Page:America's National Game (1911).djvu/569

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537
AMERICA'S NATIONAL GAME

decent lot of fellows as no other professional sport the world has ever known could show. The professional Base Ball player, by his example, does not encourage his young devotees to anything unworthy. That's a fine detail of our national sport. Parents need not be alarmed if their young sons announce at breakfast some fine morning that they plan to be professional ball players when they reach maturity. In the first place, out of 500 boys who may express that firm determination, only one, upon an average, will ever make good in a major league, or minor league for that matter, and, in the second place, that one of the 500 will not, by making good, prove himself to be anything at all unworthy. Success as a Base Ball player does not plunge a youth into a vicious or a dissipated life, but, on the other hand, insures him from that sort of a career.

Professionals Lucky Chaps.

"Indeed, lucky is the boy who can develop sufficient skill to get a place on a league team. That means a mighty good salary and a pleasant, clean and healthful life. The professional Base Ball player is no mollycoddle—there are no mollycoddles in the game; but neither is there any room for thugs in it. No training could be more severe than that of the league player. Under the present system of organized Base Ball, he must conform to the strictest mental, moral and physical discipline, and must develop wonderfully in patience, self-reliance and fair-mindedness. He must keep at the top notch in all these details of fine character if he would keep position in the game. Ability to take criticism cheerfully is one of the great requisites of real success in any line. I know of no profession which requires of those who win in it the disposition and ability to do this which Base Ball requires.

Base Ball and the Mind.

"Now, as to the effect of Base Ball on the mind of the boy player. If a boy is naturally selfish, peevish or crab-minded the members of the team he plays with will soon knock that out of him, or drive him from the team. He won't want to leave the team, for Base Ball, you must remember, is ingrained in his blood. If he is inclined to be hot-tempered, the loss of a few games and the respect of his associates as the result will help mightily toward correcting it. If he is prone to be a cad, to put on airs, to assume a superiority over his fellow-players as a result of the social or financial standing of his family, a little joshing from his fellows on the errors he made upon the field will soon bring him down to earth again. If he is unduly timid and shows cowardice in a pinch, his mates will quickly cure him or eject him. If he is apprehensive, pessimistic—and no trait is more entirely un-American—he will soon lose his place upon the team. The lad who is continually predicting