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our students is emphasised by its absence, while true university spirit is absolutely lacking. That a foot-ball game where students can cheer for a common cause, standing upon common ground, is a most potent factor in the development of a closer college and university feeling, not even the most rabid antagonist to the game can gainsay. Once we develop this spirit in the students we need not worry about the future alumni.
An extract from the report of the committee on student organisation reads as follows regarding foot-ball: "It affords the only medium from which can be developed that esprit de corps which is at present the greatest need of the undergraduate body.”
Chas. L. McKeehan, of the University of Pennsylvania writing upon “The university social problem," says: “I mean the great part athletics have played in developing a university spirit among students as we may distinguish from a departmental spirit;" while Jas. A. LeRoy, University of Michigan, in a similar article writes: “College sports themselves have done wonders in fostering an active interest among alumni and in binding them together.”
A better standing with the people of Buffalo as reflected through the students would also result from properly administered athletics. I mean that through athletics those students who have a superfluous amount of animal spirits would have a legitimate outlet, and need not exhibit their natural effervescence by gate lifting, sign stealing, or other depredations upon private property. Some estimate may be formed of the feeling of the people of the city toward the university, by the fact that after a man has been in college a year he usually discards his L'. B. pin which he so eagerly bought during his first month in college.
In this assembly of professional men I am sure not one undervalues the benefit of exercise. What do we offer our students along this line? I am quite sorry to say, nothing. The old adage says: “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy,” and if you look over the study schedules, you will be forced to admit that either students will be dull boys or else they must take the time when they ought to be studying or sleeping to get their recreation.
My first point, then, is exercise for students. Later I will suggest a scheme whereby all who wish may get the opportunity.
The value to the individual who plays the game may be best made clear by quoting men whose opinions should have great weight:
President Schurman, of Cornell University, in the president's report says: “College games, though liable to abuses, do beget in young men promptitude, quickness, alertness, hardihood, selfreliance, self-control, and the habit of coöperation, and selfsurrender to authority.” ... The relaxation and discipline of healthy, manly sports are too valuable for American youth to forego; on the contrary they should under proper restraints, be encouraged in all seats of learning."
Rev. J. E. C. Welldon, head master at Harlow : “It was the instinct of sport which played the chief part in creating the British empire and that she owed her empire more to her sport than to her studies.”
B. E. L. Richards, Professor of Mathematics, Yale, who has been a teacher for twenty-five years, in writing on the foot-ball situation says: "Foot-ball is one of the best forms of athletic sports that can be invented. No other sport is so beneficial." He sums up the benefits as: (1) body or physical-training health, strength; (2) mind-quickness of mind, as in signals, plays.
But great as are these benefits of the sport to the players in body and mind, they are not to be compared with its moral effect, which are: (1) courage, (2) self-control, (3) self-denial, (4) obedience, (5) discipline. The best teams at Yale have contained the most moral and religious men."
President Warefield, Lafayette College: "College athletics have done more to purify, dignify and elevate college life, than any influence brought to bear in the past quarter of a century.
. . . Foot-ball when properly played is a school of morals.”
President Angell, University of Michigan: “I regard football as a valuable athletic game. It calls for and cultivates temperate and regular habits of living, vigor and agility of the body, quickness of perception, readiness of resource, manly courage, skill in planning, subinordination of the individual with coöperation of the team.”
Hely H. Almond: “Foot-ball as a moral agent. When the complaint was made to a well known head-master that British boys talked far too much about foot-ball and cricket he answered, ‘And what do French boys talk about?'”
C. F. Twing, LL.D., President Western Reserve University: “Before and above these evils, I would emphasise its (foot-ball) function in developing the gentleman of ethical character and conduct. For foot-ball represents the inexorable, it teaches the value of the positive, illustrates the worth of a compelling interest, it promotes self-discovery and disciplines self-restraint."
With this array of quotations from such prominent educators to which many could be added, we ought, at least to see some value to the men who participate.
ARGUMENTS AGAINST FOOT-BALL. As near as I can gather the arguments against foot-ball at our university are as follows:
A man who is pursuing the study of a profession has no time for athletics.
The liability to accidents.
The student body contracts debts which remaining unpaid give the university a bad name.
I grant that a man studying medicine cannot learn all he should know in four years; neither do I think he could in ten years. On the other hand, a man can do better work throughout the winter for having exercised during the fall. In regard to time-foot-ball requires only two hours a day, from 4 to 6, during the first two months of college, time when no one really gets down to hard work, and this only applies to about twenty men in the whole university. A man misses no work that he is not able to make up, and in the majority of cases he can so arrange his schedule that in any event he will not miss many classes.
That a man can play foot-ball and keep up his work is clearly shown by the records of the men on teams in past years. Exactly as do the records of non-foot-ball men show, I might observe that the men whose records are poor, were only substitutes, and although physically competent to play never made the team, because they lacked the grit.
