Apr

16

 One spent many pleasant moments this weekend after uncovering a cache of books that no one has seen for some 80 years: Squash and Badminton Annual, the magazine of winter court games of Massachusetts 1932, and 1933 and Set For Three, A Brief History of Squash Rackets I, Massachussets, 1905-1934, Volume 1. One saw pictures and history of the game that started by displacing squash tennis in 1905 and already by 1927 allowed women the privilege of playing the game in the mornings at the Union Boat Club and the Harvard Club. Eleonara Sears was the womens champion and she was closely followed by Mrs. George Wightman, Miss Maurine Boyen and Mrs. Will Howe, and Miss Priscilla Bartol. The game took a big change in 1921 when Harry Cowles became the coach at Harvard until 1932 and taught the college kids the short drop and the volley pioneered by Palmer Dixon. Jack Summers, coach at MIT and John Skillman, coach at Yale, were already prominent in the pro circuit. It is rare that I read something that I don't learn something about markets and it was the case here.

Here's a list from the April 1934 magazine of don'ts in badminton.

1. Don't alter your grip for any stroke

2. Don't lose short

3. Don't try to kill everything

4. Don't omit to feint but not too often

5. Don't do a half-hearted smash

6. Don't try impossible strokes

7. Don't underrate your opponent

8. Don't give up trying

9. Don't forget to encourage your partner

10. Don't get in your partner's way

11. Don't forget that to lose your temper generally loses the game

12. Don't ever stand still but be always on the move.

The advice is very good for all activities including trading. Don't alter your grip, I would say, means don't go long and short the same day. Don't lose short— they didn't mean it, but going short is much riskier of the squeeze than going long. What I think they mean is don't stand too far away from the net. I would say that one shouldn't stand too far away from the screen or leave it during pay. Never underrate your opponent. Don't ever succumb to thinking that the other side isn't very smart. It only takes a few smart people at the margin to put prices to where they should be. Particularly dangerous is the idea that fixed income people are foolish and that a big inflation awaits us with fixed income prices falling 30 or 50 points to 30 year rates of 4% or so but the foolish people in fixed income don't understand that increases in the monetary base or money supply are guaranteed to cause tremendous inflation. Don't try impossible strokes is don't try to fit your trades through a key hole and give yourself many options to get out of the trade rather than waiting for the one singular event. You get the picture. Yet another of the 523 different areas where market people can learn from another activity.


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