The sport of polo has often been associated with the opulent lifestyles of some of the devotees who participate in it.

However, Charlie Flanders, a polo player who has a five-goal rating, is eager to negate the misconception that all who play the game live in stately mansions and drive Rolls Royces.

"Most people think polo is just a rich man's sport. We have guys from all walks of life -- people that have a lot of money down to a guy that owns a small maintenance company," said Flanders, manager of the Houston Polo Club. "So I think anybody can come to watch polo and enjoy it -- it's not just a rich man's sport."

It is indeed such a fast-paced sport, combining the rugged athleticism of thoroughbreds with the mental prowess and strokes of human beings. During each seven and a half minute chukker (similar to the quarters of basketball and football), the horses pace and charge toward each goal while the rider, wielding a mallet, attempts to score goals or work diligently to defend against the opposing team.

On Sunday, during the second round elimination match of the Governor's Cup Tournament, Team Mucky Duck proved too formidable an opponent for Team San Antonio. The well-attended match ended in a merciless 9-0 rout of Team San Antonio, which had actor Tommy Lee Jones (who appeared in such films as JFK and Lonesome Dove) as its leader.

As the sweltering heat retreated to give cool breezes reign over the club's playing field -- situated on the outskirts of Memorial Park at 8552 Memorial Dr. -- Flanders must have hoped the losing team would score at least one goal.

Once they realized the winning team wore red shirts, even some children knew the score was lop-sided. "Go red, go red, go Mr. Red!," cheered one young spectator.

The man he might have been referring to is H. Ben Taub, who, at a four-goal rating, realized "I'm the second best player here in town." Taub is a businessman who owns a coffee service company and manages to stay in the upper echelon of a sport that he has played since the late 1970s.

"I had a friend in high school who came to a ranch and learned to ride -- his father brought him into polo.

So, one day, we had lunch, and he said, 'Come out, I'll give you a horse, out you on an English saddle, and give you a ball so that you can hit it around," Taub said.

Since that time, Taub has honed his riding and polo skills. When the sixth chukker concluded, Taub had scored three goals along with the three goals scored by teammate John Keffer and the two scored by David Cummings.

Taub is also proud of his family's association with UH. "Before my time, my father's (Henry J. N. Taub) first ranch was what is now the UH campus -- that was owned by Mr. Ben Taub, whom the hospital is named for. They (the founders) wanted to make it a major university, so he convinced Mr. Settegast, who had the property next door, to donate both properties for the proposed campus of the University of Houston," Taub said. "Then, Mr. Cullen contributed the money to build the buildings."

At the opposite end of the spectrum from Taub is Candace Smith, a player who has an "A" or amateur rating. Smith, who also hit several strong backshots, began playing the game five years ago.

Smith, the only female in a field of eight players, owns five horses: Dayton, Contessa, Claire, Stormy and Cinco. As a member of the losing team San Antonio, Smith, 39, knew the cause of the team's demise. "We didn't know each other well enough, and we were bunching up," said Smith, who rated her play a six on a scale of one to 10. "We played hard -- I don't know what happened. We just couldn't play a goal."

One aspect of the Houston Polo Club that Smith and the 37 other members must probably appreciate is its old-fashioned atmosphere. The spectator stands, consisting of black, painted wood dividers and chairs, seem to transport the casually-dressed on-lookers to a time of long- gone simplicity.

Instead of an electronic scoreboard, there is a green, wooden scoreboard that indicates which chukker is being played and how many goals have been scored. The grassy field is framed by a stretch of red, wooden sideboards. On the other side of the field, the only hint that the game is being played in modern times is a white and yellow ambulance.

A polo game can make for an exciting Wednesday or Sunday







A recent rash of sexual assaults on campus has many women concerned about their place at UH.

However, some feel these assaults are the physical manifestation of an even greater problem that has reached a campus-wide level -- sexual harassment.

According to a study done by the Association of American Colleges in 1986, 20-30 percent of all undergraduate females report some form of sexual harassment, ranging from innuendo to threats.

Two UH students and two professors agreed to discuss their experiences with harassment. Three of them declined to use their real names for fear of repercussions.

"Teresa" is an untenured UH professor who was harassed by a colleague.

"There was a particular incident where there was no question that it was inappropriate, and I felt harassed by it," she said.

Although Teresa did not file a formal complaint, she did ask the harasser to stop his questionable behavior. She did not expect what came next.

"What I've experienced that is especially disturbing is retaliation. It's ongoing retaliation -- periodically, another thing will happen," she said. "Not only is it personally very difficult to deal with, but oftentimes, it impedes my work productivity."

