The advice was given to underscore that this was not a school night; it was for funsies. Carol, for her age, is a national-class high jumper but she is very slow. So for her to run anchor was kind of a prank, which is appropriate since it seemed the race would be a laugher. The first three may not be sprinters but they are in a sense track professionals, having given five or six years of their lives, 11 months a year, to the sport. They know how to unbend a curve, how to handle a stick. Then, too, a well-trained half-miler figures to turn in a better leg than a gym-class sprinter. The girls gave Carol a 50-yard lead with 220 to go.
"It may not be enough," said Jim worriedly. "That anchor on the red team won the 100. She's not that quick but she is a lot quicker than Carol."
Things turned serious, and the prank began to look like a disaster. Carol was not quick. Also, she was a 13-year-old with a very fragile ego.
"If that red one runs Carol down off the curve we are going to need a psychiatrist or at least a lot of tranquilizers for the ride home." I said.
The D.C. Striders saw what was happening, so everyone went down on the curve, and between us, Big Glenda and the blacks, there was enough lung power to push Carol to the finish a half stride ahead of the red anchor.
While walking out holding the big gaudy trophies, bathed in that lovely warm feeling that comes from winning a close one, whether it is in Frederick, Reykjavik or Munich, the truth was admitted. "Carol, that was a bummer putting you on the anchor. Sorry. We didn't think that red bunch was so quick. If she had caught you, you would have cut your throat."
In these matters at least, Carol, young as she is, knows a lot about herself. "I know I would have, but if I hadn't run anchor I wouldn't feel as great as I do now."
Not only do the categories of sport exist, they have increasing meaning if we are to understand anything about sport and ourselves today. High Sport is the creation of geniuses, the exceptionally talented and passionate. It is the sport of Fischer, Spitz, King. It satisfies the same needs as other arts. It provides a medium and method of expression by which the talented can comment on themselves and their world. High Sport artists also serve their audiences by stimulating them to consider the nature of man and the world.
True Sport is a Winchester All-Comers meet. It stands to High Sport as a craft does to an art. It is a dignified, honest activity, perhaps of more general social value than High Sport since it involves many more than the few who can practice High Sport. It satisfies the human need for play. Also, as any craft does, it provides an outlet of expression for those who are not high artists, for those with insufficient ability or perhaps dedication. In the same way, it gives pleasure to small audiences, people who have either participated in or studied the sport and have some critical appreciation of it.