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Thanksgiving game in which Harvard was represented, two or three years ago, fairly bristles with hero-making incidents. Here are
some samples: "Wrightington's collar-bone broken; Hollowell was carried off the field disabled; Murphy lay bleeding and insensible on the ground, the result of a hard punch in the stomach; Brewer was hurt in the first half, but was able to resume play, though subsequently retired by the physician's orders. Just before the game began, George Gray, the Harvard halfback, who broke his leg in a practice game, hobbled down to the line on crutches and received an ovation. The only Butterworth was more severely injured this afternoon than ever before in his football career. His right eye was almost gouged out in the first half, and he can not see out of it at all.”
Under the head of “Thanksgiving Barbarities” the eidtor of Good Health calls the members of the football team "fighting men” and says their so-called game is attended with "barbarities such as are seldom exceeded even in savage lands, and which, in such semi-civilized countries as India, China, and Japan, would be regarded with positive horror and disgust.” In the same article, the author quotes from an act of the Scottish Parliament, passed in the reign of James I., (died 1437) prohibiting football: “The ball in this play may be compared to an infernal spirit: for whosoever catcheth it, fareth straightway like a madman, struggling and fighting with those who go about to hold him. It is accompanied with many dangers, some of which do even fall to the player's share; for proof thereof, when the hurling is ended, you shall see them returning home as from a pitched battle, with bloody pates, bones broken and out of joint, and such bruises as serve to shorten their days; and yet all is in good play, and
never attorney nor coroner troubled for the matter."
Another quotation taken from Sir Thomas Elyot's "The Govenour", published in 1531, shows the English game of "foote balle” to be "nothynge but beastly furie and extreme violence, whereof proceedeth hurte.”
President Sewall, of the Denver Board of Aldermen, made investigation of football injuries with the following result:
"In the battle of Gettysburg the mortality was three and one-half per cent of those engaged. The figures show, so far as they have been obtainable, that the mortality among football players this year has been four per cent of those engaged in the struggles. These figures include the deaths caused by the game, not the accidents that were only followed by injuries which were not fatal. Advocates of a law against football have the advantage of these statistics, which can not be disputed."
A newspaper clipping before me contains the following statements:
"A few years ago the Superintendent of the United States Military Academy, at West Point, submitted a report in which he called attention to the injuries received by those engaging in football. It showed tnat 27 men playing football received 37 injuries: while 198 men exercising in the riding hall received 26 injuries in the same period three months. The 101 men exercising in the gymnasium in the same period received 10 injuries. The time lost by students on account of injuries was divided this way: Through football, 106 days; through riding, 71 days; through gymnasium work, 58 days."
“The superintendent called the attention of the Board of Visitors to this showing, and testified that the distraction from studies caused by interest in the game was a greater injury than the contusions and sprains he had record
ed, because it affected the entire school. The Board of Visitors made report condemning the match games. The. General of the Army (General Schofield, now retired) made a report on the subject which was laid before the President."
“As a result of the recommendation of the General, considered at a cabinet meeting, an order was issued providing that the Superintendent should make regulations for the game, and that the Military Academy team should not play games away from West Point. A similar order was issued by the Secretary of the Navy concerning the team at Annapolis — and that put an end to the West Point-Annapolis matches."
This spasmodic effort on the part of government authorities to control football among the military and naval cadets was not far-reaching, as the "Army and Navy Register”, for October, 1897, reports the Annapolis Cadets as playing match games of football with a number of teams representing different eastern educational institutions. Some games are reported to be “full of ginger" and cause for laudation is found in the fact that while the cadets stood "the great weight hurled against their lines” without physical injury their opponents “frequently called time for injured players."
The brutalities of football, prize fights, and other delectable sports of the same kidney are no new things under the sun. It is probable that some college football cranks know enough of Greek to read Homer with the aid of a translation. In Book XXIII, of the Iliad, an account is given of the brutal games and sports instituted by Achilles in honor of his dead friend, Patroclus. In a boxing contest, in which the cestus was used, Epeius defeated Eurylaus. The poet describes the condition of the vanquished I use Bryant's translation: "His friends came round
and led him thence with dragging fect and head that drooped from side to side, while from his mouth came clotted blood.” The sporting reporters of the newspapers should hasten to familiarize themselves with the contents of the Iliad, the Odyssey, and the Aeneid, for the authors of these classic works excelled in minute, graphic descriptions of which the quoted passage affords a worthy example.