"Rhonda", a UH student with a job on campus, has dealt with several different incidents of sexual harassment in the workplace. These ranged from comments on her breasts to propositions of a sexual nature.

She admits that at first, she was uncertain of how to handle the comments.

"I often found myself smiling in an abuser's face because I was confused," she said.

Eventually, however, Rhonda registered an informal complaint but was dissatisfied with the results.

"Although a slight action was taken, it was like `boys will be boys,' " she said. "I really resented that because these harassers would never say the things they said to me, my co-workers and my colleagues if their wives, their girlfriends or their lovers were present.

"They might be boys, but they sure as hell know when to keep their mouths shut and their hands in their pockets."

Like Rhonda, "Amanda" is also a UH student and employee. She experienced an isolated, albeit disturbing, incident.

After the incident, Amanda hesitated before reporting it to campus authorities.

"I didn't want to ruffle any feathers," she said. "By not reporting it, I thought I could make it go away, but it kept bothering me."

Amanda eventually did report the incident by registering an informal complaint. She found herself frustrated by the experience.

"Your letter just goes in a file," she said. "In other words, nothing really happens."

Most upsetting to Amanda is the fact that her harasser may not have limited his advances to her.

"I really feel I'm not the only one. It went on a lot," she said.

Cynthia Freeland, director of the UH Women's Studies Program, is in a position of relative power, yet she, too, experienced sexual harassment.

In 1988, Freeland was faced with a graduate student whose advances culminated in a written proposal of marriage.

Freeland took her complaints to the then-dean of her department, now-UH President James Pickering. Although the matter was handled to her satisfaction, Freeland realizes that others may not be as fortunate.

"It's important to remember that I had evidence in writing, I was a tenured faculty member and the student was a repeat offender," she said. "If you take out any one of those elements, the scenario changes drastically."

This fact is made clear by the dearth of formal complaints filed with the university.

Dorothy Caram, interim assistant to the president for Affirmative Action, handles the formal sexual harassment complaints that are filed.

In her year and a half in the position, she has seen one complaint follow through to a hearing.

"Most sexual harassment complaints have been informal because the plaintiffs have not been willing to sign off on it," she said.

Teresa believes fear is the major factor stopping most people from filing formal complaints.

"Knowing the horror stories that I have heard from women when they let out a peep about harassment, regardless of who's alerted and how, the repercussions for doing so are terrible on this campus right now," she said.

Rhonda concurs, adding, "The methods of filing a complaint are so diffuse that it's a real problem."

In a letter to the UH community last week, President James Pickering took a hard stance on sexual harassment. Yet most of the women interviewed feel it was, for the most part, empty posturing.

"He made it seem like sexual harassment doesn't occur on campus because there are no formal complaints," Amanda said.

Teresa agrees, adding, "Nobody wants harassment, in terms of administrators and their willingness to say so loudly and clearly and publicly about zero-tolerance for it. Where the system breaks down is what happens when somebody comes forward and says `I've been harassed,' " she said.

Although she is still hurt by her experience, Amanda is more concerned about others in her situation.

"It makes me mad to think there are other girls out there going through the same thing, and there's nothing they can do about it," she said.






The U.S. Olympic Council has included Cougar Head Swim Coach Phill Hansel on its list of managers for the upcoming games in Barcelona, Spain.

Hansel, along with 10 other coaches throughout the country, will be watching over 40 of America's best swimmers, including world-record holders and past Olympians Matt Biondi, Matt Jager and Janet Evans. Together, the team holds over 10 world records between them.

"My job will be to watch over the flock, including swimmers, coaches and medical staff and to administer positive attitudes to the kids," Hansel said.

Although Hansel has witnessed every Summer Olympics since 1960, he had yet to coach until Singapore asked him to in 1984 and 1988. Then, for his hard work and exemplary coaching tactics, Hansel got the call from the U.S.A.

"Being on the American Olympic team in any capacity, whether it be as a swimmer, coach or manager, is a great honor and thrill," Hansel said. "The title of being a U.S. Olympian will hang around my neck forever."

Starting his coaching duties at UH in 1956, Hansel has seen both good and bad times.

Since the university began its swim program in 1956, Hansel has been the only swim coach at UH.

"I have been there for all the ups and downs," he said.

Throughout his career, Hansel's coaching has catapulted many athletes to SWC, NCAA and international fame. Most recently, Michelle Smith, who will be participating for Ireland in the upcoming games, has been learning under Hansel for the last three years and will be returning for her last year in 1993.

