SI Vault
January 29, 1968
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January 29, 1968


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After a week of similar exercises, Callison was saying, "I feel so good it's hard to explain. They tell me Yaz felt the same way."

Callison hit .261 with 14 home runs last year. Now if he can only bat .326, hit 44 homers and....

In an election at the University of California students voted Jeff Sokal head yell leader. Sokal ran on a "peace" ticket, and his campaign literature showed him in front of antiwar half-time card stunts.

The Lake George (N.Y.) Chamber of Commerce has announced that it is holding the First Annual Polar Icecap Open Golf Tournament at, or rather on, Lake George, February 3 and 4. Since the ice on the lake is blue-white, a vegetable dye will be used for greens. Golf balls will be painted iridescent orange for visibility and will be warmed to make sure they will not break into bits when hit. Heated clubs, however, are forbidden. Snowshoes are permitted as well as skis and skates. Huskies have been suggested as caddies; golfers may also use polar bears, if they are muzzled. A birdie will be considered a penguin and an eagle a snow goose. Cups are to be bored several inches deep into the ice. The only thing the Lake George course seems to lack is any kind of water hazard.


The death of hockey's Bill Masterton in a game last week again focuses attention on one of the most delicate and troubling of sports questions: how safe is safe enough? The immediate result has been a debate about whether pro hockey players should wear helmets. Masterton, 29, a center for the Minnesota North Stars, fell backward on the ice and suffered a skull fracture.

He had been shaken up in a game two weeks before, had complained of headaches (to teammates but not to a physician or his coach) and may well have blacked out in the fatal game, falling in an unusual way for no apparent reason. Had he worn a helmet, as players often do after concussions, he would have been protected.

Shocked by Masterton's death, the first fatality in the NHL's 51 years, several players are talking of wearing helmets voluntarily. "We should all be wearing them," says Chicago's Bobby Hull, "but we're just too damn vain." His teammate Stan Mikita says he will begin wearing one as soon as he can design a helmet that will not interfere with his play. The ones now available are uncomfortable and hot.

Some players, however, will not wear them unless forced to. Pittsburgh's Ken Schinkel explains, "The player who wears one has always been looked on as a kind of outsider."

Bobby Rousseau of Montreal, who used a helmet last season, discarded it this year and attained greater scoring proficiency, says paradoxically, "I don't think I'd wear a helmet again, if the decision were left to me. With one on, you sometimes are unable to sense things behind you. But it should be a rule."

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