When America's new national sports weekly appeared for the first time, just two years ago this week, it could not conceal its excitement at all that was going on in the world into which it was born. It proclaimed this world to be a wonderful one and its times to be a new golden age. Anyone who has followed the week to week history of sports, as it has been written and pictured in these pages, knows that these have indeed been years of superlative performance by the great professionals and the skilled amateurs of sport. But the thought we had in mind as we prepared this issue was not of them.
A lot can be learned in two years' time and, as sports historians surveying the scene from a wholly new vantage point, the editors of SPORTS ILLUSTRATED confess that they have been educated. So, speaking with new sophistication, they beg leave to amend their first proclamation; they were guilty, not of extravagance with which some may have charged them, but of understatement. They wish now to confide: the world of sports is more wonderful than they knew, the age more golden than they dreamed.
Their thought in this issue is of the vast sports public which, in this day, comprises those people who not only enjoy the great sporting spectacles but themselves take part—singly, in pairs and even as family units—in the sports that offer not medals and headlines, but a real and satisfying identification with something wholesome, happy and usually (barring a bad lie, a flat calm or some similar frustration) optimistic.
You will meet some of these participants in the color photographs beginning on page 45. They represent the great public we have in mind and their image lies behind these lines. Arrayed as they are, and shown against the background of their special and pleasant world of sport, they are not quickly identifiable as the same people who are raising the families, crowding the universities, producing the goods and services of an unprecedented prosperity. But in different attire and in different surroundings they are the very same.
August 19, 1956
And the most important fact of all about them is that they, the beneficiaries of this unprecedented prosperity as well as the producers of it, have been educating themselves—and the editors of SPORTS ILLUSTRATED—in exploring the new and wonderful horizons which opened up to us only two short years ago. It is to these active and optimistic and confident people that this second anniversary issue of America's new national sports weekly is respectfully and admiringly and affectionately dedicated. We hope we can continue to keep up with them.