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Original Issue

JIMMY JEMAIL ASKS: President Eisenhower, at an extraordinary luncheon recently, expressed his concern about the lack of participation in sports by American youth. How would you remedy this?

International Olympic Committee
"Physical education is as important as mental education. Provide physical education leadership emphasizing participation, not spectator sports. Return to amateur principles. Take educational institutions out of entertainment. Begin by abolishing gate receipts from educational sports events."

Track star
"The most important thing is that parents have a true understanding of their children. It is all too easy for parents to upset children emotionally so they won't participate in sports. Other things that would help are: better organization of playgrounds and intramural leagues sponsored by factories and businesses."

Founder Catholic Youth Organization
"How can you have mass participation when you have few places to play? It's easy to talk and make suggestions, but nothing is done. Athletics today are for the fortunate few. Until we recognize the validity of the playground, the boys and girls who really need athletics are out of luck."

Chairman of the Board Radio Corporation of America
"First, interest the parents. I feel that juvenile delinquency is adult delinquency. Parents should know that nothing is as interesting to children as sports. Schools should have more sports. Cities should provide more playgrounds and parents should insist that children go to these areas."

Governor of California
"We have asked the mayors of our major cities and towns to call old-fashioned town meetings where sports figures and others are urged to get kids interested in sports. If there are no baseball diamonds, no playgrounds, no leagues, we want to know why. We have not licked juvenile delinquency, but it's under control."

Director of Athletics
West Point
"Let's face it—the American youngster is the victim of our mechanized age as well as the philosophy expressed by a former college chancellor—'when I feel the urge to exercise, I lie down on a couch until the urge passes.' Athletics should be compulsory. Tax-exempt foundations should help promote competitive sports."

Chicago Cubs
"I think that spectator sports have gone too far. The public would rather pay to watch than indulge in sports. This has had its effect on youngsters. They're aping their parents. Little Leagues are offsetting this commercial tendency somewhat. The same idea should be applied more widely to other sports."

Former U.S. President
"Not being an athlete myself and with no athletic background, I can't offer a concrete solution. But one way to eliminate juvenile delinquency is to have momma and poppa look after their children. Raising kids properly is the most important thing in the world. Home discipline comes first; sports afterwards."

Newspaper columnist and television celebrity
"It would be almost impossible to increase, America's present mass participation in sports. Little Leagues blanket the nation; Golden Gloves have made boxing a mass participation medium; caddy associations have given golf phenomenal impetus. Only viewers-with-alarm find anything unhappy on the American sports front."

Mayor of New York
"It's most important to get sports leaders. Youngsters look up to athletic heroes. Big cities must make more space available so boys can participate in sports. They must have good, friendly supervision. In New York we have many such areas, but not enough. We're trying. Our Police Athletic League was the country's first."

Founder Helms Athletic Foundation
"The establishment of an annual fund to carry on youth activities, and the creation of a nonpolitical board, and a director, with supervisors in each state, merits consideration. This would boost American morale and loyalty, and build healthier and more wholesome-minded youngsters."

"President Eisenhower's crusade to combat juvenile delinquency by means of mass participation in sports is, in my opinion, the most hopeful approach to the problem that has yet been suggested. The wholesome influence of sports participation on underprivileged youth is something that cannot be overstressed. It automatically instills in them a positive team spirit, as opposed to the antisocial group psychology of the 'gang'; in teaching them to cooperate with others in play, it makes it easier to teach them to work and live together. At the same time it inculcates in them a respect for the other side and for the rules of the game—which, basically, is the same thing as the respect for the rules of society.

To be truly effective, such a program requires three things: 1) Increased facilities on a scale adequate to provide an outlet for the energies of our teen-agers. 2) Trained leaders who should, insofar as possible, combine the qualities of sports coach, the educator and the juvenile psychologist. The program will be as effective as its leadership. 3) The full-hearted participation of parents, community leaders and the leaders in the world of sports."

Champion athlete
"Make it easier for kids to play. They like sports. All they need is encouragement. We should have more civic-minded coaches who are interested in youngsters. Parents, too, should be encouraged to join their children in sports. I'd also give autographed pictures of all the sports champions to youngsters."

Catcher Brooklyn Dodgers
"By creating interest at an early age in playgrounds and in community centers. We need many more. In Philadelphia, developed an interest in sports at my school playground. If a boy doesn't develop an interest in sports early enough, he'll do other things for excitement and may go wrong."

New York restaurateur
"We have great athletes in this country. They should stay in athletics. All of us are hero worshipers, kids especially so. We should send our great athletes to the Little Leagues. The kids would respond enthusiastically. Why does Yale get the best swimmers? Because Yale sends its swimming stars to the kids."

