Open main menu

Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 24.djvu/466

This page has been validated.
450
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

for men who wish to try for positions on these organizations. The candidates are put into regular training in the gymnasium, while the season prevents exercise out-of-doors. Nearly a hundred men come forward, who are actually in training for at least one hour a day. They are required to live rightly in all respects. Each man is bound to avoid excesses of all kinds. The force of a public opinion created by the sight of these men attending to their physical development, and living according to laws and rules, acts upon the college world to encourage regularity of life and obedience to authority. It is a moral power in the community. As soon as the season permits, the men are sent out-of-doors. The crews take their seats in the boats. The nines take their positions in the field. The spring regatta terminates the practice of the class crews, but, as that event occurs about three weeks before the June examinations, and five weeks before the close of the college year, it does not leave the young men a long time without exercise. The University, Consolidated, and Freshman Nines, the Lacrosse Team, and the University Crew (with sometimes a second eight), continue their practice much longer, some of them stopping work only after the close of the college year.

Now, it may be said that the writer has only shown that regular exercise has been secured during a few weeks of the first term to one hundred and forty men at the most, and during the whole winter term to one hundred men; and in the spring and summer to one hundred men part of the term, and to half that number during the whole of the term. Granted. But there are other organizations which induce men to exercise. The Athletic Association has already been mentioned. This gives three exhibitions; one during the winter or early spring in the gymnasium, and two in the open air, one in the summer and one in the fall. The Dunham Rowing Club has a membership of forty-four men. Then there are canoe clubs, tennis clubs, and gun clubs. It would be putting the estimate too low to say that at least half of the undergraduate members of the academic and scientific departments get quite a regular amount of systematic out-door exercise from, or in consequence of, the present system of college athletics. This activity, too, has been mainly the outgrowth of the attention given to boating and to base-ball. They had the first regular organizations, and the others have taken pattern from them. It is no argument against the system that all the members of the university do not take advantage of it. The need of exercise is met, and opportunities for regular and systematic exercise are given, with inducements to take it, which do act upon at least half of the membership of the two departments most in need of it. The system might do more good if time were set apart by the various Faculties for the purpose of encouraging exercise, but in considering the system it must be borne in mind that it has grown up in a continual struggle for existence; and, until within a few years, without either help from graduates or