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The annual profit from the tennis courts on Jarvis and Soldiers Fields is about $1200. Considered purely from the commercial standpoint, this item in the report of the Graduate Treasurer of Athletics implies business-like management of a profitable sport. Considered from the standpoint of present conditions it implies something far different; in short, it reveals a situation which ought not to be permitted to continue during the present season.
Of all forms of exercise tennis is undoubtedly the most popular. A very conservative estimate would fix 350 as the number who play on the courts every fair afternoon. This total is greater than the number of daily participants in rowing, track, and baseball.
Yet, strange to say, in spite of this great popularity, the equipment provided for, and the care bestowed on, tennis is far less than that given the other minor sports. To procure a court on either Jarvis or Soliders Field from May 1 to Class Day, between the hours of 3 and 5 o'clock, is practically impossible. On the warmer days 4 o'clock sees at least thirty men waiting for a chance to play. The same situation maintains from October 1 until the frost comes. Moreover, on afternoons when there is a strong breeze from the prevailing quarter, clouds of sand, worn from the top-dressing, drive down the whole length of the courts; games are stopped and much of the pleasure and health of the sport is neutralized.
Were there no profit derived from the tennis courts, such conditions would cause no comment. Bad as they are, they would be the best possible under the circumstances and we should be satisfied. But, with an annual surplus of $1200 over and above the present cost of maintenance, it is only natural that the men from whose pockets this sum comes, should be more or less interested to know whither it goes. Approximately one-fifth of the profit was spent on the tennis team. Dinners to victorious Freshman teams and the liberal use of taxicabs may possibly be justifiable, but tennis money should not go for such purposes with the courts in their present condition. Why not, therefore, use part of the $1200 to build more courts? Why not use the remainder to cover the courts with clay and thus eliminate the prevalent sand storms? No expenditure would be of equal advantage to the largest athletic group in the University.
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