Category Archives: High School Boys’ Sports

Before Johnny Weismuller: How the Illinois Athletic Club Helped Forge the Modern Sport of Swimming and Create Olympians; Essay by Robert Pruter

The Illinois Athletic Club is best known has the home for the great Johnny Weismuller, the greatest swimmer of the 1920s and later Tarzan in the movies, but the club had built a foundation the previous decade producing world record holders and Olympians and dominating American national team championships. Continue reading

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The Birth of High School Gymnastics in Chicago; Essay by Robert Pruter

IIllinois since the 1920s has historically been among the top, if not the top, gymnastics programs in the high schools. The sport was pioneered in the state in Chicago, where high school physical education instructors, who came out of the German Turners and Czech Sokols, pioneered and promoted gymnastics competition in the Chicago Public High School League. Continue reading

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Indoor Golf: A Golden Age of Sports Craze for Working Gentlemen, Shopping Ladies, and Well-Bred High School Boys and Girls; Essay by Robert Pruter

Indoor golf was a rage in the major urban centers for two decades, from around 1910 to around 1930. It was largely an urban recreational activity, engaged in by gentlemen businessmen and upper middle class women shoppers during their downtown lunch break. It was also a competitive sport involving high school players to golf professionals. Continue reading

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High School Football Intersectional Contests, 1902-1914: Proxy Battles between the East and the West for College Football Supremacy; Essay by Robert Pruter

American football began intersectional competition in the first decades of the twentieth century, the first of which was between the East (meaning the Northeast) and the West (meaning the Midwest). But this competition began erratically, and because of the lack of intersectional contests among the colleges, they therefore used high schools in their respective sections as proxy competitors. What prevailed was the Midwest showing its superiority with its fast, open game, making the most of the forward pass, as the high schools in Chicago dominated competition over those in New York City and Massachusetts. Continue reading

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