The twentieth century fund is a nonprofit foundation which for 20 years has endowed research to promote the improvement of economic, industrial, civic and educational conditions. In its latest Annual Report, its Director, August Heckscher, writes on a salient fact of contemporary life.
"Next to the abundance of things the citizen has," Heckscher says, "the abundance of time at his disposal is perhaps the most striking characteristic of the present American scene.
"Free time is not in itself leisure...leisure is not a vacancy, an escape from doing things, but a quality of life capable of pervading in some degree a man's total existence.
"It is not a mere paradox to say that men and women have attained leisure only when they recapture in their free time something of what in their happiest moments they find in work—the satisfaction born of having mastered manageable things, the relaxation that comes from moving in an element where one feels instinctively at home. Recreations and hobbies, as a matter of fact, have always been related to the world's work. They have provided in playful or symbolic guise a means of meeting certain deep needs of the social order. Thus outdoor recreations have brought men back to the resources of nature when industrialization seemed in danger of cutting them off; games have nurtured values essential to constitutional freedom. And what are hobbies, rightly understood, but a way of keeping alive crafts and skills which the machine seemed likely to obliterate from memory?"
I thought you would be interested in Mr. Heckscher's commentary, for it seems to me not only to make clear the significance of the role of sports in America today but also to explain a good deal of the purpose which lies behind the publishing of SPORTS ILLUSTRATED.