The Charlotte News

Tuesday, March 25, 1941



Site Ed. Note: Speaking of basketball, we recently ran across the original thirteen rules of the game by Dr. Naismith. (The internet is wonderful for exploring the arcane, is it not?) We think it would be fun for some enterprising group of people to organize a game for educational and exhibition purposes, perhaps for some worthy cause, based on the original thirteen rules, utilizing of course players of the modern game in the bargain. No punching of the ball with fists or that be a foul, and after the second foul, the player sits out until the next basket; no holding of the ball except with the hands, (hence no stalls by the hip (nor between the knees, neither)); three fouls in succession by a team and count ye a basket for the opponent, (no last minute comebacks that way, ye foul and pestilent quintessences). We like the modern game, mind you--fast, furious and balletic, but it might be fun to watch the original game played, too, for better understanding of its origins.

And welcome to Boston College to the Atlantic Coast Conference. It's a bit of a stretch, geographically speaking, as the old conference, with some other schools, originally the Southern Conference, has heretofore only encompassed the southeastern schools. And it's a bit of a trial as all us Southerners will have to learn that "Car'lina" is actually pronounced "Ca-ro-li-nar"; yet, we should feel right at home with those Massachusettsians who soften their "ah's" right along with us Southenas, as we down theya chowda next to our bowl of gravy and grits. Thus, it's all to the good, probably. So, to Boston, we say, welcome to the South. Since the Pilgrims originally landed in what they labeled "Virginia" in 1620, we would say that its time for joinder has come.

Ah, the game of basketball. Dr. Naismith was charged with coming up with a game in ten days to settle the Y.M.C.A. rowdies of Springfield who were restless (maybe for another civil war?) during the harsh New England winters, and thus the game was born to bring quiescence to chaos. One can't feel too bold, nor challenge another to a duel outside, after all, while in shortpants during the dead of winter.

But of course, the true nature of the sport, often hidden to those who never played it much or fully appreciate it, is the melding of the nation to closer union, indeed that of the world at large, among those who otherwise have ostensibly disparate interests and backgrounds. Sociologically speaking, despite the inevitable flaws, fouls, and flagrancies at times, it is the game of games, hurling chairs across the dance floor and all the straightening of neckties to the judges, included.

"' basketball like he invented the game, that brought Carolina so much fame."

Who's under-rated? Only Time can tell.

The Wills of the Game, like the wills o' the wisps, me lads and lassies. Far the better to be discovered on the hard ash than else. As John Day said in his playbook of 1608, "Law Trickes, or Who Would Have Thought It?", "I haue playd Will with the wispe with my brother, and haue led him vp and downe the maze of good fellowship."

Beans. Better have some beans.


Southern Comes to Town Looking Like Spring

Probably the most interesting piece of news in Charlotte today is not the imminence of German attack on Greece or even the reports from the baseball training camps, but the presence of the Southern Railways Streamliner down at the freight station.

On a spanking fine Spring day the Southern comes to town in gleaming finery which is all in the spirit of Spring. In her time she had been a pretty douty old girl, even as railroads go, what with her grimy red and green plush seats in the day coach, the water coolers where you drank out of the communal cup or paid a penny for a paper one, the general dark brown smell of tobacco juice and train smoke, of the eternal clattering and banging, if you rode the Pullmans, that ever-lasting clicking of the rail ends under your ears. And her speed--and her schedule--remember the Yankee's derision?

For a long time now, however, she has been improving. First, there were steel coaches, then air-conditioning, and the rail-click began to disappear. Her speed picked up, and she began to run fairly regularly on time.

And now she steps out with a streamliner, in the company of the best roads in the nation--a smooth piece of quiet-running lightning, which will wheel off the distance between Charlotte and New York in eleven hours--a far cry from the days when even the Crescent needed seventeen, and usually took more.

Congratulations to the Southern, and bons voyages to the Southerner.


Masons Lead

Point Way to Organized Welcome of Air Base Men

The desire of the various Masonic organizations to turn over the Temple, or at least the ground floor, to the men at the Air Base as a meeting place when they are in the city shows the will of Charlotte to make the soldiers happy while they are here. And points the way to one method of making that will effective

Welcome and entertainment of the men should not, of course, be too much organized. At least, it should not be too much merely organized welcome and entertainment. What lonely men want most is personal contact with the people of the city.

Nevertheless, there is also a necessity, of course, for the organized welcome. And the Masons of the city deserve praise for having pointed the way by setting themselves to place their facilities at the disposal of the soldiers.


