Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 32.djvu/746

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them may apply on other grounds, but not as corollaries of "excellence of achievement." Some of them do not apply at all; viz., robbing them of half their value—III. "By reducing the number of active competitors"; IV. "By relying upon natural resources rather than upon cultivated material; V. "By depriving the non-athletic class of every incentive to physical exertion."

"III" is disproved by the fact (only necessary to be mentioned in order to be admitted) that the number of active competitors has increased so much, especially in the colleges, that instead of contests between a few clubs in one large association, the contests are now between many clubs in many associations.

"IV" has already been noticed, but the question might be raised whether it were possible to look for material from any other than "natural resources." If it were, does not "IV" conflict with "II," in which "making excellence in achievement the primary object of athletics" is said to "rob them of half their value" "by increasing the time devoted to practice"?

"V" is not true, as the non-athletic class is continually being stimulated to exercise by the example of the athletic class, a fact on which I have already commented.

The objections of expense and time I have considered elsewhere,[1] but will assert here that, in these respects, athletics merely keep pace with other undertakings of modern times. More money is spent upon education than formerly. More money goes to gymnasiums. There is more money in the land. Success as well as failure costs more. But we are getting better results. We are inducing more people to exercise. The increased cost is due to the better results. Like every other good, exercise costs something. The real question is, whether the results are worth the cost. I think they are. I maintain that the saving to the health and morals of our young men all over the land is worth the whole cost of their athletic organizations.

As to time, it is undoubtedly true that some young men spend too much time in athletic exercises, but the majority of them do not do so. They spend no more time than is good for them, at a period of their lives when they are laying up physical capital. And the fact that, to be well prepared for contests, successful athletes have to keep in training the greater portion of the year, instead of during a small part of it, as formerly, is one of the best features of the present system of athletics. It gives them healthy occupation for their leisure moments, and enforces habits of good living all the year, instead of for a few months.

To "VI" I have very little to say, except to express a more hopeful spirit with regard to the future of "all competitive sports which bring men into personal contact." Putting boxing out of the list, it seems to me that young men interested in the other sports are in a

  1. "Popular Science Monthly," March, 1884.