's decision. "Taking advantage of the rule change is against every principle I hold," he said on the one hand. "But a man will do what he wants to do if he can," he said on the other. "Actually," he finished inconclusively, "after I failed in the first race, I should have said I would not accept a place on the Olympic team no matter how well I did in the second. But by being silent I accepted the controversy. Now I can't say I won't go. I only wish they had changed the rules before this ever came up."
Kelley's mixed feelings are understandable, but Olympic Official Pincus Sober said the decision was not based on sentimentality. Kelley, said Sober, is the best marathon runner in the U.S., and the two-race tryout is mainly designed to weed out a flash in the pan. "We did not want to be hidebound by a regulation that defeats our own purposes," he argued.