In the recent Philadelphia-Seattle basketball game in Boston Garden, the 76ers' 6'9", 240-pound Lucious Jackson scored on one of the most convincing stuff shots of our time. It tore down the rim and pulled a big chunk out of the shatterproof-glass backboard, ending its career. That must be what you call dominating the boards.
PLUMBING THE THAMES
Cockneys peered in puzzlement over the granite embankments of London's Thames last week. Among the heavy barges, in the shadows of Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament, they could actually see people fishing. It was part of an official experiment conducted by the Greater London Council: twenty-five crack coarse-fishing tournament men tried for four hours, from Battersea to Blackfriars, to see if there were any freshwater fish to be had in the heart of London. Huddled beneath huge umbrellas and swaddled in layers of sweaters, they sat on the decks of barges and offered down lobworms, brandlings, bread paste and gentles (maggots). Several bites were announced, but the weigh-in amounted to naught ounces.
For the past 20 years the Council has been trying to clean up the lower Thames, and now it is at least no longer necessary to have one's stomach evacuated after falling in. But a $42 million cleansing program is still insufficient to handle the 500 million gallons of sewage—mostly human waste—discharged into the river daily. Because of the shifting tides, it takes three months for an item of sewage to reach the sea.
The Thames used to be one of the best salmon rivers in Europe. Henry VIII's tame polar bear used to be let out on a chain to catch Thames salmon for his majesty, and as late as 1798 some 400 fishermen made their living on the river. In this century 100,000 salmon have been planted in the Thames, but the last recorded catch was in 1833.
BREAKS OF THE GAME
As the Oakland Raiders scored twice in the last minute to beat the New York Jets last Sunday, NBC-TV cut to two commercials and then a children's special. (Later, as a little crippled girl was crawling and struggling to walk, a bulletin showing the final score crept by just below her.) We were reminded that while there are hardships involved in going to a football game in person, at least it never plunges you into Heidi.
SPORTIF, OU NON?
One had assumed that the French through history had specialized more in a sound mind than in a sound body, notwithstanding the episode of Mlle. Bardot. But a recent poll conducted by the French Ministry of Youth and Sports suggests that France is veering in the direction of physical fitness. Almost twice as many adult Frenchmen (30%) practice a sport today, the Ministry has reported, as did five years ago. Swimming was found most popular, followed by "walking" and gymnastics. As for teenagers, almost three of four said they pursue some sport, especially cycling.
Paris' Le Monde, however, responded to the report with intellectual caution. "The bather declares himself a swimmer," the paper said in an editorial, "the stroller a walker, the leisurely bike rider a cyclist, and the father of a family who does a bit of corrective calisthenics on the beach calls himself a gymnast. In daily life the city dweller willingly considers himself 'sportif' if, instead of taking a bus, he walks six city blocks from the apartment to the office."
We are not saying anything. We know some American sportifs who sit around all afternoon and consider themselves quarterbacks.