Boating Boom (Cont.)
This Time last year, when the word was of recession, the National Motor Boat Show came to New York and set dazzling records in both attendance and sales (SI, Feb. 3, 1958). Maybe this was a prophetic index and maybe it wasn't, but the recession is no longer with us. What about this year? Well, the big boat show closed last Sunday bigger than ever. The total of 1959 sales orders in boats, engines and accessories was $26,970,000—an increase of 20% over last year.
Two recent items in the news, both of them concerned with sports arenas, have set us to pondering again, for perhaps the ten thousandth time, the exact nature of those precincts in which we occasionally make bold to raise an authoritative voice.
The first of these items, winging its way eastward from Los Angeles last week, echoed like a view halloo in the offices of presidential aspirants from coast to coast by announcing that the officially chosen site for next year's Democratic National Convention was the still-unfinished 17,000-seat Los Angeles Sports Arena, the West Coast's answer to Madison Square Garden.
With the heady sense that our empire had suddenly expanded beyond our wildest dreams of power, we were inclined at first to hail this choice of venue with enthusiasm and to extend our heartiest congratulations to those politicians who made it. In view of their frank admission, it seemed to us, there could no longer be any doubt that politics, at least Democratic Party politics, would now take its rightful place in the world of major sports, and we were eager to face up to the responsibility.
Then, hard on the heels of the first news item, there came another, and we sobered instantly. This item concerned the plans of Cuba's victorious revolutionary, Fidel Castro, to hold history's most highly touted series of mass-murder trials in the huge Batista-built Sports Palace in Havana. This, we felt, was something else again—something pretty somber.
We suddenly were thankful that we did not have to pass judgment either as referee or reporter on liberated Cuba's arrangement for justice. We were finally thankful that we would not have to set up headquarters in Los Angeles and belatedly master the intricacies of a national game more complex, confusing and confounding (with the possible exception of the British wall game) than any we are now called upon to observe. Most of all we were thankful that the wonderful world of sport, as we know it, is a world not circumscribed by yearnings toward punishment or power but one bounded only by man's desire to triumph over his own shortcomings.
Happy Knoll, U.S.S.R.
A Basic Axiom of country club management—as every member of Mr. Marquand's Happy Knoll must be aware—can be stated something like this: "If any golfer complains loudly enough about the workings of the greens committee, put him on the committee."
Soviet Russia's Nikita Khrushchev is not primarily a country club type, but his hardheaded realism has led him often to emulate the methods of capitalist society: "You can't get production without incentive," the Russian dictator told Minnesota's Senator Hubert Humphrey some weeks ago and, when Humphrey replied that that seemed like a pretty capitalistic point of view, Khrushchev snapped back: "Call it what you like; it works."