We know a young family man up in Boston for whom these particular weeks of the year pose a serious domestic challenge. He summed it up at a dinner party recently when his wife happened to ask him if he could finally get to a certain household chore he had been postponing for some time.
"I don't see how," he explained to her gently. "You know I promised to take Jimmy to Pee Wee hockey practice before my golf game Saturday morning. And UCLA-Texas comes on at 4:30. I've already told Bob he probably will have to watch the Dodger game on the basement set. And Sunday...." He gave an enormous shrug. "Well, good lord, this is the opening of the pro football season."
We are not too sure how our friend's wife took all this, but we understand his predicament perfectly. He and several million other Americans have simply romped into sport's season of glorious excess. In these early days of autumn our nation seems to turn into one vast coliseum. Nearly all the so-called major sports are either winding up or winding down. Skiers are studying weather maps, fishermen and golfers are getting in their last licks and the sound of the sportscaster's splintering syntax is heard across the land.
Consider the array of contenders for space in this week's issue. There are, of course, the final gasps of the baseball season, some bright college football stars—√† la Washington's Sonny Sixkiller—and an already topsy-turvy pro football season. But also vying for attention are such matters as pro basketball (the first interleague games were played last week), harness racing (the Little Brown Jug), hydro racing (the season's ender), golf (Walter Bingham's school days), skiing (Jean-Claude Killy's movie) and deep-sea fishing (for giant tuna off Prince Edward Island).
Equally instructive is the lineup that did not make it into this issue—our cup runneth over sometimes, too. We are sorry, but you will have to wait until next week to read about horse racing, auto racing and hockey.
What does it all mean? There surely are those who view this burst of competitive energy as a sign of America's cultural decline, a preoccupation with the frivolous at the expense of the important. Well, we disagree. There is no reason to fret about man's interest in excellence or his high regard for the virtues of competition. The fact that these next two or three weeks represent an annual apogee of our sporting enthusiasms, that we still have something to cheer about, is cause not for mourning but celebration.
Unless you have a garage you are trying to get cleaned.