Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 50.djvu/535

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517
ATHLETICS FOR WOMEN IN COLLEGES.

we must be slow in adopting them. The inquiry into the supernormal has but just begun, the support of the great body of scholars has not by any means been won, and the fundamental facts are still in question. The first need is more observation and more experiment. The theories framed by Mr. Myers and others will serve as guides in the inquiry, and in future, as facts accumulate, what there is in them of value will become manifest.

 

TENDENCIES IN ATHLETICS FOR WOMEN IN COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES.[1]
By SOPHIA FOSTER RICHARDSON.

FROM correspondence with the leading colleges and universities which educate women, I find that they have very generally introduced, or are preparing to introduce as far as possible, physical training and athletic sports.

I find, too, from this correspondence that if I describe the conditions at Vassar, where I am most familiar with them, I shall describe the general tendencies in athletics for women.

From the beginning Vassar has required practice in the gymnasium and an hour of outdoor exercise daily from every student throughout her course. A riding school was provided and a bowling alley, and the lake furnished boating of a mild type. There was not sufficient interest in riding to maintain the school, and after a few years it was given up. The bowling alley atrophied and fell off as a member of the body academic. The hour of outdoor exercise has been very generally spent in walking. The result of this daily practice is that members of the upper classes can walk, so that when the Professor of English at one time introduced the delightful custom of annually inviting fifteen or twenty seniors to accompany him on an autumnal tramp of from ten to twenty miles through the highlands of the Hudson, the invitation was always accepted with enthusiasm and the walk greatly enjoyed.

About twenty years ago, when I was a freshman, seven or eight baseball clubs suddenly came into being, spontaneously as it seemed, but I think they owed their existence to a few quiet suggestions from a resident physician, wise beyond her generation. The public, so far as it knew of our playing, was shocked, but in our retired grounds, and protected from observation even in these grounds by sheltering trees, we continued to play in spite of a censorious public. One day a student, while running be-


  1. A paper presented to the Association of Collegiate Alumnæ, October 31, 1896.

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