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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 32.djvu/743

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THE

POPULAR SCIENCE

MONTHLY.

 

APRIL, 1888.


 

COLLEGE ATHLETICS AND PHYSICAL DEVELOPMENT.
By Professor EUGENE L. RICHARDS,

OF YALE COLLEGE.

IN an article on "The Physical Proportions of the Typical Man,"[1] Dr. Sargent has taken occasion to speak of athletics in connection with the general subject of physical development. In the following pages I wish to show that neither in that article nor in the subsequent article, on the "Physical Characteristics of Distinguished Athletes,"Ibid., November, 1887. did he do justice to the influence of athletics in "reminding the individual of the ultimate aim of every kind of physical exercise"; that his remarks on the loss resulting to athletics from "making excellence in achievement the primary object" of them would have had more force if they had been more discriminating; and, finally, to present some statistics which lead to conclusions favorable to athletics.

"Every writer on education, from Plato to Herbert Spencer, has advocated physical activity as a means of attaining that full-orbed and harmonious development of all parts of the human economy so essential to robust, vigorous health." Theorists, then, are agreed upon this as the "ultimate aim of every kind of physical exercise." But we all know how difficult it is to get the best theories put into practice. They may commend themselves as the very best, but they fall far short of their good to men till they can be made working theories. In this respect the "harmonious-development" theory, whether mental or physical, forms no exception to other theories. But once get hold of some motive by which to induce even a few individuals to put a theory into practice, and half the battle is won. If it is a really good theory, its own practical examples prove the fact. "Wisdom is justified of her

  1. "Scribner's Monthly," July, 1887.