Skiing was one of the few sports Jack Kennedy ever abandoned, and only because another injury to his back might have left him permanently and seriously disabled. But the range of his athletic participation was so broad that a SPORTS ILLUSTRATED photographer, assigned to follow the President for a few days on Cape Cod, wired to New York that the next such assignment should go not to a mere reporter but to "a summer camp phys ed instructor." The President, during those few days, had taken part in skin diving, golf, croquet, swimming, sailing, Softball, deep sea fishing, speedboating and a popular Kennedy family sport known as "towing in the water," in which lines were trailed from the family sloop and all aboard took turns being towed, sometimes losing their grip and flailing along behind while the rest of the Kennedys dissolved into taunting laughter.
Now he is gone. Sonny Liston cried. The English Football League went into mourning. Dozens of athletic events were canceled out of respect for the President, and dozens were played on the equally reasonable grounds that the President would have wanted it that way. On the morning after the assassination, Representative Carl Albert of Oklahoma put his finger on the reason for the state of shocked stupor all over the nation. "I think," he said, "we feel so sad because President Kennedy was like an extra member of every American family." Indeed he was, and SPORTS ILLUSTRATED is proud that he was very much a member of our family. Others will tell of his roles in international and domestic policies, of his victories and his disappointments. We prefer to remember him at the helm of Victura or studying the mysterious ways of a four-wood or rapping out a ground-rules double on the tiny softball field adjoining his home in Hyannisport. His bad back gave him a clear mandate to relax and take it easy, to spectate for the rest of his life. Instead he played in his pain and showed the Soft American the way of a man with guts.