THE IMPORTANCE OF PLAY
In this day and age of sport, when so many people are concerned with the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat, it was refreshing to read that "...play is as worthy an experience as love or beauty" (Imagine Going to School to Learn to Play, Oct. 13). Bil Gilbert's article paid tribute to a unique individual. We need more Bill Harpers—and more articles like this one to let other people know about them.
Bill Harper should be commended for his innovative techniques. Play is an important part of American life and should be valued more highly.
In Bil Gilbert's extraordinarily interesting essay he writes that Bill Harper had difficulty defining play. I suggest "Activity for pleasure."
New York City
Sports departments at two of the three daily newspapers in Philadelphia are open at 3 a.m. on weekdays (SCORECARD, Oct. 13) or else I've been working in my sleep for the last 3� years as assistant sports editor of the Daily News. What often prevents callers from getting through during those hours is their unawareness of the Centrex direct-dialing number. Sometimes it's tougher to get those phone numbers than it is to answer a question to settle a bet.
Concerning your statement about Hawaii being a latecomer to organized sport in the U.S. it may be of interest to note that athletics occupied a prominent role in the ancient Hawaiian culture. Once sailing ships began crisscrossing the Pacific, Hawaiians eagerly adopted the newest game from the latest passenger. Consequently, Western sports caught on in Hawaii almost as soon as they were introduced on the Mainland.
Alexander Joy Cartwright, one of baseball's originators and later a Honolulu businessman and fire chief, introduced baseball to Hawaii soon after his arrival on Aug. 28, 1849. There was a regularly organized baseball league in the Hawaiian kingdom before the sport had been introduced to half of the continental U.S. Mark Twain later commented on the attraction baseball held in the Islands.
Honolulu high schools competed in football in 1880 and in basketball in 1898 (seven years after James Naismith invented the game). There are accounts of tennis tournaments and interscholastic track meets as early as 1882. Polo began in the Islands in 1886, shortly after its introduction on the Mainland. Swimming has been a way of life in the Islands from earliest antiquity, and Hawaii received world recognition from Duke Kahanamoku's aquatic feats in the 1912, 1920 and 1924 Olympics.
University of Hawaii at Manoa