Gaines prepared four lessons to be given during four home games. For Lesson One a couple of weeks ago he put a player in shorts and T shirt on the 50-yard line. As the player donned each piece of padding and gear its purpose was explained to the crowd. So were the size of the field, the player-numbering system, the formations and the scoring system. Lesson outlines were printed in the scorecard.
In Lesson Two the duties of the officials were explained. And then the high schoolers, eager to strut their stuff before a college audience, crisply demonstrated kickoff formations, fumbles, interceptions.
The lessons were mostly a great success. After the first one, 7-year-old Archie Blount got up next morning and, using thumb tacks, showed his father the single wing formation. On the other hand, a coed (age undisclosed) was asked how many downs are given to make a first down. She replied: "Oh, I just don't know about details like that."
The lively ball has been a commonplace of baseball since Babe Ruth's day. Now the National Hockey League is experimenting with the unlively puck. Reactions are mixed.
The new puck, made of butyl, has been tried out in practice sessions and at the All-Star game in Toronto. It shows more resistance to chipping (from being banged against the boards and kicked by skates), and its reduced resiliency is such that a carom off the backboards is less likely to bounce out in front of the net. Forwards and defensemen generally see no noteworthy difference in playing the puck, but goalies say it is "heavier" to handle when shot at them.
Detroit's Gordie Howe complained that he "couldn't seem to move it." Detroit is one of the teams that prefer a lively, bouncing puck for use in planned plays, and has, in fact, used lively backboards behind the net in order to get front-of-net ricochets.
NHL President Clarence Campbell, now receiving reports on club experience with the puck, told Boston's Lynn Patrick that he had had "a lot of complaints" about it. Good bet: it will not be adopted.
THE OLD GO, GO, GO
Some oldsters will tell you that modern college football players are so accustomed to riding to classes, air conditioning and other modern comforts that they are not nearly as hardy as their predecessors used to be.