Open main menu

Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 24.djvu/608

This page has been validated.

eral statement no argument is required to prove absurd. Men of muscle do need exercise. Indeed, it may be said that they must have exercise. The more systematic such exercise is, the better their brains work, as observing instructors of such men will testify. The reason is plain. They enjoy better health. The men who suffer most from the confinement of student-life are the men of vigorous bodies. Their vital force is like a flame. It must be fed with oxygen. Many of them, without the capacity of self-control, and without the health which they gain by exercise under the present system of athletics, would never be able to graduate. Many others would graduate with impaired bodily powers, and others still as slaves to habits of dissipation.

6. It is said, again, that the system may develop men, but it only makes fine brutes of them, and sets before the college a false standard of excellence, viz., one entirely physical. It can not be said with truth that the standard is false. The standard of good scholarship remains, and many of the athletes take high rank in scholarship. The standard of good conduct remains. The students still respect their fellows who approach these standards, yet they think no worse of a man, but rather better of him, and rightly, too, if he be a thorough man, and have a manly body as well as a good mind and upright character. Other things being equal, the bright mind and good heart in a strong body are better than the same things in a weak body, because they can accomplish more in life.

It is further said that the applause bestowed upon some feat in any of the athletic contests helps to establish some boy in the conceit that he is a great man, because he can do such things, and that, therefore, study is of no further use to him. There may be such youths, but, whatever be their fate at other colleges, they seldom appear at the college with which the writer is connected, and when they do appear do not stay.

7. The evil of a general nature last to be considered is that of expense.

The expenses of the organizations which have special university representatives are only taken into account, since these are the organizations of which the evils have been so loudly proclaimed to the public. In the table given below (for Tale College), the "expenses" and "income" are the totals for both university and class clubs combined. For base-ball, foot-ball, and Lacrosse, the amounts in the column headed "Earned" are made up for the most part of gate-money taken at exhibition-games. For the boat clubs, of the amount put in the same column, $1,045.36 was the net result of a dramatic entertainment given by the students for the benefit of the university club. The balance was obtained from entrance and carriage fees at regattas, renting of lockers, and sale of boat.