Dr. Glenn Olds, the president of Springfield College—where Professor Naismith invented basketball—made an address when The Sportsmanship Brotherhood gave basketball's Jack Twyman its annual award last month. I regret that I cannot repeat his message in full, but even in part it seems to me eminently repeatable:
" One of the favorite post-sputnik sports of college presidents has become the debunking of sport as an enemy of education and people. No one would seriously quarrel with their criticism of the perversion of sport into professionalism, exploited for the sake of spectators, motivated to win at any cost and threatening the integrity of the player and the game. Still, there is danger of throwing out the baby with the bath through disparaging and destroying the real role of sport in the creation and recreation of men and culture.
"It is not sheer coincidence that in a world divided by cold war and iron and bamboo curtains slowly parting, sport remains one of the few bridges between men as men. In sport the accident of birth, race, creed or station is transcended by performance alone. Sport speaks a universal language of movement and morality recognized in every culture and tongue. In its arena kings may be brought low, beggars crowned, phonies found out and simple excellence celebrated for what it is.
"Sport teaches self-discovery, self-acceptance, self-control and self-giving. Taken seriously, such principles could reform our culture, our education and ourselves. They would put the players, not the coaches, in charge of the game on examination day. They would put equalization of opposition, not power to win, as the aim of a good game and real sport. They would make development of the total powers of the person, not skill in a few, the mark of sport as education at its best. They would affirm the proper mission of education as the molding of men who find themselves in action, accept themselves in performance, control themselves by rules and give themselves for the sake of others.
April 18, 1960
"When this happens, sport will not be confused or abused but will become the schoolroom of competence and character. Fail in this, and we lose not only sport—but ourselves as well."
SPORTS ILLUSTRATED agrees with Dr. Olds—cordially and heartily.