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I send this letter along to you because I think you are barking up the right tree.
Pictorially you may be correct, but in sports coverage you are way off base. The story, interesting if it were accurate, should actually state the fact that it is a revised version of soccer, played indoors, using hands instead of feet.
In those years, about every town of any size at all had a local foot racer, a hundred yards being the regular distance run. Every summer matches were made with the champions of the nearby towns and quite a lot of money would usually change hands.
The touring professional would drop into a town (he usually had a trade that would enable him to get a job) and, before long, by some means work up a match with the local boy, beat him and then proceed to a match with the best man at one of the neighboring towns. Those fellows, or most of them, could really run, kept themselves in top shape but did not always win. They had a lot of ways of getting beat and nearly always were on the end where the money was.
I enjoyed most of the story, but I have to disagree with a lot of it. For a person "one step higher than a pickpocket" my father supported a wife and six children pretty damn well. I don't know what your ideas of a hustler are, but he's a damn good man. I feel that I have a right to be proud of him.