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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 46.djvu/157

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THE

POPULAR SCIENCE

MONTHLY.

 

DECEMBER, 1894.


 

ATHLETICS FOR CITY GIRLS.
By MARY TAYLOR BISSELL, M. D.

IF any of my readers should chance to belong to a hardy boat crew or to a college ball team, or if in days past they have ever been numbered in such a muscular community, they will doubtless feel that the title of my paper is its own executioner. For so long as baseball and football and the boat race stand for the national expression of athletics, the experiences of girls in any similar department will seem like comparing moonlight unto sunlight, and water unto wine. In speaking of athletics for city girls, however, we shall use the phrase in a liberal sense, including not only out-of-door sports but also the general feats and training of the gymnasium. The spirit for physical recreation has invaded the atmosphere of the girl's life as well as that of the boy, and demands consideration from her standpoint.

Before we consider the influence of athletics, we may well inquire into the physical status of the girl. What is the type of the city girl, and is there any reason to believe that she is in need of any new influence to further her development? In age she is presumably under twenty; at all events, she has not yet reached that period of stable womanly development which physiology places at about the age of twenty-five. She is presumably well housed, well fed, and more or less well clothed, according to the intelligence of her guardians. She spends at least half of her young life in the schoolroom, most of that time at a desk in more or less cramped and unfavorable positions. The average city schoolgirl spends from two to four hours daily in study, according to her ambition, takes a music, drawing, or dancing lesson in