"Why do we want to play tennis?" asked Third Secretary Ivan Rostov, who arrived at the court with blue shorts under his gray business suit and carrying his tennis shoes in a paper bag. "We just wanted to play, so we played. I myself have always preferred chess. Is it as popular here as well? I do not believe it is. But you can't stay inside all the time, so we decided to play tennis."
He stepped out on the court, exhibited an amazingly sound forehand and grinned broadly after a good smash that bounded past his opponent. Men and women in shorts and sneakers concentrated for an hour and a half on backhand and forehand drives (they have not yet learned to serve). Three little girls in pigtails patrolled the backcourt area with cardboard boxes collecting stray balls. Their parents never let up banging and lobbing balls for a moment. The instructor, Claude Kilday from Maryland's Kenwood Country Club, says he has never seen anything like their earnestness. "Nice, Bukarin!" Kilday shouted when Diplomat Alexander Bukarin displayed a stylish backhand. "I do not know if I play well or not," said Lev Ilyin. "The only time I have ever played is here. This is my third lesson. I specialized in gymnastics. Mr. Rostov specialized in chess. That is a sport, too."
Russia has not claimed the invention of tennis, but their historians insist it was played there as early as 1880. Under Stalin tennis was officially pronounced frivolous. A swift reversal was signaled when Pravda demanded that clubs stop turning courts into volleyball stadia and get busy turning out players. Now 2,000 coaches are trained each year. Judging by this Washington example, reports of assiduous tennis activity behind the Iron Curtain are not exaggerated. "For people who have never played before," said Kilday, "and remember some of these people are pretty hefty, I've never seen a harder-working bunch in my life. You talk to them and tell them to do something, and they look you right in the eye and listen. Then, by golly they go ahead and do what you told them."
Junie Buxbaum, 40, the Memphis insurance salesman who won this year's USGA Public Links Championship, has supplied the USGA, at its request, with one of the golf balls he used in his victory over Bill Scarbrough. Could he also furnish one of the clubs for a USGA display?
Excerpt from Junie's answer: "I wish I could.... However, the clubs I was using were borrowed, and I hardly think the boy would go for the idea of my breaking up his set."
LUCK OF THE DRAW
The international Boxing Club's Chicago store (Truman K. Gibson Jr., panjandrum) has made very little news lately, what with attention centered on the embarrassment of the Illinois boxing commission in the jailing of one of its judges, Ed Hintz, now doing a stretch at Joliet for conspiring to defraud the state of $637,000. But one has only to wait. This week the IBC came through, though in a halfhearted sort of way.
Issy Kline, IBC's matchmaker for the Chicago Stadium, got himself pinched in a North Clark Street gambling den raid, charged with being an inmate. This is not, perhaps, as serious a misdemeanor as some of the bouts Issy has matched, but it has its interesting aspects. Issy and friends were playing no such prosy game as poker or bridge or snipsnapsnorem. They were engaged in an exotic pastime—panguingue.
Panguingue is a multihanded variant of conquian, a Mexican card game for two players only. In the Philippine Islands the Tagalogs play a game called panguingui, and it might even be the same as the one Issy was playing. Webster's unabridged does not make this clear.