Our national sports are baseball, basketball and football. Baseball is fine but it is not the ideal conditioning sport. Football is fine but it is not for the very young. Basketball is fine but it has become a sport of the very tall.
It is unlikely Americans ever will take up physical jerks. There is something about exercise en masse that runs against our individualistic national grain. Soccer must compete with our brand of football, too fine a spectator sport to give way to its predecessor.
The problem is not with spectator sports, of which we have a plethora of the finest, or with those who are athlete enough to play them. It is with the idea that athletes are specially gifted persons able to make teams and that all the rest of us must be content to be their flabby admirers, exercising only our lungs.
Jimmy Jemail's interviews with a cross section of well-known people (page 32) are an indication that a lot of informed Americans are concerned about the subject. The recommendations of these qualified witnesses differ—indeed, perhaps the two things they have in common are that they used to be children themselves and that they would like to see effective action.
SI is also concerned and for that reason has devoted a good deal of space to it in this issue. SI expects to return to the subject. It hopes that the press and other leaders of community action will keep on it too.
THE NEW HURRICANE
The fight between Tommy (Hurricane) Jackson and Ezzard Charles was supposed to put an end to the Hurricane's bid for serious recognition as a heavyweight contender. Instead, as a nationwide television audience learned, it didn't put an end to Jackson's bid, outlandish as it might have seemed at times. The Hurricane won a unanimous decision. The decision was a surprise to most boxing fans, but it wasn't to Whitey Bimstein who, along with Freddie Brown, trains Jackson. The reason: The New Hurricane.
"He's behavin' himself, that's what," says Whitey. "Me and Freddie took him down to Ehsan's for trainin'. We kept him outta the city. He was on the road every mornin'.
"The other guy thought he had a pushover—that Jackson couldn't think. But between Freddie and myself, we got him to thinkin'. Jackson did a lotta jabbin' and slippin'. Charles thought Jackson was goin' in. After the first round, Jackson's stickin' him, feintin' him and throwin' Charles off balance. The last two rounds we let him loose with two hands, and he throws that uppercut. Jackson could have gone 40. Jackson, he don't worry about nobody.
"Tommy's learnin' a lot. He's gettin' ring wise. When he was down in camp, he was flyin' a couple of kites. One day he took a walk with his sparrin' partner, and he comes back with the kite. Every day a new kite. When the kite wouldn't go up fast enough, he'd tear the kite apart. If he behaves himself he'll go a long way."