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Too many whistles

Modern basketball, with its trick rules and its high scores, is a fine game. But, says Raymond Kaighn, age 91, of Chapel Hill, N.C., the game used to be better. Mr. Kaighn should know; he took part in the first basketball game ever played—the one James Naismith devised in 1891 to relieve the tedium of winter calisthenics at a Springfield Y. "Only one basket was scored," says Kaighn, the last survivor of that game. "But we had a wonderful time." Actually, the game was pretty much organized mayhem. There were 18 players, and everyone tried to grab the ball at the same time. When one man got his hands on it, the others would wrest it away from him. "Jim would stand there, blowing his whistle, yelling, 'Pass it, pass it!' Nowadays," snorts Raymond Kaighn, "the game is too refined. No doubt about it, there's too much whistle-blowing."