Miss Barbara Romack, on our cover this week, brings pleasantly to mind the growing role women play in the world of sport. Once man's last preserve, sport is now nearly as coeducational as the dance floor, and many of us run the daily risk of being outgunned, outbowled, outfished and outsailed—as in ages past in other fields we have been so often just plain outfoxed.
Well, it's delightful. It may be a dismal thought in an Olympic year (and horrifying in any year to a modern sports promoter) that once upon a time the women couldn't even get into the Olympics with a ticket. History has it that in the earliest Olympics women were not only forbidden to participate but not even allowed to watch, under penalty of death. (History adds that, being women, some did and some died.)
But it's all different now. And the part that women have contributed to sport in this century has made sport for the first time a truly family enterprise. (For a sidelight on this in Illinois, see page 58.) The change, as much as anything, has brought about the present Golden Age of Sport and, more than anything, made it possible for SPORTS ILLUSTRATED to become a magazine of sport for the whole family.
As a family magazine, reporting sport's new universal appeal, it's natural to find SI, among other things, becoming a theme for merchants everywhere. All next week, for instance, in Oakland, California, the Greater Downtown Oakland Spring Sports Carnival will take over the center of town, its stores and its Memorial Plaza, in a series of events which includes a sports car parade, a sportswear fashion show, a SPORT IN ART show, a display of outdoor living in the California and family manner, and what the program calls a "covey of real live sports stars giving exhibitions in the Plaza." A cooperative effort of Oakland's leading merchants, the entire venture draws its inspiration from SI.
One of the "real live sports stars" will be California's own Barbara Romack. And that just about brings me back to where I started.
Makes a man feel a little sorry for the early Greeks, who obviously were missing half the fun.