Off the grapevine:

* Few probably would argue the statement that Steve Ovett and Sebastian Coe (both of Great Britain) are the world's greatest milers. Even though Coe currently holds the record at 3:47.33, Ovett is just as apt to lower it the next time he runs. But there is someone else out there by the name of Sydney Maree, who thinks he can beat them both. Maree, who was born in South Africa and once competed for Villanova, turned in the second-fastest clocking ever for the distance (3:47.52) last fall in New York's first Fifth Avenue Mile. The time isn't official, since Sydney did it over a straight course, rather than a regulation one. Still you have to think the potential is there.

* Even though coach John McKay of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers took his team to the National Football League playoffs in 1981, McKay still gets rapped occasionally for relying too much on the bomb and not having a diversified enough pass offense. But guilty in the press isn't necessarily guilty on the playing field. One thing John does get high marks for from everybody is his defense, which is one of the toughest in the NFL. He is also praised regularly for the way he has stayed with quarterback Doug Williams, giving Williams the time he needed to adjust to NFL defenses.

* As you have probably already noticed if you watch television,one major airline is selling comfort to its customers with a commercial that has 7 ft. 1 in. Wilt Chamberlain and 7 ft. 2 in. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar sliding easily into adjoining seats. Pidge Burack, who used to run the Olympian Hotel in Los Angeles before he retired to do stats for the Lakers, actually started this trend in 1964 when he had seven-foot beds installed in 30 rooms. When word got around, Burack not only got most of the visiting college basketball teams in L.A., but all except two NBA teams.

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