Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 61.djvu/559

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The moral and mental value of high-class athletics is well pointed out by the late President Francis A. Walker:

It must be said that the favorite athletics of to-day are, in great measure, such as call for more than mere strength and swiftness. They demand, also, steadiness of nerve, quickness of apprehension, coolness, resourcefulness, self-knowledge, self-reliance; further still, they often demand of the contestants the ability to work with others, power of combination, readiness to subordinate individual impulses, selfish desires, and even personal credit, to a common end. These are all qualities useful in any profession; in some professions they are of the highest value. So genuine does this advantage appear to me that were I Superintendent of the Academy at West Point, I should encourage the game of football among the cadets as a military exercise of no mean importance. It is the opinion of most educated Englishmen that the cultivation of this sport has had not a little to do with the courage, address, and energy with which the graduates of Rugby, Eton, and Harrow, have made their way through dangers and over difficulties in all quarters of the globe.

Rugby football has taken a strong hold upon popular favor and no outdoor entertainment can command so large an attendance of respectable people as a game of football between two teams of college boys. Of course there is mixed with a love of the game pure and simple a great deal of college spirit and college pride.

But there is something more. There is a moral force that is mighty and strong, and which only a player truly knows. The player alone feels the wild joy of the charge, the struggle, the tackle and the gauntlet. None but the player feels the absolute necessity of obeying orders, of cooperation, of vigilance, of instant decision and prompt action. A novice at the game subordinates the care of the ball to the care of himself; he can not help this; he feels that his person is worth any number of points in the game, and he risks a defeat to avoid a bruise or a sprain; but when he is trained and can fall safely without thinking of himself, he subordinates himself to the requirements of the game and puts his whole soul as well as his body into the play.

Experienced players can see great moral gain in all this, and in the sense of obligation to cherish the body so that it may always be at its best. Men who have made athletics a business have taught us that certain things weaken and enervate a man and make him less noble and less manly; so the football player must avoid them, not only while he plays, but as long as he wishes to be noble and manly.


President Thwing's Views.

In a recent number of the North American Review, President Thwing of the Western Reserve University elaborates 'The Ethical Functions of Football.' His points are summarized as follows: (1) Football represents the inexorable. It embraces things that must be done at specific times, places and in specific ways. (2) Football