Sporting doctor finds a link

Granada’s People and Places doctor enjoys a sporting life

TVTimes masthead
From the TVTimes for week commencing 30 July 1961

IN the surgery of the People and Places doctor, not a stethoscope was in sight. His desk was covered with photographs of sporting celebrities — and some of them you can see here.

“These are for Granada’s Evening Surgery next Friday,” he said. “I shall be giving a doctor’s eye view of some of the giants of the world of sport. All have in common one remarkable quality, which I think will be a surprise to many viewers.

“I don’t want to say what it is in advance, but these pictures might suggest the link they have between them.”

A man puts golf clubs into the boot of his car
The doctor goes to golf

As we went through the photographs, discussing the achievements that have made world headlines, I discovered the doctor is a sportsman.

Since he was given his first cricket bat at the age of five, he has tried his hand at most sports. But, as the picture of Ben Hogan reminded him, golf is the one he took up late.

All the same, he has done well at it. In two years he got his handicap down to three, and then went on to win a top Northern tournament.

Sam Langford’s photograph recalled his interest in boxing and the time he was President of Manchester University Boxing Club. That phase came roughly between the lacrosse period, when he was picked to play for Lancashire schoolboys, and the rugby period, when he played for the university. But of all the sports stars we talked about, Fleetwood-Smith, the Australian bowler, was obviously the one admired most by the doctor, and cricket the game he loved above all the others.

By the time he was a medical student he was captaining the combined English Universities team. At 42, he has just stepped down as captain of his local eleven.

Today his sport is divided between cricket — he plays once and sometimes twice a week throughout the summer — and golf — two or three rounds a week in the winter.

“Golf,” he said, “is particularly suitable for a doctor, because it can be played at any time. Cricket is different. Someone has to be found to look after things for me.

“Fortunately, I have a good arrangement with another doctor who likes football just as much as I like cricket. In winter I stand in for him so that he can go to his football matches. In summer he stands in for me so that I can go to my cricket.”

And the result of all this exercise? Well, the doctor may be going rather bald on top, but he can still put in a half hour session on his bagpipes without losing his breath and he hasn’t had an illness since his schooldays.

Which isn’t bad for a man on the wrong side of 40.

Tenley Albright
TENLEY ALBRIGHT was the United States junior ice skating champion at 14. Three years later, in 1953, she won the world title and repeated her triumph in 1955. At 20 she retired to go to medical school

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