Hansel will begin his 42nd coaching year next season and has seen some significant changes in the sport.

"I think the most significant change has been the number of years a person swims. Women use to never swim past high school, and men usually stopped during college. Nowadays, with significant national funding assistance programs, athletes can swim longer without financial concern," Hansel said.

An athlete who fits that mold is renowned swimmer Biondi, who, at 27, is still going strong and is a favorite for four medals in Spain.

Besides being highly recognized on the international scene, few students know of Hansel's accomplishments that include over 30 All-American swimmers from the Cougar depths.

Recently, Hansel's swimmers have not done extremely well in competition, but the future is looking good.

"We have added a variety of new swimmers to the program that could be potential NCAA champions," Hansel said.

Sharlene Brown, out of Ireland, and Vanessa Hein from Phoenix, Az., have been recruited for their breaststroke talents, and Maria Rivera from Venezuela and Alexander Haynes from South Africa have been added for their freestyle abilities.






Past UH track athletes, including Carl Lewis and Leroy Burrell, along with present UH collegiate runners Sam Jefferson and Michelle Collins, are getting set in the blocks for the upcoming 1992 Olympic trials in New Orleans, La., to be held from June 19-28.

Lewis, who will be going for the gold at the unprecedented age of 31, will compete for a spot on the Olympic team in his favorite event, the 100-meter dash, along with the 200m dash, 4

100m dash and possibly the long-jump.

"All I know so far is that I will not compete in all four events," Lewis said.

Making his first embarkment into Olympic history is Burrell, who is believed to be a key factor in the 100 meters and a solid participant on the 4 100m relay team.

"Carl and I have been one and two in the 100 for the last couple of years, and I feel confident of my chances of making the team and getting a medal," Burrell said.

Current NCAA indoor and outdoor All-American in the 200m event, UH's own Michelle Collins, will be competing in her specialty at the trials.

Collins' teammate, Sam Jefferson, will take his chances in the 100m event after qualifying for the upcoming trials with a 10.26-second timing.






Camp Cougar, a camp designed for mentally retarded children and adults, is a success both with its campers and its counselors.

"We love these children," said Manda Johnson, the nurse at the camp. "They don't get stared at here. They have a great time."

The camp, in its 19th year, is housed in the residence halls on campus. Campers from age eight and up come to the camp to swim, take part in talent shows and enjoy a break from routine.

"For some kids, it's the only time they get away from their parents. It's really a big deal to them," said Christine Sargus, a programmer at the camp. "These kids are just like other kids -- they get in trouble, have fun and know right from wrong. You just want to be sure you always know where they are and what they're doing."

The counselors are all volunteers, and most of them are high school students. Two high schools, Strake Jesuit and Saint Agnes, send students to the camp as counselors to fulfill the school's volunteer requirements.

The programmers at the camp, mainly UH summer school students, receive free housing for the summer session.

"It takes a lot out of you," said Francisco Aguirre, a counselor from Strake High School. "But once you start getting used to it, you have a good time. The kids are more independent than I thought they'd be."

"I don't know why I do it. Probably 'cause I'm crazy," said the camp's director, Gwynn Lewis. "Sometimes it's hard to tell us from the campers." Lewis has been with the camp 14 of its 19 years and added, "This is their vacation. They're away from their parents; they can make new friends, and they can have some fun."

"The campers can feel at home here," Johnson said. "After a long day, sometimes the parents of these kids don't have time for recreation. This is the parents' time off, and the kids' time to play."

The campers themselves couldn't agree more. "I like the petting zoo, and the talent show, and the hiking," said Jeff, 20. "I'm going to be a wrestler in the talent show."

"I like the bowling," said 20-year-old Chris. "I also like movie night." Both Chris and Jeff have been to Camp Cougar for the last few summers and look forward to returning each year.

"These kids have no prejudice," said BB Williams, an assistant director. "This is my fifth summer here, and I still think the kids are great. When you're here, nothing really matters except those kids."

The camp is run by the Mental Health and Mental Retardation Association of Harris County and is underwritten by UH's Residential Life and Housing office.






Wow! Bang! Zap! Pow! "To the Batmobile." Batman and Michael Keaton return to the big screen this Friday in the all-new, action-packed epic adventure that pits the Dark Knight of Gotham City against an array of fascinating villains.

Batman Returns is not a sequel to Batman. The sets are new, the storyline is new and, except for Keaton, the cast is all new.

Danny DeVito, that master of diabolical humor, joins the cast as the evil Penguin, and Michelle Pfeiffer plays the sultry Catwoman.