The hero of ancient wars, recorded in classic tongues, was a brute and a bully. The noble lineage of Achilles did not rescue him from being an inhuman monster who found delight in vile insult to the body of a fallen foe. His ruthless murder of captives is not robbed of its atrocity because committed to honor the funeral rites of a friend.
The value of one's physical strength depends upon the use made of it. Samson had long hair – long enough to insure him a captaincy of a football team in these times. He was an expert in handling foxes and firebrands; in wielding jaw bones of asses; in pulling down prisons even in his blindness but Delilah was his undoing. Says Bulwer: “It is rare, indeed, that a great intellect is found in the form of a giant." A bulky frame indicates one thing, a lofty expanse of brow, another.
In our college museum are two busts, one representing a primitive man, the other the intellectual and refined features of the great botanist, Linnaeus. The brutal instincts of the former are glaringly apparent in his massive, coarse, and bestial features. The best that is in man, guided by reason, inAuenced by sensibility, and held to right direction by will, is represented in the facial make-up of the latter. These forms give an object lesson to every one who looks upon them with attentive interest.
Football ought to be popular with the students of Baylor University, a
Baptist institution located at Waco, ing admission to the state's higher inTexas. These recipients of Christian stitutions of learning. education, at the expense of the pock- Some of the zest with which football ets of decent people, recently mobbed is carried on would be lost were the editor of “The Iconoclast', a local citement, as to results, not intensified paper that had charged the authorities by the gambling spirit which is not of the university with incapacity and confined to the professed "sports” but the students with immorality. The stu- exhibits itself among students themdents' redressing a grievance, real or selves and their friends. The tendency otherwise, by mob violence fails to con- of students to stake money on a match vince the public of their innocence, game of football, and on other events while it does bring more prominently of a like character, can not be truthforward the question often suggested in fully denied. It is bad enough for one reference to much of our so-called to bet his own money; it is folly borhigher education "Is it worth dering on criminality for him to stake cost?”
money which he holds as an agent. A If college halls are to resound with self-respecting son would not misuse the senseless yells and hoots of a mob the bounty of his father. For a son to of football cranks, if college play- bet away the money his parents progrounds and gymnasiums are to be vide for his education, is another way monopolized by long-haired and be- to evince manliness of the kind which padded athletes, if the culture of the is in such distinguished favor among soul is to be held in abeyance while all football apologists. brutal, animal instincts are encouraged The coach of one of the football to run riot, it may well be considered teams, prior to Thansgiving day conwhether the state would not be the tests, said to an enthusiast who was gainer by the restriction of higher ed- preparing to stake his money with a ucation, at the public expense, to those liberality not born of discretion, "Judge, who give most promise of profiting by don't let your ardor run away with their training. The free-school idea, it your judgment." I would like to name would seem, is not a modern thought- the "Judge” who is going around shakproduct. When the power of Babylon ing his money in people's faces. Were brought Jerusalem into captivity, this brazen-faced character the Nebuchadnezzar spake unto the mas- bench, we might expect decisions as ter of his eunuchs, commanding him to unjust and iniquitous as that probring certain Israelite youths "in whom nounced by Angelo, whose hypocrisy was no blemish, but well-favored and Shakespeare has held up to just scorn skillful in all wisdom, and cunning in and execration. knowledge, and understanding science, The honor that is said to prevail and such as had ability in them" that among thieves would be a moral adthey might be taught the learning and vance upon that which marks the contongue of the Chaldeans. And the king duct of some football players. Fremade provision for the maintenance of quently any sharp practice, however unthese youths for three years to the end fair and dishonorable, will be employthat they might be prepared by rigor- ed to secure the victory in which the ous training for the public service. The contestants are often so deeply intersurvival of the fittest, with limitations, ested pecuniarily. Paid "thugs” are immight be made applicable to those ask- ported, at no slight expense, and en
rolled as members of teams that enter a contest flying college colors. Yet, "we must have football anyway" whether its objectionable features be eliminated or not.
The saloon is a catch basin for some of the drift that floats along with every football tide. I venture the assertion that few saloon-keepers can be found who are not pronounced in their approval of football. These worthies, who thrive by the undoing of their fellows, reap a money harvest upon the advent to their vicinity of people who patronize prize fights, dog fights, cock fights, and football. The demoralization of football is seen in the increasing drunkenness connected with it. A body of college students, free from thought of lesson and lecture, with no keen sense of propriety or duty, en route to or from the scene of a football contest, that does not contain a number of halfdrunken, loud-mouthed, shallow-pated rowdies, is the exception. Any one whose misfortune it has been to be a passenger in a car filled with students, and hangers-on, returning from a football match will have no difficulty in calling to mind
and incidents which more than prove my statement.
