There are new sports worlds waiting to be opened under the Christmas tree this year. Toymakers and sporting goods manufacturers have been busy; you might even call this column the What Won't They Think Of Next Department for this week.
The big news for ballplayers is that a few weeks ago a pretty revolutionary fielder's glove reached the stores. The off-trail feature of the mitt (A. G. Spalding & Bros. make it) is that it's got a notch at the break in the palm that's supposed to make it more flexible and give the fielder sharper control of the ball. Sounds like an interesting experiment, and time will tell. It comes in two price models, the same except for the quality of the leather: $14.60 and $19.95.
Roller skaters, long neglected, can enjoy a new adventure at last with a drastic departure called Rocket Skates. Instead of four steel wheels, these skates have two plastic rubber wheels. They don't make noise on the sidewalk and they don't hurt floors. Price: $7.95.
Then, from Germany, comes the Rotaplan Jet Kite. It has a spinning plane, shaped like an umbrella. To it is attached a triangular rudder with a sort of tail assembly streaming from it, disks attached. Actually, it looks and performs more in the manner of a flying saucer than a kite. It's $5.75.
If you've never heard of a sport called Jokari you have plenty of company, but it's well worth looking into. First, it's a lazy athlete's perfect game because nobody ever has to chase a ball. Second, it can be played indoors or out. Probably the best way to describe it is to say that it's a sort of combination of Ping-pong and handball with a little squash thrown in. The official set sells for $7.50, the Pauline Betz set for $5.95.
The Revell people, who put out all those perfect replicas of early American cars (ships and planes too) that you build yourself, have three brand-new pips on the market now. One is the aircraft carrier Franklin D. Roosevelt and the second one is a hot-rod model. But the real eye-catcher is an ancient four-masted schooner which comes complete with a plastic bottle that snaps open down the middle so that you can put your completed masterpiece inside. Models run 69¢ to $2.00. For the sports car model fan who likes them big and fancy, there's a beauty of an MG, 15 inches long, put out by Doepke Model Toys. Cost: $10.95.
Moving into the higher price brackets, there's a racing sled out that's different. It's called a "Snobob" and it's really a bobsled with ski runners. You can ride it lying down or sitting up, but sitting up is rated more fun because then you handle it the same way that an Olympic bobsledder handles his, steering with ropes attached to the front. It hugs the ground and is quite a thrilling downhill skim. $19.95.
For a young hunter thinking about going after his first deer next year, the ideal power gun arrived this month. It's called Marlin Model 55-Hunter—a 12-gauge shotgun with a 28-inch barrel bored full choke. The unusual story about this gun is that it has been drilled and tapped at the factory so that the new Lyman 40-SM Receiver Peep Sight can be attached. Result: with slugs instead of shells, it's converted to 100% rifle accuracy—and it's the only shotgun on the market, the Marlin people say, that can make use of this new sight. It's $29.95, plus $3.95 for the sight. That's less than half the cost of a regular deer rifle.
The final Christmas report is to the skin divers. A late check shows that the tried-and-true is still the best in swim masks. Abercrombie & Fitch, who are just about first on the skin-diving grapevine, say that the French "Squale" mask at $4.95 remains the finest watertight protection to be found. So, if a mask is on your Christmas list, this window on the underwater world is it.