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The Collision
by [?]

He started to hang around a Broker’s Office but it was no Fun to bet on a Turn-Up when you couldn’t watch the Shuffle. Besides, the Game was Cold and was being fiercely denounced by the Press.

For a Time he kept warm in a Bowling Alley. Drive a Man into a Corner and goad him to Desperation and he will go so far as to Bowl, provided that he lives in a German Neighborhood.

One Evening he went down to see the Walhallas go against the Schwabens, but the Place was Dark.

The Authorities had interfered.

It seemed that the Manufacture of Bowling Balls involved the Destruction of the Hardwood Forests, while the Game itself overtaxed certain Important Muscles ending with “alis,” at the same time encouraging Profanity and the use of 5-cent Cigars.

Steve had one Stand-By left to him. He could prop himself up on the Bleachers with a bag of lubricated Pop-Corn between his Knees and hurl insulting Remarks at Honus Wagner, Joe Tinker and Ty Cobb.

When he crawled up in the 50-cent Seats he found the same old Bunch that used to answer Roll Call at the Pool Room, the Sharkey Club, and the Betting Ring.

The Law had made them Decent Citizens, but it hadn’t made them any easier to look at.

Steve longed for the Ponies and the good old Prelims between the Trial Horses, with Blood dripping from the Ropes, but when he picked up the Pink Sporting Page in the Morning, all he could find was that the Sacred Heart Academy has wrested the Basket-Ball Trophy away from the West Division High School.

Base Ball is only Near-Sport to one who has whanged the Wise Ikes that mark up the Odds. Steve went to it because there was nothing else on the Cards.

One Day he found every entrance to the Park guarded by a Blue Burly and the Crowds being turned away.

The Health Department had put in a Knock on the Game, on the Ground that the Ball, after being handled by various Players and passed from one to the other, carried with it dangerous Microbes.

The Officials insisted that, after every Play, the Ball should be treated with an Antiseptic or else that each Player should have an Individual Ball and allow no one else to touch it.

The Society for the Protection of the Young had put up a Howl because the Game diverted the Attention of Urchins from their Work in the Public Schools and tended to encourage Mendacity among Office Boys.

The Concatenated Order of High-Brows had represented to the proper Authorities that, as a result of widespread Interest in the demoralizing Pastime, ordinary Conversation on the tail-end of a Trolley Car was becoming unintelligible to University Graduates, and the Reports in the Daily Press had passed beyond the Ken of a mere Student of the English Language.

The Medical Society certified that eight out of ten Men had shattered their Nervous Systems, split their Vocal Cords and developed Moral Astigmatism, all because of the Paroxysms resulting from Partisan Fervor. Either build an Asylum in every Block or else liberate the present Inmates of all the Nut-Colleges. It was not fair to keep the Quiet Ones locked up while the raving Bugs were admitted to the Grand Stand every Afternoon.

Under the Circumstances, a purely Paternal Administration could do only One Thing. It put Base Ball out of Business.

On the very next Afternoon the unquenchable demand for Sport asserted itself.

Steve went into the Back Yard with his eldest Son and looked about cautiously.

“Is the Look-Out stationed on the Fence?” he asked.

“He is.”

“Is the Garden Gate securely locked?”

“It is.”

“Are the Mallets properly muffled?”

“They are.”

“Then t’hell with the Law! We’ll have a Game of Croquet.”

MORAL: If it is in the Blood, the only Remedy is the substitution of Iced Tea.