Before the Olympics have run their course, we really ought to consider some of the ways sports have figured in LDS history, no?
One of the early aims of the Mutual Improvement Associations was to provide wholesome recreation for LDS young people – in a day when people made their own fun, the “fun” that young people too often made, if you can trust the newspapers, involved street corners and vandalism and late nights. A “library and gymnasium” movement begun in the early years of the 20th century encouraged the re-establishment of the ward libraries which MIAs of an earlier generation had collected, and fostered the development of sports programs, including girls’ fitness classes in the old Social Hall and the building of the first Deseret Gym in Salt Lake City.
Wards and stakes in rural areas had no hope of duplicating the facilities that the church built in Salt Lake City, but that didn’t stop them from going whole-heartedly into the new recreation program. Representative of their activities are the stake gatherings held by the Millard Stake, with headquarters at Fillmore, 150 miles south of Salt Lake City.
The three-day meet held at Holden during April 1910 was the stake’s second annual meet. Eight of the stake’s eleven wards entered athletes – both girls and boys – into competition, more than 100 contestants in all. A report of the event preserves a list of the events and the winners:
100-yard dash: Karl H. Day, Fillmore, 10-1/5 seconds
220-yard dash: Karl H. Day, 23-3/4 seconds
440-yard dash: Karl H. Day, 53-3/4 seconds
880-yard run: John Lundahl, Oak City, 2.01 minutes
880-yard relay race: John Lundahl, Winslow Walker, Charles C. Roper, Ray Finlanson, all Oak City, time not reported
One-mile run: Charles C. Roper, Oak City, 4.48 minutes
220-yard hurdle race: Alonzo Huntsman, Fillmore, 27 seconds
Standing high jump: Alonzo Huntsman, height not reported
Running high jump: Alonzo Huntsman, 5 feet, 9 inches
Broad jump, Alonzo Huntsman, 20 feet 6 inches
Shot put: Fred Nielson, Leamington, 32 feet 1 inch
hammer throw: Stanley Lovell, Oak City, 95 feet 8 inches
Pole vault: Fred S. Lyman, Oak City, 8 feet
There were three basketball tournaments, two for the men and one for the women. Oak City took the senior men’s trophy and Hinckley’s team the junior. The young ladies’ trophy was won by the team from tiny Oasis.
The Millard Stake was way ahead of the curve – their sports meet was combined with a literary competition long before the Olympics included a cultural component:
The story-telling component was won by Edith Cooper, Deseret, telling the story of Queen Esther; second prize went to Ada Brunson, Fillmore, whose story was about Miriam.
Winners of the speech contest were A.J. Ashman, Fillmore, on “The Peace Movement,” and Richard Nixon (I kid you not), Holden, on “Abraham Lincoln.”
Silver cups were awarded to all the sports winners, including a cup to Oak City’s ward as having carried off the highest honors overall; the oratorical winners were presented with books (titles, unfortunately, not reported).
Photos, top to bottom:
Hinckley team (Junior Basketball winners): standing: F.L. Hickman, coach. Top row: Arthur Reeve, Lucin Whitehead, Johnny Wright, Clarence Bishop. Bottom row: William Blake, Moroni Moody, Johnny Greener.
Oasis team (Ladies’ Basketball winners): Top row: Hulda Hansen, Inga Christensen, Carrie Jensen, Lella Langston, Dora Henry. Bottom row: Lillie Hansen, Ava Bennett.