Radio and TV celebrity
"Through local groups like Rotary, Masonic, Knights of Columbus, etc. Let each sponsor sports events in community leagues. These groups all raise money for worthwhile things. If they try, they can restore the competitive spirit on the grassroots level that existed in this country during less complex times."

Director U.S. Bureau of Prisons
"In my work with juvenile offenders I have found that youth has several fundamental drives: a craving for excitement and adventure, the capacity for hero worship, and the need to share experience with others in their own age group. No mass participation sports program could succeed without taking into consideration these basic drives. Our playground programs are invaluable. Police boys' clubs are doing magnificent work and should be generously supported. Beyond these, instead of allowing that profound capacity for hero worship to find its own object, much could be done to give it a more constructive direction. Great sports figures might be approached to sponsor organized groups in the sports which they represent. Fraternal organizations could undertake a wider program of sponsorship built around outstanding figures in the sports world. Sporting goods manufacturers might well spend some of their advertising money in this way. Fathers might work out some kind of rotating plan to provide sports activity for boys in the neighborhood and thus prevent the groups from degenerating into unwholesome 'gangs.' "

BILL (Hopalong Cassidy) BOYD
"By development, through subsidization by public funds, of programs like Little League baseball, football, tennis and swimming. The outstanding tennis players developed by Australia's small population proves this can be done. And if dads would spend more time teaching their boys, both would have more fun."

Federal Bureau of Investigation
"The first need is a nationwide understanding of the necessity for clean, wholesome recreation that comes from participation in athletics. A youthful participant need not be an expert or a champion. Then there is the need to provide the facilities and a program. Participation by youth will follow."

Tennis star
"By participation in junior sports events by top athletes, who should make personal appearances, organize sports clinics and stage sports events. I'm taking eight of the most promising junior tennis players around the country to play in tournaments and to coach them."

National Council Boy Scouts of America
"It's probably best for schools throughout the country to give more attention to the playgrounds and sports. It might be advisable to make a certain amount of sports activity compulsory. But children should be divided into groups within their abilities. Certainly weekend Boy Scout camping, as well as summer camps, has grown up tremendously in the last 15 years and offers a lot to youngsters."

Promotional director PGA and IGA
"Interest many more young boys in becoming caddies. Many fairly recent state laws prohibit a boy from caddying until he is 14 or 16. Many of our champions started out as caddies when they were 10 or so. There is no finer training for life than golf offers a young boy."

Chief of Naval Operations
"Adult enthusiasm would be a partial solution to the problem—not perfunctory or simulated interest, but genuine interest. Interest and enthusiasm have a contagious quality and under the proper environment they seem to radiate and rub off on other people. I say the interest must be genuine, however, for the keen, intuitive eyes of children can spot superficiality and reluctance as readily as any grown-up. So the problem may actually be one of stimulating adult interest."

Former heavyweight champion
"The fastest way to achieve the President's wishes regarding expanded physical activities and sports generally, is to energize the existing welfare organizations. I mean groups like the Police Athletic Leagues, YMCA, YMHA, Catholic Youth Organizations, Boy Scouts, etc. Through liaison with Departments of Welfare and funds from the federal and state governments, the job can be done."

U.S. Golf Assn.
"This requires the intensive publication of the astounding facts regarding our youths' physical deficiencies. Parents, educators, publishers, movies and TV must focus attention on the pleasure and benefits of sports. Wider adoption of the Little League idea would be effective."

Department Store Executive
"It seems to me that the recent meeting held at the White House by President Eisenhower, with leading sports figures, will arouse nationwide interest. But, to accomplish the results he hopes for, we will have to set up a strong organization, headed by a top personality with great ability. It should be a full-time job. He must evolve a program that interests the majority of boys and girls in improving themselves mentally and physically."

TV and radio celebrity
"I'd like to see Ike appoint a 'Secretary of Youth' and give him enough funds to develop our greatest resource, the Youth of America. The 'Secretary' should first organize qualified adults to teach and supervise sports. Pay them well. Then provide suitable areas for sports and proper transportation."

President IBC and Madison Square Garden
"I'm in favor of doing anything that will bring more of our youngsters into active sports participation. Our organization will go along with any promising program with all the facilities at our disposal. Expanding present sports facilities for boys and girls would help somewhat, but that's not the answer. We need different type people supervising sports projects. We should interest citizens with different backgrounds than those presently in control. An altogether different group, composed of top sports people is needed. I feel a lot of this should start in the home. Many kids think, wrongly I'm sure, that their teachers, the police and others in control are their enemies. We will go along with all the facilities we possess at Madison Square Garden and at our other arenas if someone will only come up with a program that will work."

