SI Vault
Thomas H. Lineaweaver
September 14, 1959
The Knox brothers, Seymour and Norty, are polo, squash and tennis champions who owe much of their success to the unflagging zeal of a sportsman father
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September 14, 1959

School Of Hard Knox

The Knox brothers, Seymour and Norty, are polo, squash and tennis champions who owe much of their success to the unflagging zeal of a sportsman father

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The two young men shown on the opposite page are essentially out of character. They are seldom seen standing still, and when they do pause for the camera they usually are in the disarray that follows athletic combat (below). Both Northrup (Norty) Knox, 30, and his brother, Seymour, 33, who stands on his left, are exemplars of relentless sporting motion. This week they are riding hell-bent-for-triumph-or-disaster in the U.S. Open Championship at the Oak Brook Polo Club in Hinsdale, Ill.

Coaching them, and perhaps playing as a spare, is Papa Knox, a 5-foot 5-inch sportsman of 60, who has trained his sons from childhood to be what they are today. Watching them, and perhaps fretting a bit, are their mother and their wives. Knox wives spend a good deal of time watching Knox husbands. In polo Norty is handicapped at eight goals and Seymour at five. Together the brothers are the best court tennis doubles team in America (Norty is the best court player in the world). Seymour plays squash of championship caliber. Both play lawn tennis, golf, bottle pool and enjoy hunting and fishing. They are, in fact, charter members of the Cabo Blanco Fishing Club in Peru, where each has taken world-record fish.

The whole Knox clan seethes with energy, winter and summer. In the summer they are likely to be busy with polo at their home in Buffalo. In the winter they gather at another family manse in Aiken, S.C., where they not only play games well but are apt to play them well all day long. The house guest at Aiken is at first astonished, later staggered.

There may be variations in a Knox day (if it rains Knoxes are said to sit around sullenly) but a sunny one at Aiken goes something like this:

At 8 o'clock the mellifluous morning calm is broken by Knoxes bustling about planning, under Papa Knox's direction, the day's athletic program.

At 9 o'clock assorted Knoxes play golf.

At 11 o'clock Papa, Seymour and Norty repair to the Aiken Tennis Club where, with the Basque Master Pierre Etchebaster (on loan from the Racquet and Tennis Club in New York), they play court tennis on a court built by William C. Whitney in 1902 and refurbished by Papa Knox and friends in 1937.

At 12 o'clock noon Knoxes take their showers and they play bottle pool in the Tennis Club billiard room.

At 1 o'clock the Knoxes drive home for a trencherman's lunch on the garden porch.

From 1:30 until 3 most Knoxes and all house guests rest.

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