These are the times that try men's souls. The summer sailor and the sunshine golfer will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of his favorite sport, but he that stands it now...."
No sports-minded Thomas Paine was on hand to cry this Common Sense of the changing seasons last week as the U.S., still limp from a summer-long heat wave, moved onward into the first chill winds of autumn, but from all over the U.S., SPORTS ILLUSTRATED'S correspondents stood ready with reports of the seasonal change of heart on the sporting scene.
"There has been a defiant southwester blowing here for the last couple of days," wired Dean Brelis from Boston. "It blew away the last elements of summer from the local scene and gave the sailing places a tired look. Natives left behind by the departing summer people in places like North Haven, Maine and Orleans, Mass. were feeling in a better humor. Their favorite bars were open to them again and a man could walk down Main Street without living out a lifetime of wondering if he could ever make the five blocks from Dawson's Country Grocery to Mabel Glugeth's Package Store. Bungalows so much lived in over the past three months now look seaward with a bleak, gone-away look, and canvas now covers boats hauled up in yards. From Searsport to Point Judith, professional fishermen are enjoying a privacy that makes the stiffening wind something to relish. But if natives along the coast are just now finding the annual privacy that comes with the end of summer, the reverse is happening in Vermont and New Hampshire, where the first light snow has already settled on mountain tops, where the tourist invasion is yet to begin. 'It's going to be a great skiing winter,' the natives are telling each other."
"High in the Rocky Mountains, along the jagged backbone of the continent," runs the report from Barron Beshoar in Denver, "the first heavy frosts of autumn are turning the jittery aspen groves into splashes of glittering gold, and the first fat, wet snowflakes are beginning to fall on the high passes, making rich promises to the skiing hordes of the coming winter.
"The elk are still high on the treeless ridges and big black-nosed timber bucks stalk boldly across their alpine meadows, but the does, mindful of the season, are beginning to lead their fawns to winter feeding grounds in the sheltered valleys.
"The tumbling trout streams are still open to fishermen but the vast majority are putting away their tackle until spring. Lures are being sorted and boxed; creels are being washed out and their straps are getting coats of neat's-foot oil before going, with the newly varnished rods, into storage for the winter. But as one season replaces another, so one sport follows another in the Rocky Mountain playgrounds, and hunters are already busily cleaning and oiling their guns in anticipation of the shooting seasons to come."
"Every weekend now," reports Lenny Anderson from the northwest corner of the nation, "more boats are laid up for the winter. Among the horde of Puget Sound boatmen, the urge for cruising has subsided and the time for caulking and painting and planning next season's voyages is at hand, but not all the sailors are ready to quit. Seattle's Corinthian Yacht Club has a full off-season schedule of frostbite races still to sail and the dauntless Outboard Cruising Club is making ready for its annual foul-weather cruise up the Snohomish River on September 27.
"A stubborn core of diehards still refuse to relinquish their water skis though most of the skiers are quitting the lakes to await the coming of snow in the nearby mountains. Ski tows at Mount Baker, Mount Rainier and Snoqualmie Pass will not start operating until Thanksgiving, but a small advance guard will head for the hills with the first snow, tow or no."
"In Florida," reports Edwin Pope from Miami, "the change of season means only that the game limit on tourists' pocketbooks is lifted. You can get a good sunburn golfing in Florida all the year round but it costs just double in winter."