Perhaps some may think that the football "craze” is given undue notice in this paper. My words could not give it more prominence than it has assumed in the educational life of the country.
The representatives of seven collegiate institutions met in Chicago in Thanksgiving week. These institutions are named “western" though they belong to the north half of the Mississippi valley. The first subject that came up for consideration was the football question. There was
a marked unanimity of opinion that the football phase of athletics was in need of prompt and wise modification and control. “Diseases desperate grown, by desper
ate appliance are removed." These representatives of some of the most noted colleges in the country evidently did not share in the belief of the noted sports that the rules governing football "are now practically perfect.” They did not "in any event believe in football.” Their first decision was that preparatory students should be ruled out of the game; their next, that a student should have one year's attendance at college before being eligible to play on a college football team. A resolution calling for less brutality in football contests was passed without a dissenting vote.
All persons having the interest of higher education at heart will commend the action of these college representatives. Some may regret that action looking to the prohibition of match games between the football teams of different institutions was not taken.
In college circles it is sometimes claimed that football advertises an educational institution. So it does, but not in a manner that promotes its upbuilding. Says the Cleveland World:
"Strange as it may seem to the faculties of colleges and universities, there are parents who will not send their sons to an institution which brags of its ability to do them up; send them to the hospital; and maim them for life in football games, cane rushes, and other head-breaking, leg-dislocating, backinjuring sports."
If football “has come to stay”, as predicted, its brutal and dangerous features must be proscribed. Its demoralizing accompaniments idleness, gambling, and drunkenness must be sternly and unflinchingly repressed. Its practice must not be permitted to make such inroads on the student's time as to wreck his legitimate college work. The game, as played at college, must have no tendency to professionalism. There are enough sports now,
who live by their wits and the labor of others, without the establishing of recruiting offices, in our educational institutions, to swell their number. The wished-for victory in a match game is the chief stumbling-block in the way of wholesome college athletics. This desire limits the number of active players, calls upon the chosen few for the "incessant practice” that demoralizes their college work, and sends a wave of unwholesome excitement
the whole student body. An expert, a professional must be called in to give direction to the “constant drill” required. This person swells at once into great importance, and his appearance in chapel is the signal for an outburst of student enthusiasm that manifests itself in prolonged and unrestrained hoots and yells.
When the rules governing football shall eliminate its time-wasting, dangerous, and brutal features; when they shall provide a game in which other players — and in much larger numbers
than a few broad-chested, stronglimbed athletes can engage; when they shall be framed in recognition of the fact that all athletic games in college are but means to an end, and that end always subordinate to the accomplishment of scholastic work, yet promotive of it, something will have been done to divest the game of its most objectionable features.
Some recognized demoralization of college effort and discipline would also be removed by faculty regulations prohibiting all match games that take students away from the institution at any time in the college year. These match games are what arouse an interest and excitement inimical to study, to literary work of the college societies, to the right use of the library, to serious thought and moral elevation, and to the soul's growth under religious teachings and influence. Where interest is
centered, there is the direction of effort. Lessons and other college duties must suffer neglect, when such absorbing and exciting interest is focused upon things without the orbit of legitimate college work. College spirit of the right kind is commendable; fool spirit is to be deplored, and ought to be suppressed.
An editorial in Silver and Gold, the student publication at the State University, Boulder, after expressing regret that representatives of Colorado College, at Colorado Springs, had been in advance of the University students in securing a debate with representatives of the University of Nebraska, continues as follows:
"Now that football season is over, a new apology will have to be devised for non-existence of the literary societies.”
That apology will be found whenever some other call, such as bicycling, skating, sleigh-riding, dancing, or cardplaying meets with attention from those who have practiced themselves in neglect of duty in their quest of amusement and sport. Things harmless in themselves become hurtful and demoralizing when engaged in to excess at the wrong time.
Is all college sport to be monopolized and demoralized by a coterie of students whose presence in college suggests everything else than the performance of its scheduled work? Few opposed to football, as the game is practiced and thereby known, would deny to students opportunity for proper physical culture. There many proper, innocent games which, played in the open air and with moderation as to time and effort, give the participants the glow of health and increased power for mental effort. The best gymnasium in Colorado is the out-of-door one which our health-giving climate makes accessible almost throughout the year. Our young people ought to be