In compiling this "Book of Athletics," no attempt has been made to produce an exhaustive treatise on every branch of sport now popular with the boys and girls of America. The design has been, rather, to give to those who are interested in, and have some knowledge of, the principal out-of-door sports the benefit of the experience and observation of those who have spent considerable time in their pursuit. Discussions which would be intelligible and of interest only to experts, as well as definitions and descriptions for the benefit of the wholly uninitiated, have been generally avoided.
In the list of games, no pretence has been made of including all that are practised at the present time: the intention has been to include those which have a strong hold on popularity, such as foot-ball, base-ball, rowing, tennis, cricket, swimming, skating, and the like.
Several forms of sport not properly included under the term "athletics," but which are eminently desirable for the recreative exercise they furnish, have been thought worthy of a place in a book which aims quite as much to awaken and increase a healthy interest in out-of-door life as to point the way to absolute excellence in competition. At the same time, it is felt that the advice offered by such authorities as Messrs. Bancroft, Dwight, Cumnock, Bliss, Mapes, and others, cannot but be of interest to all lovers of sport.
The descriptive article on "Knots, Hitches, and Splices" has been included as a valuable adjunct to the paper on "yachting."