Page:Jubilee Book of Cricket (Second edition, 1897).djvu/476

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in my acquaintance, but most of the cricketers I know have my sincere regard and respect. As for the amateur who, being a man of leisure, devotes his life to cricket—well, he gets much good out of the game and very little ill, whereas he might very easily be doing something that would have quite the reverse effect upon him. He generally has the good qualities of the professional, only in a higher degree, inasmuch as he starts in most cases with more capacity for development. Time spent upon cricket is quite as profitable as time devoted to hunting or shooting. To play cricket, a man must lead a healthy regular life, which after all is a very excellent thing.

But what about the other objection, which may be called the economical? It is this. Cricket is a splendid recreation, and is, no doubt, good enough in its way. But it is not the kind of thing to which a man ought to devote himself. It is a game. Men ought not to get incomes out of games. They ought to be so employed that their means of livelihood is also a benefit to their fellow-men and to society. They ought to be helping to supply some part of the world's requirements. Cricket is not a waste of time as a recreation and a physical training, but as an occupation it is. Even if the life of a cricketer does no harm to the individual who follows it, what excuse is there for the existence in the community of a class that does nothing for the general welfare? An anecdote occurs to me that illustrates the feeling underlying this objection. In the sixth form at a well-known public school there was a boy who was then a very fine bat, and became afterwards a first-rate cricketer. He showed up a piece of Latin prose which contained among other blunders a flagrantly inexcusable false concord. The head-master said to the perpetrator, "You may some day make a good professional cricketer. You probably will. But you will never make a useful citizen or a Christian English gentleman." Perhaps the head-master did not mean all he said, but his criticism showed in what light he regarded cricket. Now I would be the last to say that a man of ability should give all his time to cricket. That would be absurd. But I do not think that the life of one who devotes himself to cricket is either altogether wasted or quite useless to his fellowmen, for the simple reason that cricket provides a very large number of people with cheap, wholesome, and desirable amusement.

There is a side of modern games upon which we have not yet touched—the spectacular. It may safely be asserted that more people go yearly to cricket and football matches than to any