New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - January 1, 1997, New Braunfels, Texas
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Brutal cold snap kills 90 in Europe
The sneakers solution to slippery surfaces
By HAL BOCK
Th# Associator! Press
Forty years ago, New York was in a December deep freeze with a wind chill that made Minneapolis seem like Maul. The field at Yankee Stadium was frozen, a major problem for the New York Giants and ( bitake Dears, preparing to play the NTL championship game there Tins was before artificial turf and domed stadiums made weather a non factor This was a lime when players and coaches tried to outfos thermometers and barometers So when the stadium Held turned mfd A itacn tundra Ilia! rVtttfnhfcd the Russian steppes. It called for some innovation Giants defensive end Andy Robuster, who was in the sporting goods business in the offseason, had the answer.
Now this was no great revelation and hardly unprecedented In 1914. the Giants switched to sneakers at halftime of the championship game against the Dears and fractioned their way hack from a 13*3 deficit to a MF 13 victory and the title This gave teams the idea that there might be a better way to deal with the elements Necessity, remember, has always been at the heart of breakthroughs “Progress of the game dictated what we did," Kohustelli said “You didn’t play with a nose guard until you broke your nose Then you decided, 'Why not wear one before you broke your nose?* D was the same with shoes “On the road, we had to have basketball shoes with us Before the game, the players would go on the field and if the ground was hard, you’d hark at using shoes that were not worn and had some grip "
With the Giants at home and the field as slippery as a hockey rink, Kohustelli approached equipment manager Hid Morel with the sneakers
solution “This was late in the year,” he said. “It was obvious the ground was going to he frozen "
Motet agreed and Kohustelli put in a call to a friendly supplier, who happily offered to donate the shoes for a good local cause a Giants championship. After practice on Saturday. Kohustelli drove to the factory and loaded three dozen pairs of sneakers in various sizes into his car
The price listen to this, Nike
and Reehok was S3 15 a pair
“That was wholesale,” Kohustelli said “I think we sold them for $4 99“
(lame day turned up predictably frigid. Jim Lee Howell, the (iiants coach, dispatched two players. Gene Filipski and Ed Hughes, out to test the turf Hughes wore standard
football cleats and went down in a heap f'ilipski. wearing the thick* soled rubber shoes, stayed upright That clinched it “Everyone wears sneakers,” Howell told the team “That was a common thing,” Kohustelli said “lf you slipped in cleats, you just wore shoes.”
It worked, filipski returned the opening kickoff 53 yards to the ( hicago 38 and the Giants were on their way By halftime, New York was four touchdowns ahead on the way to a 47-7 blowout T he Bears, nut caselty dummies, had their own supply rd sneakers and worked out ut them the week before the game So how come the (iiants* rubber soles worked and the Bears’ did not?
Robustelli, the sneaker guru. had the answer.
“The key was the suction," he said "They were basketball shoes lf they were used a lot, you’d slip and slide “ And if they were factory fresh, like the ones Kohustelli issued, there would he no problem None of this would happen in today’s high tech football, when players have a half-dozen pairs of shoes in their equipment hags, specialty models designed to deal with every surface from snow to seashells.
lf there Is a problem, thouglrwitb the playoffs, Kohustelli can*! hail them out anymore He’s in the travel
Tho Assocaitnd Twos LONDON Europe heads for the New Year huddled against a continent wide cold snap which has killed at least 90 in the past week, brought road chaos and air traffic delays and even caused Italy’s Venice lagoon to freeze over,
In Russia, up to 300 people have been trapped for days in a tunnel with their vehicles by avalanches in the southerly Caucasus mountains.
Tress reports said two women had given birth while in the tunnel and one new bom baby had died of the cold.
While some countries enjoyed slightly milder temperatures Monday, forecasters across the continent predicted the relief would lie shortlived, with heavy snowfalls and more deep freeze forecast through the week.
In Romania, some 20 people froze to death in blizzards which also disrupted road and rail traffic, according to official sources. Unofficial reports said 24 mainly elderly, homeless and beggars had died in Bucharest alone Bulgaria was also badly hit by cold related deaths, with nine people found frozen in snow storms Sunday, bringing the toll there to 19 since Christmas Eve In the northern mountains 23 villages were without power
Roland reported its coldest weather for IO years, with 17 deaths recorded in the past week Scandinavia arui Russia, well used to hard winters, have seen colder weather and heavier snow than in recent years lass news agency reported a total of IO people (lead in Russia with 245 hospitalized with frostbite.
The harsh conditions est ended as far south as the Valencia region, near Spain's Mediterranean coast, where a 54-year old man was found dead from the cold in a makeshift shack over the weekend.
In Italy's Alpine north, temperatures were down to minus 22 F, although tempered by bright sunshine
On the northeast coast, the lagoon on which the historic city of Venice ii built froze over and the Adriatic resorts of Rimini and Ancona saw snow for the first time in years
Snow and ice also paralyzed much of central and southern Italy, with people using skis to get around the Umbrian capital of Perugia and the normally mild southerly regions of Calabria and Puglia also snowbound
Roads, including the main motorway north from Rome, were blocked by snow and flight* from the capital's Fiumicino airport were delayed by freezing ram arid snow Some 40 flights had to be canceled Monday morning from Frankfurt airport in Germany, one of Europe's busiest, because of snow on the runway*.
Ice also brought shipping to a halt on the Elbe River in eastern Germany, on the Main Danube canal and on the Danube itself up to Germany’* border with Austria,
Hungary saw temperatures equal 76*ycar old record lows of minus 20F, compared to the normal midwinter average of minus 26F,
Five people - homeless or drunk were reported dead from the cold Ferry sailings on the Danube were suspended and meteorological officials said shipping on the river could be halted altogether by ice
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