The matter of doing good work is easily taken care of, for nearly all colleges require that a man must obtain a certain percentage in his work or else he is dropped from the squad. In some colleges, notably Yale, a foot-ball man is required to obtain a higher average percentage than the rest of the men in his class. In regard to technical students playing foot-ball, I might call attention to the fact that Torry, captain of University of Pennsylvania, last year's champions, is a medical student, while Costella, Cornell's captain is an electrical engineer. On last year's Michigan championship team four men were mechanical engineers, while six were law students. The fact that fiftythree technical schools have foot-ball teams shows that a man has time if he has a mind to work. I wish to quote Walter Camp, a professor at Yale, and the recognised authority on football matters. In a letter to a mother inquiring if she should let her son play foot-ball, he said: “If Edward is a 'high stand' man it is quite certain his standing will suffer somewhat on account of the time and attention devoted to the sport. If he be a 'low stand' man this would hardly be the case, owing to the effort and the pressure brought to bear upon him by his cap
e, and the other inquard is a mewhat
tain and his fellows to keep up the average which is necessary to secure the permission of the faculty for him to take part."
In three years' experience as coach of Masten Park High School team, where the study average required is 80 per cent. I have never been compelled to drop a man. The knowledge of the fact that poor scholarship is not compatible with being a member of the team is a great stimulus to do good work in school.
In fourteen years' experience in playing and coaching football, I have seen but five accidents which might be called serious, one fractured clavicle, three fractured femurs and one fractured rib.
By careful estimation I find that the very lowest figures show that 46,000 young men are playing foot-ball each fall. The report of this year's deaths and accidents are as follows: eleven deaths 2-100 of 1 per cent. ; 121 injured 2-10 of 1 per cent.
In looking over the statistics I find that only one trained athlete died, and that with but one exception none of the injuries that occurred on the big college teams, where the men are properly trained, incapacitated the players from keeping up their work.
In looking up statistics in regard to casualties I was struck by the tameness of foot-ball, as compared with some other sports. For instance, hunting. In the north woods of Wisconsin and northern Michigan, forty-two men were killed or died of their wounds, while twenty were wounded in the short season of twenty open days.
The matter of contracting debts is easily adjusted if the team is properly managed. The manager should be a graduate, and one who is responsible to the faculty. A good team more than pays all its expenses. We may get some idea of this by reading the report of the graduate manager of the Harvard Athletic Association, which shows that athletics made a profit this year of $33,051. Foot-ball alone made $57,223, the losses and expenses in other branches bringing the profit down to the figures mentioned.
I wish now to give some conception of the game and the manner in which the men train. In the first place it is the most manly and scientific athletic game at present known. A man to play must be in the pink of condition ; also, he must be gentlemanly and intelligent. He must train faithfully and the essential points of training are as follows: smoking, drinking and all excesses are absolutely forbidden. A man's diet must be plain and wholesome. He should maintain regular hours and get a normal amount of sleep. In the early part of the season he is taught how to fall on the ball, kick, run properly and is given such light work as will get his body in physical condition, so that the liability to injury is reduced to a minimum.
The game is played by two teams of eleven men each, and the fundamental idea is to place the ball behind the opponents' goal line. The side having the ball is allowed three chances to advance the ball at least five yards; in case of failure to do so it goes to the opposing team.
In order to advance the ball we must have team work, and this requires that every man has his particular place to fill in every play; to accomplish this the plays are run by signals and as there are some fifty-five different plays and a signal for each, it is necessary for a man to have some brains in order to play.
The foot-ball field is a test of self-control, for a good player never loses his temper. He must be cool. It teaches him selfconfidence, ability to take advantage of situations. For frequently the play as started will be blocked by the opponents and then the man with the ball must pick and use the most advantageous way through or be thrown for a loss.
In looking over the history of our experience with foot-ball, I can see many things that have been detrimental to all concerned, and some things which could have been improved upon. In the first place, I hardly think the faculty have exhibited enough interest in the sports of the college. They have failed to require men to keep up in their work or else drop playing foot-ball. They have allowed men to play on some of our teams who were not registered in any college of the university, and they have not attended the games themselves, thereby encouraging men to participate.
The first two conditions admit of no argument. The third does, and the time honored doctor's excuse is given: “I don't have the time.” Well, that is true, but time could be taken. When I was in college one of our most prominent professors, and a very busy man, said there would be no class on the following Saturday as he was going down to New Haven to see his Alma Mater whip Harvard.
What do you think would happen to foot-ball in this city if the members of the faculties of the University of Buffalo and their families were to occupy boxes at our games? It would stimulate foot-ball to such an extent that each game would be a social event in Buffalo. I can't find fault with the faculties as far as contributing is concerned, for they have been very generous, but what is needed to stir up this movement is a knowledge among the students that the authorities are favorable and mean to support it by their presence.