SI asked 150 of the nation's leading sports personalities this question: What do you want most for Christmas? Summed up, the choice of the 128 who replied was: "The best available equipment and clothing for my sport." Skiers want skis, fishermen want fly rods, tennis players want tennis clothes and rackets and nothing would make a bowler happier than a new bowling ball. When shopping for sports-minded friends, steer clear of tricks and gadgets. Know your sportsman. Then take a tip from our experts and give him the most appreciated gift you ever gave—the obvious one.
SKIING: Next to a trip to ski country, skiers most want skis—with the Head ski (SI, Dec. 6) a landslide request—and fine boots, the most important factor in skiing. Ski pants, fancy ski sweaters and down-filled jackets are other wanted items. A skier who broke his leg last year put in his bid for a pair of safety bindings before he braves the slopes again.
FISHING: Fishermen are suckers for new equipment, but there isn't one alive who wouldn't like to have a fine new fly rod or a spinning reel. Other requests from fishermen: outboard motors, plaid wool shirts, a micrometer for measuring lines and leaders.
GOLF: Almost every golfer put golf balls at the top of his list of requests for Christmas—especially monogrammed ones. Next to golf balls, golfers want special clubs: a dynamiter, wedge or putter. Also prized: poplin golf jackets and shooting sticks.
SHOOTING: The first choice of hunters who answered SI's query were guns—double-barreled over-and-unders, carbines, deer rifles. They also requested membership in Amateur Trapshooting Association, hunting coats, variable-power scopes.
TENNIS: The best Christmas gift Pauline Betz ever got was a $5 racket when she was 15. Ham Richardson wants tennis shorts; Hal Burrows a racket case. Most players would like warm-up sweaters, tennis shirts.
BOWLING: Bowlers are the easiest sportsmen to please. They want a bowling ball, a bag to carry it in, a pair of bowling shoes, odd slacks to bowl in. After this, they'll take a gift certificate at their favorite alley and they're set to roll.
DOGS: Dog trainers such as Mrs. John Laurie and Mrs. John Cross want dog crates and grooming tables, grooming aids and show leads. Mrs. Travis Look wants a young bird dog.
HORSES: Next best thing to a gift horse for a horseman is a picture of a horse. Other wishes: binoculars, stop watches, The Jockey Club's Racing in America ($120).
Leading pro golfer Lawson Little wants a fine set of golf clubs for Christmas. Seems obvious—but it's an example of how most sportsmen want the obvious.
Skier Suzy Rytting writes SI: "A very fancy parka for Sunday skiing tops my list of Christmas wants. Good equipment is a necessity but a fancy parka is a luxury."
Baseball's great Branch Rickey takes his fishing as seriously as his baseball. He wants a 25-hp outboard motor for Christmas, so he can get out where the fish are.
These experts were polled:
ARCHERY: L. E. Briggs
BASEBALL: Warren Giles, C. R. Griffith, George Tebbets, M. H. Wilson Jr.
SAILING: R. W. Bogda, Eleanor Ferry, Carl Johnson
BOWLING: F. K. Baker, William Gray, Margaret Higley, Jeannette Knepprath, E. D. Mouzon Jr., Arthur Pischke, Wm. J. Roepke
BOXING: Abe Green
CARS: Mrs. L. W. Bonney; CHESS: Creighton Simpson
DOGS: Mrs. John W. Cross Jr., Iris de la Torre Bueno, Filomena Doherty, Eleanor G. Fischer, Mrs. John R. Laurie, Mrs. S. Lefkowitz, Mrs. Travis Look, Mrs. Marion B. Neville
FISHING: Ed Brendamour, M. J. Corrie, Clarence Leonard, L. S. Williams
FOOTBALL: T. J. Hamilton
GOLF: J. L. Basko, J. S. Dickson, E. A. Dunn, Frank Emmet, Mrs. E. C. K. Finch, R. F. Hatten, H. K. Kelley, Dean O. M. Leland, H. H. Luce, A. R. Miller, N. C. Morris, Col. R. O. Probst, H. K. Robinson, J. M. Schiff, F. R. Schroeder Jr., H. J. Swarts, Willie Turnesa, Craig Wood
GUNS: Aaron Bird, B. H. Boyum, C. D. Brooks, F. N. Gardner, C. E. Huber
HOCKEY: G. A. Leader
HORSES: Ted Atkinson, Marshall Cassidy, Dan Chappell, E. F. Hackett, A. B. Hancock, L. E. Jones, Marvin Millsap
LAWN BOWLING: C. A. Bursley, T. W. Gardiner, Lewis Pilcher
POOL: John Canelli
SKATING: Virginia B. Bremer
SKIING: N. A. Bennett, Edward Blood, Elda Bonvincin, Junior Bounous, Wendall Broomhall, J. J. Clair, Walter Clemmons, Jacqueline Coakley, Merritt Cook, E. D. Eaton, W. E. Everts Jr., Gretchen Fraser, Fred Flotho, John Hansen, Thomas Harrington, John Holden, P. H. Hostmark, John Hostvedt, George Hovland Jr., R. C. Johnstone, William Lash, Fred Lonsdorf, T. L. McCracken, Allison Merrill, R. F. Milstein, Roland Palmedo, Henry Paris, Fred Penwell, Dodie Post, Gustav Raaum, Naomi Sandvig, Willie Schaeffler, Kaye Smith, P. H. Smith, Otto Steiner, Dr. G. H. Wight, Gordon Wren, Robert Wright
TABLE TENNIS: W. A. Feldt
TENNIS: Pauline Betz Addie, Col. J. H. Bishop, Tom Brown Jr., H. M. Burrows Jr., Mary Hardwick Hare, R. H. McMann, J. B. Moffet, R. M. Perry, Hamilton Richardson, P. C. Rogers, J. E. Shrout
TRACK: Horace Ashenfelter, D. A. Gehrmann, Fred Wilt. Also: Bernard Bartzen, H. J. Dorricott, R. K. Howse, Bill Whitney, K. L. Wilson