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I suggest that members of the President's committee call in or contact the individuals who are spending the many hours on the fields. It would amaze the committee to hear their side of the story.
RED ROVER FOR THE FUN OF IT
They recommend elaborate "programs," compulsory athletics, more Little Leagues, tax-supported organizations, coaching by famous athletes, more money, even a cabinet post. All but a few ignore the fact that elaborate organization makes for competition by the selected few. Professional coaches need winning teams and the coach turns to the natural athletes. Those who lack aptitude become spectators. There is no objection to this if what we want is champions and championship teams but it has exactly the wrong effect on the physically average or subaverage boy or girl.
The old-fashioned games such as red rover, prisoner's base, cops and robbers, duck-on-the-rock were never written up, never supervised, and never part of a "program," but any and all children of varying ages and varying skills took part. No one practiced these games; they just played them. There were no world champions; no outstanding Olympic figures; no published records. The primary feature was fun and plenty of it.
Maybe we now overdo the idea of paid coaches, even in formal athletics. Who coached Bannister? Landy? Zatopek? Bannister, at least, has said that he ran for the love of it.
A MOTHER'S CHALLENGE
Miss Prudden, I suggest you follow an American child through the course of a day; try giving him breakfast while his boyfriends wait outside dressed in their cowboy, Indian or space suits hoping to discover a buried treasure in the prairie they have been digging up for two months. Lecture him on why he should come straight home from school instead of roughing it up with the boys in his good clothes. And, last but not least, in answer to your remark "a broken arm is not a catastrophe," you take the place of the mother whose child is critically injured because she believed in complete freedom from parental supervision.
Regardless of the times or the toys or the big words you use for the situation, kids today are the Chopins, Babe Ruths, Einsteins and Rembrandts of the future and, Pruddy, if you find me a combination child of these four you will get a medal for your muscles.
PLAYING THE PERCENTAGES
1) "Sunny Jim" is America's top trainer of all time.