Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 45.djvu/747

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THE FOOTBALL SITUATION.

only the best players, but the most successful teams have contained the most moral and religious men. In a class prayer-meeting I once heard a man, who was for two years a most valuable player (a captain one of those years), declare that the great success of the team the previous season was, in his opinion, due to the fact that "among the team and substitutes there were so many praying men." As it was with this man, so it has ever been with the successful captains as well as the successful coachers at Yale. They have been God-fearing men, upright in action and clean in speech.

With reference to the colleges, the good effects of the game of football which they produce in common with the other sports need only a passing mention. Among these may be instanced the esprit de corps to which they give rise, the healthy excitements necessary to young men which they furnish—excitements which, for many, replace and moderate, if they do not entirely drive out, the old excitements of gambling and drinking, gate-stealing, contests between town and gown, formerly so prevalent and so difficult to deal with on the part of the college authorities. But in addition to these and other benefits to the college world, football with its contests and training comes at a time of the year when it does the most good not only in the directions mentioned, but in two other ways. Boys who are just entering college and, who are for the first time in their careers freed from the restraints of school or home, it introduces to a new discipline, a discipline of their fellows, and to new ideals, which, if not the highest, are at least respectable and worthy of imitation. It brings many of them in contact with the best men in college, and saves not a few of them from wasting their idle hours in foolish and hurtful dissipation. Again, it absorbs the attention of all the college to such a degree as to divert the minds of many of those upper classmen who formerly thought they had a mission to perform in acquainting the new men with the submission required of them in their college home. The discipline of the sport coming at the time it does has almost entirely done away with that occupation. The freshmen have learned their lesson in a better way, under better instructors. The discipline of football has almost banished the discipline of hazing, or left it tame and without excuse for its existence.

To the public the sport is most valuable, especially for those who have boys to educate. The game has spread from the colleges to the schools. The discipline of play has helped the discipline of the study room. Indeed, it has supplemented it with a new education. It has furnished stronger bodies with better brains. It has given an antidote to excessive culture, which often enfeebles the body while it refines the mind. It has given