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There is no reason at all why a fellow couldn't follow the precepts of the old English carol and give his true love a partridge in a pear tree on the first day of Christmas, 1955—as long, that is, as both are bird watchers and contemplate no loosing-off of shotguns. A good many romantics, given a little luck, will probably do so—although the more prudent may well wait a day or so and look for something less meticulously positioned: two turtle doves or four calling birds would be a lot easier to find. The bird watchers will not be alone: the Christmas holidays are not only a period of religious observance, family celebration and a prodigious exchanging of gifts in the U.S.; they are increasingly a time for the outdoors, for midwinter sports festivals and for the enjoyment of snow and sun.
Holiday sport is taken almost for granted—and it wouldn't be half as much fun if it were not—but as the year of peace and plenty, 1955, draws to its close, SPORTS ILLUSTRATED cannot help but note some of the jollity and excitement which awaits us all between now and Twelfth Night. Big city rinks are already crowded with brightly costumed skaters (pages 11-13), but this year outdoor ponds are frozen across the whole tier of northern states too, and with luck will stay that way for crisp days and night after starlit, woods-bordered, fire-splashed night. There is snow in the high country from Mount Rainier to Stowe; there are scores of new ski lifts and thousands of new skiers, and scenes reminiscent of Cortina in the Italian Alps (pages 50-55), where the winter Olympics are to be held, will be duplicated in hundreds of mountain valleys in the U.S.
Millions will be able to enjoy a hot holiday sun; there will be sailing (pages 36-38), swimming, skin-diving, and motorboating in Florida, the Gulf Coast and California and fishing all the way from Chesapeake Bay round the continent to Puget Sound. To a lot of people holiday sport will be even more casual; a friendly round of golf, a chance to drive a convertible with the top down—or a sedan with the heater going—along country roads, or simply to walk through trees on a quiet afternoon. And the holidays mean bowl games and all their pageantry; card stunts, parades, prancing cowgirls, cheerleaders and band formations. The Los Angeles Rams and the Cleveland Browns will play for the professional title on Dec. 26; the big college bowl games (pages 16-29) will overlap each other on millions of radio and television sets, January 2; before it turns to the exigencies of the new year, the whole country may feast to satiety on big-time football. Merry Christmas!
SWINK OF TCU
NO. 23 put his right foot down on the concrete floor and then, gingerly, tested it with his full weight. He winced, and most of the rest of the room winced with him.
"It's okay," said Trainer Elmer Brown in the hearty manner of a man seeking to reassure himself as well as others. "It's okay. A little heat and a little rest and he won't even miss a practice."
The burr-headed kid on the table regarded him solemnly, and the other burr-headed kids around the room regarded both solemnly.
"Well," said James Edward Swink finally, "that's good."
He slid off the table and walked, favoring his right ankle just a little, to his locker. A murmur, almost a sigh, ran through the dressing room.