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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 24.djvu/467

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COLLEGE ATHLETICS.

favor from the college authorities. But, in view of the good already done by it as a voluntary system proceeding from the students themselves, no candid man can maintain that it should be put aside without a fair consideration of its merits. In addition to those already mentioned, we claim for it the following advantages:

1. The college is sending out a better breed of men. College athletics send their healthy influence into the schools, and in them consequently increased attention is given to physical development. Thus the material coming from the schools is improved. In college this material is better preserved and better developed under the present system of athletics. More well-trained minds in more forceful bodies are graduated from college than in former years. What President Eliot says on this subject is as applicable to Yale as to Harvard: "It is agreed on all hands that the increased attention given to physical exercise and athletic sports within the past twenty-five years has been, on the whole, of great advantage to the university; that the average physique of the mass of students has been sensibly improved, the discipline of the college been made easier and more effective, the work of many zealous students been done with greater safety, and the ideal student been transformed from a stooping, weak, and sickly youth, into one well-formed, robust, and healthy."

2. The system of college athletics gives opportunity for the development of certain qualities of mind and character not all provided for in the college curriculum, but qualities nevertheless quite as essential to true success in life as ripe scholarship or literary culture. Courage, resolution, and perseverance are required in all the men who excel in athletic sports. The faculty for organization, executive power, the qualities which enable men to control and lead other men, and again those other qualities by which men yield faithful obedience to recognized authority, are all called into action in every boat-race, in every ball contest, and through all the preliminary training. In athletics the college world is a little republic of young men with authority for government delegated to presidents, captains, and commodores, and loyally supported by the resources and bodies of the governed. Is the system not worth something as a means of preparation for the responsibilities of life in the larger republic outside the campus?

3. The system is conducive to the good order of the college. It conduces to good order in furnishing occupation for the physically active. There are men in every class who seem to require some outlet for their superabundant animal life. Before the day of athletics, such men supplied the class bullies in fights between town and gown, and were busy at night in gate-stealing and in other pranks now gone out of fashion. A number of them were dissipated men, and had to diversify the monotony of their class-room life by a spree and a row. Many such men, under the present system, find occupation for all this activity in regular training. A man who goes into training can not go on sprees,