Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

From the Archive - 06.04.1984: News

Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

From the Archive - 06.04.1984: News

Article excerpt

Knock boys' boxing events on the head

I recently attended a meeting where a colleague - a man in his mid-40s - claimed it was an act of considerable bravery for someone of his age to light up a cigarette in such company. The company to which he referred comprised education advisers, headteachers and education administrators, and all but the speaker were non-smokers.

A quick check revealed that more than half of them had at one point been slaves to the weed. Not all that surprising, for at one time all film heroes demonstrated their masculinity by speaking through a nicotine haze. It was the done thing to smoke.

Gradually the medical evidence and the efforts of anti-smoking advocates have brought a marked changed in attitudes. It is fairly easy to see a parallel in schoolboy boxing.

At the time when John Wayne was riding off into the sunset, rolling his cigarette one-handed, almost every town, city, county and region staged schoolboy boxing championships.

As a young teacher in Brighton, I remember the annual festival of supervised fisticuffs. Hundreds of spectators were attracted to this gladiatorial arena and, providing the difference in weight between the contestants did not exceed four pounds, the bout (it was never called a fight) was deemed safe to take place. …

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