One of the more ancient chestnuts concerning the mixture of women and sports is the story about the pretty young thing who turns to her escort in the first inning of the second game of a doubleheader and asks, "Honey, isn't this where we came in?" But on page 72 of this issue Bil Gilbert makes a point about girls and sport that we have found to be far more valid ever since we began covering women athletes 13 years ago. "Just get them emotionally involved," warns Gilbert, coach of a girls' track team in his Pennsylvania home town, "and look out."
From the start sportswomen have provided some of our most entertaining and engaging stories. Our first issue contained a picture of Diver Pat McCormick, and the following week we featured tennis champion Maureen Connolly in our color SPECTACLE section. Our fourth issue carried our first full-length story on women athletes—a YESTERDAY describing the controversial walkout of Helen Wills Moody during her match with Helen Jacobs in Forest Hills in 1933.
Since then we have covered blondes, brunettes and redheads, with épées in their hands, crash helmets on their heads and aqualungs on their backs. We have covered them climbing mountains and skiing down them, flying jets and shooting pool. In all, we have run more than 200 stories and articles on women athletes and featured them on 44 covers.
In 1964 we went to Kaizuka, Japan for an eye-opening story on the women of the Olympic-champion Japanese volleyball team and the near suicidal practice sessions they were subjected to by their coach, Hirobumi Daimatsu. Two years later we watched with the rest of the world as Peggy Fleming won the world figure skating championship, then pictured her dining at Maxim's and boating on the Seine. This week we have a story on Kathy Whitworth, another of our fine women golfers. Like Gilbert, we have puffed alongside the best women runners in the world, and it has seemed we never could do enough on Wilma Rudolph. Three years ago Gil Rogin wrote about the Texas Track Club, a team of young misses whose beauty and bouffant hairdos outdid their ability on the track. "Bouffant," said one, "is easier to run in because the wind doesn't blow your hair in your face."
Of course, there are those who would rather the women remain in the home, where they supposedly belong. Such a man recently complained to Track & Field News: "The miscreant badge wearers, who are responsible for the cluttering up of track and field programs with these dolls in shorts with their knotty legs, should be arrested."
We disagree. They don't have knotty legs at all and, like Bil Gilbert, we come away more enthused every time we write about our women athletes.
COACH GILBERT AND DAUGHTER LYN