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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 73.djvu/260

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY

is greatly intensified by that crying evil of the age, the spirit of competition. Competition is to-day the arch enemy of all true culture, mental as well as physical. To recount all of the evils that may be attributed to this factor in education would prolong this article to an unwarrantable length. Let me return, therefore, to my premises.

If there is any truth in statistics the world's work and greatest achievements are to be attained by the men as a class who have the best brains in the best bodies. A large part of the athletic class will fail in the race of life for want of better trained minds, while an equally large class of scholarship men will be eliminated from the struggle for the want of more efficient bodies. What is the college doing to even up the chances of these two classes in their preparation for their life's work? She insists upon a required mental examination of all students, athletes included, upon entering college. Moreover, most colleges now require athletic students to attain a certain grade in their mental pursuits before they can be permitted to contend for honors in athletics. Would it not be altogether desirable for these colleges to require all scholarship men to attain a certain standard in their physical work before allowing them to compete for honors in scholarship? Such a plan would at least put the scholarly man on an equal footing with the athlete and give him a chance to attain something of that mental force, physical vigor and sustained energy upon which his success in life will so largely depend. Furthermore, inasmuch as the greatest amount of physical as well as mental improvement of which the individual is capable must take place during the formative period of his youth—should not the student come to college prepared physically as well as mentally for the ordeal before him? The moral effect of a physical requirement would be to throw the responsibility for physical condition back upon the parent, the preparatory schools and teachers, as well as upon the pupil himself. In my opinion a large part of the community is already prepared to meet this responsibility, as is indicated by the improved physical condition of the average student when he enters college. We have already shown that love of sports, games and physical exercise for themselves do not appeal to the scholarship student. The thing necessary is academic recognition of good health and physical vigor as an asset in education. In taking this step the college would simply be making a practical application of its own teaching. But in so doing it would not only improve the physique of the scholarship man, and thus increase his respect for physical training and athletics, but it would also increase the respect of the mass of students for scholarship men and scholarly attainments.