I HAVE always been a playboy and have wasted (if you like) a large proportion of my life playing games, but I have had such an enormous amount of fun in competitive sport that I find it difficult to regret the time I have given to it. I began playing baseball when I was five and kept at it until I was forty-five; then, although broken tendons in the leg quickly healed, I decided to quit. I have never played any game, outdoors or in, for money; for my excitement in games, my joy in winning, my sorrow in defeat, have always been so intense that no additional stimulus has been necessary.
I do not really regret the lost time. I regret in learning games that I did not take them more seriously. If I were to live my life over again, I should get early enough good instruction in golf and lawn tennis, especially in the latter. I have never risen above mediocrity in any sport except long distance running, though I have won a fair share of prizes. In 1887, when I was twenty-two, I won the cross- country championship of Yale, running nine miles in fifty- four minutes. There were twenty-three starters. I ran in fourth or fifth place for half an hour, then I increased the pace, and passed every man but one, who was so far ahead of me I could not see him. And indeed, if he had not been an inexperienced Freshman, four years younger than I, he would have won. I did not get a sight of him until about three-quarters of a mile from the finish, when I not only saw him but also saw he was running well. I knew then the only way I could beat him would be to pass him just