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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 73.djvu/259

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THE PHYSIQUE OF SCHOLARS

student during the past 25 years has greatly improved, while the physique of all the scholarship men of to-day is not only below the average student of the present time, but the physique of the stipend scholarship men is actually below that of the average student of 1880, and Group II. below the average of the stipend men in the early eighties. As the records we have quoted give for the most part the first-year measurements and tests of the students, they may be said to reflect the conditions that have acted upon them at their homes and preparatory schools rather than at the college. These formative influences, whatever they may have been, have affected the scholarship men as well as the athletes, but in a different way. The great interest that has been awakened during the past quarter century in health, hygiene, sanitation and physical education has begun to make itself felt throughout the country at large, and students are coming to the college now in better physical condition than ever before. This improved physical well-being has undoubtedly been greatly intensified by the time and attention given to athletics in the preparatory schools. The public interest awakened and the extensive advertising that athletes have received through the press have fired a considerable portion of our youth with an ambition to become large, strong and athletic. On the other hand, the intense mental and nervous activity of the age, the universal demand for a higher and broader intelligence, the great rewards for professional knowledge and skill, the prestige and traditions of the institutions of learning, have all combined to stimulate another set of our youth to great mental efforts. If athletics advertise the college, as so many persons affirm, they will tend to draw to its halls the young men who are fond of participating in athletic sports or of witnessing the athletic performances of others. Young men of a more studious frame of mind, who care little about athletics, would be attracted by the reputation of the individual professors, the academic standing of the institution, and the eminence of the positions held by its graduates.

It is very evident that a process of selection has been going on in the community during the past half century by which these two distinct types of young men, whom we may term scholars and athletes, have been attracted to the colleges and universities. Is this process of selection a natural one, or such a one as should exist in an institution of learning? Both classes have ideals and aims which are essentially different. Both classes are naturally antagonistic, and both classes are pursuing the means of education and training as though they were ends in themselves. The consequence is superior physiques with mediocre mental ability according to the college rank-book in one class, and inferior physiques with fine mental attainments in the other. Moreover, this want of harmony or sense of proportion between mental and physical efforts on the part of our students, which we all recognize,