In July the Equitable Life Assurance Society celebrated its 100th .anniversary at Madison Square Garden with a four-day convention attended by more than 5,000 agents, officials and employees of the company, and their families. SPORTS ILLUSTRATED joined in the program by staging a physical fitness show in "which 58 of the nation's greatest sports stars participated. Some opening remarks then by TIME Inc.'s President Roy E. Larsen, a member of the Citizens Advisory Committee of the President's Council on Youth Fitness, seem to me equally appropriate now, for on September 21 the third annual Jaycee-SPORTS ILLUSTRATED Fitness Week begins, and more than 500 Junior Chamber of Commerce chapters will be competing to produce the best programs for physical fitness within their communities.
Said Larsen: "The development of adequate incentive and opportunity for fitness is a matter for group enterprise at the national level and in our local communities, and it requires a high degree of leadership ability. I recall the crises that faced the nation's public schools in the years following World War II. The needs were great, and they were needs that could only be met by the concerted action of local citizens. To arouse the citizens and to develop the sense of national urgency we now have about the problems of the schools required the broader motivation that was supplied through outstanding educational, corporate and government leaders on a national level.
"It is therefore heartening to see the responsibility for fitness increasingly recognized at many levels—in the President's Council for Fitness, in activities of local organizations and clubs, in the excellent program of the Junior Chamber of Commerce and, indeed, in such a positive contribution as the physical fitness promotion that Equitable inaugurates this fall.
"One of the things that makes fitness so easy to promote is the fact that so much pleasure derives from the activities that contribute to it. As SPORTS ILLUSTRATED said recently: 'One doesn't go out to play for the sake of a fitter nation; one goes out to play and a fitter nation follows.'
September 20, 1959
"But back of the play and the opportunities for play must go a great deal of work.
"It is the kind of work that SPORTS ILLUSTRATED is most happy to share with Equitable and with everyone who looks toward a stronger America through a fitter America."