From the start of the picture, everyone is asking, "Who is the Penguin?" Well, he's a reclusive and strangely deformed creature with a brilliant mind honed on rage and an insatiable need for revenge.

Yet Batman has an even greater challenge to face: The Mistress of Nine Lives -- Catwoman, a stunning combatant who confronts Batman with fierce energy and scathing wit.

As Catwoman's slashing, slithering whip flings him to the floor, the Caped Crusader wonders where he has seen this amazing woman before.

Director Tim Burton (director of the '89 Batman) once again mines the rich legend of Batman to present a funhouse ride through the imagination, a dizzying glimpse into a dark, urban future.

The screenplay by Daniel Waters is based on Batman characters created by Bob Kane and published by DC Comics. After the comics, the Caped Crusader made his first multi-media assaults in the mid-'60s with a corny television program and an even less-plausible film. The old Batman cannot touch the new film series with its advanced special effects. From the hundreds of live penguins, to the submergeable Batmissile, this expensive picture should be mesmerizing.

The film is worth every cent of the nearly $150 million it cost to make.






In the past, those who tested positive for AIDS were often shun-

ned, provoked by other employees at their jobs, or even fired.

The virus has now spread globally, leading some employers to join with doctors to educate themselves and their workers about its personal effects and its impact on our economic system.

"No corporation should be without a policy for HIV; a corporation sould provide confidentiality and accessibility to resources for its employees (who test HIV positive)," said Dr. Adan Rios, AIDS specialist and researcher at Twelve Oaks Hospital, located at 4200 Portsmouth.

Rios spoke Tuesday at Twelve Oaks to a group of 30 women and men from various corporations in Houston about the effects of AIDS on their jobs. He also spoke about measures for them to take to deal with the disease instead of repeating the past mistakes of other companies.

Several misconceptions held by the general population, and with employers particularly, have led to discrimination for those workers who are acknowledged as carrying the AIDS virus, Rios said.

HIV can only be transmitted through sexual contact, exposure to infected blood and, in some cases, an infected mother transmitting the virus to her child through her milk or through the birth canal, Rios said. One cannot become infected through casual contact since the virus will die when exposed to air.

Those who work with people with HIV in a working environment should not fear getting the virus unless they are engaging in the activities mentioned above, he said.

Another misconception about those who carry the virus is that they are either homosexual men or intravenous drug users, he said.

"The transmission ratio worldwide is three to one; that is, there are three heterosexuals to every one homosexual who carries the virus," he said.

The average range in ages of AIDS patients stretches from 15 to 40, which will have a tremendous effect on the future work force, Rios said.

In some African countries, 10 percent of the children and 25 percent of the general population have been tested HIV positive, which will eventually lead to the crumbling of those countries' economic structures, he said.

"The world today is totally interrelated, so, in a sense, we are viewed by other countries as being an epicenter for the epidemic because frequency of transmission occurs in ports like Houston, New York and San Francisco," he said. Houston is the third largest port in the United States.

It is crucial to have substance-abuse programs in the workplace and educate workers about responsible sexual behavior, he said. It is better to have HIV education in the workplace than have the crisis of dealing with someone who has AIDS, he said.

Minorities such as African-Americans and Hispanics are disproportionately affected by the disease. Those businesses where minorities make up a large segment of the workforce have to educate their employees about HIV's effects, or they both will be devastated, he said.

Early detection of HIV is needed to stabilize the person's T-cell count so he will not develop an AIDS-related disease like pneumonia. If the virus is detected in its initial stages, the person can immediately take medication to level his T-cell count (and, subsequently, his immune system). If the person works for a corporation, his employers will spend less keeping him healthy than treating him when he is already ill, Rios said.

The price of medication to treat HIV has gone down considerably in the last five years; the three types of medicine -- AZT, ddi, and ddc -- can be used alone or in combination with each other. Dosages are significantly lower for the patient if the disease is treated at its onset, he said.

Another important strategy in dealing with the disease is for the government to spend more money for AIDS research, and not only on preventive education, he said.

"We're dealing with a powerful instinct that can't always be deferred by education. Better treatments need to be developed, and the pharmaceutical industry needs to get more involved in AIDS research," he said.

Employers should communicate openly with their workers as well as their workers' physicians about the treatment they are receiving, Rios said.

"It is important that the worker knows that he is still a productive member of society and not merely an AIDS victim," Rios said. "The public sector should not supply a plush rug, but those treatments necessary for them to carry on as normally as possible."


Visit The Daily Cougar