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THE AGE OF SPORT 1954-2004 A.D.
Gerald Holland
August 20, 1956
The following thesis, "The Age of Sport, 1954-2004 A.D.," is hereby submitted as evidence of research completed for the degree Master of Sporting Sciences (M.S.S.).
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August 20, 1956

The Age Of Sport 1954-2004 A.d.

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Mr. Wind said he was surprised at nothing that has happened in golf during his lifetime. As evidence he produced the following interoffice memorandum, which he has authorized this candidate to quote. The memorandum, written July 13, 1956, states in part:

"In the next 50 years, I do not think it would be excessive to say, at least 5 million more golfers will be at large. The greatest barrier at the moment to their increase is the lack of sufficient courses for them to play on. And the spread of the game will depend to a large degree on how many courses can be built and how soon they will be built. In this connection, what with the way cities keep on overrunning the suburbs [Candidate's note: actually, it was the other way around], many observers believe that the courses of the future will have to be built at considerable distances from the centers of population. Getting to and from them will not be too difficult. It is not unlikely that there will be air buses [Candidate's note: how true!] leaving on weekends for public courses high in the mountains. Many of these will be located in state and national parks. The rich man will have the time of his life, zooming down to the Caribbean or over to Africa for a round of golf. These exotic courses certainly will be good ones. Improved grass strains will make courses in the tropic latitudes infinitely better than they are today."

Mr. Wind predicted in the same memorandum that the average golfer would be three or four strokes better within 50 years, but he insisted that four rounds of 66 would be enough to win the National Open. He also foresaw, correctly, that more and more young women would turn to the game and that eventually, as in our day, taking golf lessons would be as natural as taking piano lessons was in Mr. Wind's early manhood.

As is well known, Mr. Wind has fought vigorously against all attempts to make the golf ball livelier and the golf club more of a gimmick than an implement of sport. Mr. Wind believed firmly that golf was a mature game in the 1950s and should not be tampered with. However, he was the first to applaud such innovations as spectator trains running along the sides of fairways. Summing up his feelings about changes in the rules and equipment, Mr. Wind declared: "It is very important that a golfer in the year 2000 be able to recognize that he is playing the same game that Francis Ouimet played in 1913, that Bobby Jones played in 1930, that Ben Hogan played in 1953."

BOXING: "The day will come," said Martin Kane, an associate editor of SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, in a television interview conducted by Jinx Falkenburg McCrary on Dec. 8, 1957, "when the $50 million gate in boxing will be taken for granted. In other words, it will be proved that Jack Kearns [Candidate's note: Jack Kearns was an early boxing manager in part responsible for the first $1 million gate] was born 50 years too soon. The $50 million gate, of course, will result from the spread of closed-circuit theater television, now popularly known as TNT. Indeed, the day may soon arrive when a heavyweight championship fight may be contested in a large hotel room, as predicted by one boxing promoter years ago.

"I see many other drastic changes in the present setup of boxing. An electronic system of scoring will be devised, one that will record the frequency and effectiveness of blows landed and also determine the effective aggressor in the contest. The referee will not be permitted to participate in the judging. Consequently, there will be three judges, and they will be left free by the electronic scoring device to judge such subtleties as defensive ability and ring generalship.

"There will be a better enforcement of rules. As televised boxing becomes more and more a living-room sport, viewers and sponsors will insist on clean fights."

Mr. Kane also correctly predicted that amateur boxing contests would replace the old "club fights" and that the big business aspects of the game would force promoters to plow back revenue in order to insure a supply of talent. "Something," asked Jinx McCrary, "like the baseball farm system?" "Exactly," replied Mr. Kane. "And before closing, Jinx, let me make one final prediction: I believe I can safely and positively say that 50 years from now Stillman's Gym will have received a new coat of paint."[4]

HORSE RACING: At a Parent-Teachers Association picnic held at Old Westbury, Long Island in September 1956, several comic monologues were delivered by a number of parents for the entertainment of the children. One of these, recited by Mr. Whitney Tower, then racing editor of SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, was so astonishingly close to the truth that the candidate has asked and received Mr. Tower's permission to quote it in full:

"Well, here we are in the year 2000, and a look back over the years shows at a pretty quick glance just what progress has been made. Remember, children, how in 1956 there was all that clamor for improved conditions and facilities at the major tracks? The expression 'dream track' was overworked. Today every track is a dream track by 1956 standards. Soft cushioned seats to accommodate 100,000 are the rule at major tracks rather than the exception. Our solid Thermopane glass walls fronting on the track assure clear visibility and, of course, our weather is controlled completely within this glass casing, so that not many of us can remember how our forefathers in 1956 occasionally returned from the races not only broke but also soaking wet. If we want to stand outside, of course we can because over our heads throughout the entire park is another sheet of protective glass. Remember the term 'mudder'? It's almost out of use now, naturally, because when our track surfaces become rain-soaked all that track management has to do is to summon the 'drying truck.'

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