THE INTERNATIONAL SITUATION STRAINED
The Empress Stadium, Earls Court, which seems likely to play a very important part in our sporting life in the near future, jumped two-footed into the headlines a few days ago.
The Petersen-McAvoy fight, of which we shall have mare to say in a few minutes, is a first-class scoop.
The American ice hockey team's attitude to the suggested match between them and the Earls Court All Stars provided further evidence of the undesirability of international contests between foreign countries.
The Americans refused to meet the Earls Court side because, said they, some of the players included in that side had been suspended by the Canadian Ice Hockey Amateur Association.
It is a reason which would have carried more weight, or cut more ice, if the same suspended players had not met them in the recent Olympic contest at Garmisch when, for the first time on record, an English team won the Olympic ice hockey world's championship. They were just as much suspended then as they are now, and what is good enough for the international adjudicators in the Olympic Games ought to be good enough for a friendly match. The trouble is that there are no friendly matches in ice hockey. " I sock ye " is right both as pronunciation and description.
The Americans made the same kick against the Wembley Lions. Reduced to the obvious it means simply that our overseas visitors will not, if they can help it, meet any English side unless they consider that they have an odds-on chance of beating it.
AN OLD FOREIGN CUSTOM
The Americans did not start the trick, it had a much more illustrious parentage. They took it over as a going concern. It has proved itself a good working plan, and one that will continue to work as long as the various authorities responsible for picking the sides in our various international contests realise that it is a mistake to allow our opponents to pick the sides for them.
The present system is to pick the English teams by protest and, when the opposition has managed to exclude, for one reason or another, all the players of whom they are afraid, they win.
But do they say in their home press that the victory was over England's second best? Not on your life.
HOW IT LOOKS ABROAD
The American press will be full of ice hockey victories over " the concentrated might of Britain playing on their own rinks," just as the Australian papers were after the last Test cricket series.
They will use these matches to prove that the English victory at GarmischPartenkirchen was all wrong, that the result there was brought about by one of
CRIME AND PUNISHMENT
The possibilities of Dostoievsky's novels as material for films have been recognised since the early days of cinema. He provides the film director with the rich and mature subject-matter that is indispensable to the cinema's claim to be regarded as a serious art.
There are also corresponding disadvantages. In an adaptation of Dostoievsky there is inevitably a temptation to rely too much on talking to elucidate the complicated motives that sway the characters instead of making proper use of the resources of the cinema.
It is a fault from which the new adaptation of Crime and Punishment (Crime et Chatiment, at the Academy, directed by Pierre Chenal) is not wholly free, particularly in the dramatic scene in which Raskolnikov (Pierre Blanchar) is interrogated by the magistrate (Harry Baur), Still, this powerful film, which ran for three months in New York, will certainly be one of the outstanding films of the year.
The direction, acting and photography are admirable. In the opening sequences, perhaps the finest in the film, the camera —following people up and down tenement stairs, probing into characters' minds, prying into corners—is brilliantly used to convey the tense uneasy atmosphere surrounding the murders.
Mr. DAY asked the Home Secretary in the House of Commons last week whether, in view of the uncertainty that still exists as to the definition of a noninflammable film which under present regulations is confusing to local authorities, he will consider introducing legislation to clarify the meaning of a non-inflammable film as distinct from a slow-burning film?
Mr. LLOYD: My right hon. friend is aware that there is uncertainty as to the scope of the Cinematograph Act, 1909, which applies to exhibitions for the purposes of which inflammable films arc used and the question is now under con sideration.
those strange lapses from form liable to happen to any team in any game.
They will make of their players national heroes and moral world champions. By the time they reach New York they will really think they are real champions and not just champion wanglers. They will be met by the Mayor and Corporation, by the town band and a whole corps of mounted cops on hooting motor-cycles. They will parade up Broadway to the City Hall and, if they have the lifts running again by that time, adoring compatriots will empty waste-paper baskets on their heads and pelt them with telephone books from the win
dows of office buildings. Such is glory according to the American plan.
THE ENGLISH TEAM
Canada may have some justifiable cause for complaint against those players in the English team who left the land which had taught them ice hockey to play for England.
That would not, however, seem to be an adequate reason for suspending them. It is no reason at all for questioning their amateur status. That should have been settled once and for all by the Olympic ruling.
Canada knows as much as any country, and more than most, about the elastiqy of the term " amateur." We have views about it ourselves, it is a much abused word and a much abused status but, failing a definite decision either to define it or eliminate it, we would suggest that, if the council of the Olympic Games accept a player as an amateur, that ought to be enough for any national body. The Olympic council is at least unprejudiced and impartial.
National qualification is quite another matter. It varies in different games and in different countries and there are a thousand reasons why it should. But everywhere, except in Germany, it is considered enough that a player be born in the land for which he is chosen to play.
The English birth certificates of every member of the English Olympic Ice Hockey team were available at headquarters for anyone interested to sec. In how many cases, in how many games, could Canada, or the United States, offer the same evidence for their own representatives. Rather should Canada be ashamed that, having had these players so long and having taught theria so much, they had not been able to instil into them a love of Canada and a desire to serve an adopted country they knew so well in preference to a motherland they hardly knew at all.
international matches between the countries of the British Isles are quite a different matter. Among them, though rivalry is intense, jealousy is unknown. Their matches arc tremendously keen, but they are scrupulously clean.
The soccer internationals between England and Scotland provide the finest football in any season. Every inch of the way is fought, quarter is neither given nor asked and, whatever the result, the friendship of the players is not impaired, but increased.
In this year's Rugby series Ireland, by advance reports and their showing against the All Blacks, reputed to be the least promising of the international sides, shows signs of winning the triple crown.
Nobody can pretend that there is anything particularly cordial in the political relations between Ireland and the United Kingdom, but it is just as undeniable that, if the Irishmen pull off 'this rugby victory, they will be acclaimed unselfishly and proclaimed, whole-heartedly, deserving champions.
Ireland's own pleasure in her victory will be hardly greater than that of the teams and lands she beats.
WHAT INTERNATIONALS SHOULD BE
That is what internationals should be, that is the effect on mutual relations they should have. Handled thus, they can do what treaties and conferences hardly ever do: they can breed good feeling, understanding and friendship. If they do not do that, if they make bad blood and create, or increase, a leeling of hatred and distrust, then it would be far better if they were wiped out altogether.
Nobody in touch with international Sport to-day imagines for a moment that it does anything but international harm. By cricket the bond with Australia is repeatedly strained almost to breaking point, the Olympic Games, behind the scenes, is just a series of free fights, and dirty fights to boot. The atmosphere of international contests is foreign to any accepted ideas of sportsmanship, and the sooner they are discontinued altogether, the better.
A GREAT FIGHT
It would be hard to imagine any matching more attractive, and more likely to produce a record crowd, than that between Petersen and McAvoy, due at Earls Court next month.
The purse is enormous for this country, £9,000, of which rather more than half goes to Petersen, win, lose or draw. According to modern practice, that is as it should be; Petersen is a champion with a title at stake. But if MeAvoy should beat John Henry Lewis for the light-heavyweight world's championship a different complexion might be put upon the matter.
There will not be so great a difference in weight as might at first be imagined. Petersen fights around about thirteen stone and recently in Amenca McAvoy scaled about twelve-three and is getting heavier with each fight.
It ought to be the best fight staged in England for many a long day and, the more we think about it, the less inclined are we to tip a winner.