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Newspaper Page Text
REMAKING CRIPPLED GIRL INTO GREAT
ATHLETE HER FIGHT FOR HEALTH
BY MRS. LILLIAN D. BECKER.
Article No. 2.
Why should it be"human nature to
despise simple means in getting life's
biggest prize I do not know. But it
is a fact that the development of
strength, grace and beauty by or
dinary processes, without costly and
involved systems, is generally neg
lected for no other reason.
The average person likes to rely on
health as a gift instead of an accom
plishment a gift of creation or some
In swimming her way back to phy
sical soundness, Dorothy had to work
out her own salvation. The method
was as simple as breathing and run
ning. A veritable bundle of skin and
bones, to begin with, she would re
main in the water two hours a day;
not merely wading, but out where the
heave of the sea rose strong; where
powerful men bathers vied with one
another in helping "the little invalid
girl" to learn to swim.
It did not take her long to mas
She learned to float on her back,
watching the gulls careening over
head. Gradually she braved the bois
terous surf, clinging to the ropes at
first so frail that every surge seem
ed sure to fling her off. She had the
fighting determination to live. She
Seven weeks after our arrival Dor
othy was entered in an amateur ex
hibition contest, and so promising
was her showing even then, not only
of increased health, but In the possi
bility of becoming an expert in
aquatics, that her father and I deter
mined to employ a swimming instruc
tor for her.
After that her development in
While I believe this course would
not have been necessary to put Dor
othy in the pink of health, it did help
her conserve strength and- probably
prevented mistakes which might have
retarded her progress.
That she must strengthen the flab
by muscles of her back if she wanted Qf
to become a proficient diver was the
first command of the instructor. As
a result she took up gymnasium
From that time on every muscle
has been carefully attended to and
watched; coaxed into proper develop
ment to bring about co-ordination of
the whole body.
Tumbling, ring and bar work, fenc
ing, dancing, punching the bag, base
ball and handball, Indian clubs, and
later boxing, were taken up in turn...
This insured symmetrical develop- '
ment, so that today there is not a
single muscle on Dorothy's body
which is knotty or unbecoming to the
She was tended like a fine animal.
And how many fathers and moth
ers bestow more attention and scien
tific care upon their pet animals than
upon their own children.
Many even, ate shocked at the bare
reference to boys and girls as ani
mals. But when you are engaged in
the job of body-building you are deal
ing with bone and muscle, largely,
and it is only in recognizing that
body as a physical machine that it
can be successfully remodeled.
"Swimming is a wonderful cura- A
tive for nervous afflictions, espe- 9'
dally salt water swimming. Many
children with bowed legs could
straighten them In a short time
by persistent exercise in the
water, the constant kicking in the
strokes, without any weight upon
the legs, eliminating the" 'bow.' "
Mrs. Lillian D. Becker-