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Morning Briefing : They'll Be Fighting to Get to the Front

October 23, 1985

Runners competing in the New York marathon will face some unusual competition Sunday when five Ghurka soldiers line up for the annual race.

The soldiers are stationed in Hong Kong, where, during working hours, they chase down illegal immigrants trying to enter the British crown colony from China.

The Ghurkas, sturdy Nepalese mountain men, have served in the British Army since the mid-19th Century, and have fought enemies of the empire from Afghanistan to the Falkland Islands.

Sunday's entrants have competed annually in a race near the China border, one that involves running up and down a 1,700-foot mountain.

The grueling event originated in the 1800s when the Gurkhas fought Pathan tribesmen on India's mountainous Northwest Frontier.

While the main body of troops marched through the valley, picket parties of eight men would run along the high ground to oust any snipers, but would inevitably race their rival parties on the other side of the valley.

Sounds like perfect practice for Central Park.

Trivia Time: When's the last time player-managers opposed each other in a World Series? (Answer below.)

John Slusher, son of sports agent Howard Slusher, gained 141 yards in 21 carries and scored two touchdowns last week to lead Chadwick High to a 42-7 win over Coast Union.

Chadwick plays eight-man football. Cracked a Times staffer: "Are the other three holding out?"

Add Slusher: Said an NFL general manager after a particularly trying session with the agent: "The Harvard Business School should introduce a new course titled 'Dealing With Howard Slusher 101.' "

Washington Coach Don James, on Cal freshman Mark Hicks who will play against UCLA Saturday: "After his game against us, I compared him with Charles White coming into the league, but the more I've had a chance to think about it, I think he's the best football player to come into our league in 11 years. I can't recall a freshman coming in and being in a dominating position like this."

Where does Oregon State's 21-20 win over Washington rank among college football's big upsets?

According to research by Mort Olshan's Gold Sheet, a publication that supplies information on college games, it could be unprecedented.

Washington was a 37-point favorite.

"First of all, it's very unusual for anyone to make a line of over 35 points," said a Gold Sheet representative.

Checking back to 1973, it was found that Notre Dame was a 34-point favorite over Purdue in 1974, but lost to the Boilermakers, 31-20. In 1982, Northwestern was a 32-point underdog to Minnesota, but the Wildcats won, 31-21.

The research continues.

Trivia Answer: In the 1934 World Series. The player-managers were second basemen Frankie Frisch of the St. Cardinals and catcher Mickey Cochrane of the Detroit Tigers. Strangely, it was the second year in a row player-managers had opposed each other. In 1933, they were shortstop Joe Cronin of the Washington Senators and Bill Terry of the New York Giants.


Coach Bum Phillips of the New Orleans Saints after passing a physical examination: "If I drop dead tomorrow, at least I'll know I died in good health."

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