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From our archives: Anti-basketball doctor took a very unpopular stand

What we thought: 75 years ago

Note to readers – Sauk Valley Media reprints editorials from the past as a regular Monday feature. The following editorial appeared in the Gazette on Feb. 18, 1938.

Just a Hoosier


One must admire the courage of anyone in Indiana who has the audacity to challenge basketball, yet this is precisely what Dr. Thurman B. Rice, state director of physical education and child health, has done.

He has questioned the wisdom of basketball for junior high schools under the same conditions surrounding older players. Stating that each of the six-minute quarters in the junior games entails nearly a mile of running, and that some junior games had followed the high school rule of eight-minute quarters, he asked:

“Why would any intelligent athletic director think of having a boy do a mile, rest a few minutes, and then repeat it until he has done four such stunts?”

Dr. Rice also criticizes the practice of eliminating 40 teams in three consecutive days, with the finalists playing six games, and questions the desirability of tourneys for adolescents.

One might caution Dr. Rice that, however much he knows and may be right about child welfare, he had better keep a weather eye out.

Just now, all Sterling and, in fact, the world at large, is in the throes of the basketball season. Long queues of children and their parents not mindful of the evening meal are standing in line every game night to gain a point of vantage.

As for Junior – just you watch his parents stand up for his rights! Isn’t he on the team?

Teaching safety

The simple event of offering a course in traffic problems and highway safety at the University of South Carolina has started a train of events, not entirely unpremeditated, which promises a substantial reduction in the auto death rate of the Palmetto State.

The course, begun in summer school, was especially intended for high school teachers, and a considerable number of them completed it.

The teachers then returned to their high schools and taught courses there. They were qualified to instruct on such topics as the limitations, responsibilities and duties of pedestrians and drivers; the causes of accidents and possible remedies; sound driving practices and traffic laws; [and] the automobile and its place in modern life.

When the students had completed the high school course, they were organized into groups of safety teachers and now are available as driving instructors for citizens throughout the state.

No attack on the traffic accident problem could be simpler or more fundamental. For long-range improvement, probably none could be better.


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