Since when is croquet a sport?" asks Mr. Mike Kenny of Detroit. "A couple of weeks ago it was bird watching. I'm almost afraid to buy the next issue."
Although croquet history is not my strongest subject, I find that the game has been calling for considerable competitive skill since the 17th century. My own experiences with mallet and wicket have invariably left me chastened by croquet's demands for accuracy, strategy and self-control, sports essentials all.
As for bird watching, Si's story on the Christmas Bird Count (Jan. 16) revealed the strict rules and keen competition which can surround this activity; and I only hope that the great white heron on our cover this week did not frighten Mr. Kenny completely away, because it is part of a remarkable series of color photographs by David Goodnow (see page 29). I'm sure, moreover, that he would not want to miss the other sports in this issue like football (page 18), boxing (page-44), basketball (page 43), horse racing (page 41), golf (page 45) and fishing (page 52).
To help our editors keep all sports in proportion for readers with ever-widening sports interests, the Lloyd C. Hall Co., a research firm, maintains a count of pages devoted to each sport. The summary for 1955 shows that in all, last year, SI reported 94 sports in 3,100 pages. Among the 94: croquet, with less than one page, shared equal billing with boccie, tether ball, tamburelli and shuffleboard. Bird watching came in for 12 pages. But baseball had 307 pages, football 210, golf 180, and right up at the top with them, boxing, fishing, hunting, horse racing, tennis, sailing and track.
Recently Dodger Catcher Roy Campanella—whose off-duty interests include model railroading and tropical fish breeding and who lately took a step in another direction when he bought a 41-foot cruiser—had some words for SPORTS ILLUSTRATED. "Of course I always read the baseball first," he said, "but after that I go for the stories on a lot of sports I didn't know about before."
Perhaps this, alongside the Lloyd Hall report, warrants a hope that reader Kenny, like many others, may soon find in each issue of SPORTS ILLUSTRATED that he is enjoying some new adventures, as well as the tried and true, in sport's increasingly wide and wonderful world.