Phifer House

Plan To Turn Grounds Into Park Is a Worthy One

The preservation of the old Phifer house on North Tryon Street as a monument is a worthy enterprise. Charlotte has too few monuments as matters stand, and the old houses are coming down at a great rate. (Some of them, as the old Oates house on South Tryon we have hated to see go. It was a remarkable and well-preserved specimen of the French Chateau era of late Victorian times.)

But the Phifer house has the best claim of all to be preserved, not only because of its age but because of the historical interest which attaches to it as the last meeting place of the Cabinet of the Confederacy--of the nation that was and is not.

And the idea of turning the grounds into a public park is also a good one. The location is not ideal--being some five blocks from Independence Square. The only really ideal spot for a downtown park is the old cemetery back of the Presbyterian Church. Someday we think that will be done, as it has been done elsewhere without bringing disrespect upon the dead. But for the present it looks like no go.

Meantime, the Phifer grounds will bring to the city a good downtown park, if you don't mind walking a few blocks to rest your bones on a bench. If it is not ideal in location, it is at least ideal in the possession of large numbers of old trees.


Lost Fight

Hitler's Aims Suffer Defeat in the Balkans

Adolf Hitler has his way with Yugoslavia--after a fashion. That is, its little ministers--most of them Nazi-favoring--are hastening to Vienna dutifully and fearlessly to sign what he requires of them.

But it is very safe to say now that Hitler has lost his great Balkan diplomatic offensive.

Object of that offensive was undoubtedly to make Greece and Turkey yield without a fight, crowd Britain away from the possibility of a toehold on the back steps of the Continent, save Italy, and get control of the Dardanelles and the Eastern Mediterranean--all without having to fight.

But nowhere have his plans gone off according to schedule. First, the Rumanians acted up and required three months to be put down. Then the Bulgarians, warned by Russia not to enter the Axis, hemmed and hawed a great deal, robbed Adolf of much time before they finally signed on the dotted line and let his hordes come in. And the Yugoslavs, if they have yielded, have put on a masterful exhibition of procrastination.

All this was important. It gave the British time to land a large force in Greece, to work out a plan of defense with Turkey, to rush modern equipment to the Greek and Turkish armies.

As the price of having his way with Yugoslavia, also, Adolf seems finally to have alienated Russia. The latter's guarantee of "benevolent neutrality" toward Turkey, as well as material aid for her if she is involved in the war, is a great stroke of fortune for the Allies. Moreover, Hitler must take active account of the fact that from here on out Russia will always threaten his flank--must keep many divisions on her borders.

Everywhere Hitler literally sits on a powder barrel. From Norway to Italy, from Cherbourg to the Russian border, he must maintain armies of occupation among populations which hate the Huns as no people has been hated in the world before. It is altogether probable that Serb, Rumanian, and Bulgarians are going to make incessant guerrilla trouble for him as his campaign proceeds.

And in Poland, Czechland, Hungary, Norway, Denmark, Holland, Belgium, and France, the peoples only await the signal of the beginning of his defeat to fall upon his armies and his people with tooth and nail.

Even in Italy, they say, he has to keep eighteen or twenty divisions to prevent the nation from making peace right now. And some observers say that the total force he can possibly spare for the Balkan campaign cannot exceed 600,000 men.


One Weapon

Yugoslavs Resurrect Old Way Of Spreading Truth

In Yugoslavia the newspapers have hit upon the quaint device of spreading anti-Nazi and anti-Fascist propaganda through fables ostensibly told as bedtime stories for children.

One allegory concerns a Wolf who decided to eat up all the other animals in the forest, including particularly the Lion. He took the Hare to be his partner, though he knew the Hare was a coward, on condition that the third creature would disguise himself as a panther. The Lion took the Fox. But the Fox was old and lazy. He soon quit.

Then the Lion took out after the Hare who promptly lost his panther disguise and fled and fled, after his nature. Whereupon the other creatures found out about the Hare and fell upon him and the Wolf had ruefully to prepare to protect him.

If the Nazis and Fascists had not been such ignorant men they might have known it. This is one of the oldest devices in the world. Aristophanes used it. So did Aesop. And Lucian and Martial. The cycle of Reynard the Fox contains much of the same thing. Mother Goose arose in France for the purpose, and was carried to England and bent to the same uses. The stories of Robin Hood, the forest elf, were turned to the same end. Rabelais and Voltaire delighted in the method. Uncle Remus is not devoid of the same elements. And everyone knows now that Gulliver's Travels is not really a bedtime book for children.


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