Deerfield Academy
"By mass participation in athletics. The younger children are being increasingly well cared for by camps and Little Leagues. The problem is the teen-agers who are too old to be interested in camp and too young to work. We must find additional leaders to guide, inspire and control them. There are many boys—recent high school graduates or college students—who need to earn money for their education. They are full of enthusiasm, they understand youngsters. With adequate backing and direction they can do much to provide a normal, healthy physical outlet for the nation's teen-agers."

Director Juvenile Delinquency Project Children's Bureau
"The key is to have an athletic program that is broad enough to encompass a wide J variety of needs among youngsters. Some kids are better on teams and others at games involving one opponent. Little League baseball, for instance, is fine as far as it goes. It takes care of some boys, but not all. Youngsters should not be forced into one pattern. They will develop interests that will stay with them only if they are supervised intelligently in the sports they like best."

New York City
Park Commissioner
"Expand existing successful sports enterprises, by giving I them the means—I money for a staff, the equipment and prizes. I refer to city and state park systems, public and parochial school recreation systems, Boy and Girl Scouts, the AAU, PAL, K of C, CYO, YMCA, YMHA, YWCA, YWHA. We don't need new superduper commissions."

A. G. Spalding & Co.
"The President's committee must impress parents that they have to sell youngsters on sports. That's how the Little Leagues got their start. This has been the most successful form of mass participation in years. What is needed is expansion of Little Leagues on a wider basis."

McGregor Sportswear
"We must give boys in crowded areas more playgrounds. Through the agency of the Boy Scouts, we are able to go into such areas where juvenile delinquency principally begins, take these kids off the streets and into Boy Scout camps, where they see a new way of life. They learn all the things boys should know and do. From this, they develop into good citizens. Scouting is a 12 months' program with trained leadership. One of the most important things a lad needs, which he gets out of scouting, is that sense of belonging."

President of Notre Dame
"It's a simple problem—organization and money. The big thing is to have play areas in cities. The biggest gangs are in areas where there are no places to play. Children hang out in alleys and get into trouble. Also, school playgrounds look deserted. Are they all open?"

Chairman of the Board
Madison Square Garden
"The youth of America looks up to its sports figures as idols. President Eisenhower took the biggest step forward by pointing up the problem through his luncheon with top sports personalities at the White House. He has set the standard. Certainly other leading citizens should pick up from there."

United States Senator
"We need solid citizens who will give their time to supervise sports in schools, clubs and the playgrounds. Lots of people talk but do nothing. Paid supervisors do a good job, but there are not enough of them. We need more volunteers. Kids are going to look up to someone, either a Dillinger or a good citizen."

Brown University
"The first essential is for reporters to treat sports as sport, not a business. They play up a boy as if he were a big shot about to turn pro, rather than a schoolboy. Exploitation gets to the fore and sports are left far behind. We should return to a balance badly upset by too much exploitation."

Former heavyweight champion
"More clubs, properly supervised, properly operated and properly financed. There are few places to play in large cities. This is a proper venture for state taxation. It's time for the public to wake up and do something for our kids. We have money for everything, but none for our children. For two straight years, I conducted tournaments throughout the United States and Canada to stimulate boxing and develop fighters. I was discouraged by the lack of interest."

St. Louis Cardinals
"We didn't have that problem in my town, Bay, Arkansas, population 500. There sure was plenty of play space back home. But that's the crux of the problem in our big cities. That and also the difficulty of getting enough volunteers to coach the kids. Former athletes ought to be glad to volunteer and get some exercise. Besides, I think it's the duty of ex-pros to coach."

Dunlop Tire Co.
"A youngster is no better than the teaching given him and the example set by his parents. You are what you are and I am what I am because of what our mothers and fathers taught us. I have two boys of my own. They are not DiMaggios, however I encourage them in every way, in every sport. I believe that's the key to our problem."

Hotbox conductor and 9-letter man at Brown University
"Boys must have an incentive. Mere sports participation is not enough. I grew up fighting for a few privileges, just as many of them are doing today. There must be a compelling reason for sports participation, not the mere admonition to 'get off the streets or you'll get into trouble.' When I was 10 years old, I read my first nickel novel. I'll never forget it. The title: From Newsboy to Midshipman. The hero was a good athlete. Athletics gave him contacts with people, some of them influential. Through these contacts he was able to get an appointment to the U.S. Naval Academy. After reading that nickel novel, I lost no chance to compete in all kinds of sports. And I made influential friends. They helped me get an appointment to the Naval Academy, where I stayed for two years before resigning to go to Brown University.

"Sports must be made attractive to promote mass participation. That can be done in a number of ways—hero worship, competition between teams, the desire to excel, the chance of getting a college scholarship, appeal to personal pride, school spirit, community spirit, etc."