Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 81.djvu/348

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
342
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY
No of Men Fair  Good  Very Good
Non-smokers 139 68 50 21
Smokers 109 49 39 21
109 non-smokers would furnish 53 .3 39 .2 16 .5
Smokers' excess —4 .3 0 .2 4 .5
 

|From these data it appears that smokers make the better football players. In interpreting the results, however, several points should be kept in mind. In the case of the "very good" men only forty-two individuals are involved, a number rather small from which to draw reliable conclusions. A single institution reporting four or five "very good" smokers or non-smokers and none of the other group (as several institutions have done) is quite sufficient to swing the totals one way or the other. And again, while the totals from the fourteen institutions seem to favor the smokers, this is by no means uniform when the institutions are singly considered.

Even if the above data were perfectly reliable there is still another vital point to be kept in mind. In the item of "try outs" only half as many smokers were successful as non-smokers. In other words, only the very best smokers were chosen, while with the very best non-smokers a group of second-grade non-smokers was included. At the beginning of the football season when the selections were made the first and second grade non-smokers combined were equal to the first grade smokers.

Furthermore, it is a well known fact that of two men, a smoker and a non-smoker, of equal ability at the time of beginning training, the smoker will develop into a better man than the non-smoker. This is the case because the non-smoker before training is very much more nearly at his best than is the smoker. As soon, therefore, as the smoker begins training (and consequently stops using tobacco) he has a much better chance for improvement than the non-smoker, who has not been kept back by the use of tobacco. If smoking does not in any way injure one's ability on the football field, the smokers and the non-smokers should supply an equal percentage of the "very best" men.

Now, when it is borne in mind that in the "try outs" only one half as many of the smokers are chosen as non-smokers, it follows as a simple mathematical deduction that the smoking football men should supply twice as many "very good" men as the non-smokers, a position which, if the above tabulated data were wholly reliable, they come far from reaching. It will be noted, therefore, that the apparent superiority of the smokers is in reality an inferiority.

In this connection reference may profitably be made to the item of weight given in a previous table, in which it will be observed that the smokers are one half pound heavier than the non-smokers. At first thought this point may appear to be in conflict with the findings of Dr.