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children." Here is always the difficulty—to get hold of the motives which will influence men and women in such way that they may finally be possessed by the “love of symmetry in form” which has such“ a deep moral significance.” You may preach the doctrine to children, and your words will be like the idle wind. Even our young men and our maidens will prefer snug-fitting garments and bandsome raiment covering a bad form, to the proportions of Apollo or the beauty of the Venus of Milo not clothed in the fashions of the day. Many men and women, staggering along under burdens of ill-health, self-imposed by neglect of the simplest natural laws, will give your beautiful theory small thought. They will pursue their phantoms of wealth and ambition, while they hug the delusion that they suffer by God's will in this “ vale of tears." They do suffer, and deservedly, but only because they do not use their own wills to conform their conduct to His goodwill as revealed in the constitution of their own being. It is useless to set forth to such people the truths of health, the glad tidings of deliverance from many of their ailments by the natural remedies of air, exercise, and food. The doctrines of health have always been preached, and men have not heeded. Let us begin, then, with children, and educate them to these high truths. But with children we have to use authority or play upon motives. If we use authority merely, the idea of barmonious development will become distasteful to them. They will break away from authority and break with the theory at the first opportunity of liberty. Put them at what we elders call play, and they often accomplish of their own free-will what we with difficulty get out of them by force. Now I say that, by their various athletic organizations, young men are doing this very thing for themselves that children do in play. They establish in the colleges a system of training for their various sports which affects not only the members of the higher institutions of learning, but which reaches almost every young man in the land. To express the idea in Dr. Sargent's words, “ the college clubs look to the academies, the academies to the schools, the schools to the homes and firesides, to furnish candidates for athletic honors.” Dr. Sargent proposes this as one of his objections to making “excellence in achievement the primary object of athletic exercise." But it is the reward which this same excellence in achievement” receives that brings forward good material and stimulates an increasing number of men to exercise, who would never think of doing so without this stimulus. One is at a loss to understand how this fact should account (as Dr. Sargent says it does account) for the “lack of active interest in athletics.” On the contrary, it is one of the principal causes of that active interest ; it keeps young men in training, holds them to regular, systematic exercise, in season and out of season, through an important and critical period of their growth ; it sends them into the gymnasium when the season forbids practice in the field ; it restrains them from excesses, from smoking and drinking, and from late hours; it brings the whole force of college opinion to bear in favor of a healthy, moral life. To be sure, the desire to defeat a rival club or team is not the highest motive of the human mind; the honor of winning a medal in a race is not the greatest honor which earth can afford. The glory of being champions at any game seems puerile to serious-minded people ; but we must take young people as we find them. If we can not induce them to exercise by the “deep moral sig. nificance” of “the beauty of symmetry of form,” we must lay bold of the motives, not wrong, which do influence them. The majority of them not being open to the highest motives, we take the next best motives which appeal to them. That is the principle on which all education is conducted. Competitions, prizes, medals, honors, appeal to students, move them, and hold them to efforts which higher and worthier objects fail to call forth. By these we educate them to habits which fit them to receive the higher motives. They are their schoolmasters to train them for a better life. So it is in athletic sports. By habits of exercise from earliest youth young men are educated to appreciate the value of it. Accustomed to feel the good effects of it in themselves, or to see the good of it in the person of some upholder of the honor of their club, they learn to admire the cause of this good. The prominent athletes present examples of beauty of form and vigorous health. The sight of them stimulates many a man to try on his own person the effect of the training which he sees embodied in the winners of prizes or championships. More than this, having once learned the value of exercise to health, he forever associates together health and exercise in a necessary companionship. So the athletes preach to all men by example.
We will now consider the various athletic sports, in order that we may weigh the justice of Dr. Sargent's remarks on the evils of making “excellence in achievement” their “primary object.” We may eliminate from the sports certain ones not liable to these evils, such as bave for their object a victory, not a prize. To the contestants the importance of match-games of foot-ball, base-ball, lacrosse, and polo lieg not in excellence of achievement, but in defeating rival organizations. The big score may be desirable, but the principal aim is the championship. Rowing, also, may be said to be free from these evils, because, though “good form ” and the best stroke may be aimed at, the principal purpose is to put the boat over the course fast enough to come in first at the finish. Excellence in achievement consists in winning the race.
Fast time may be acceptable, but, if the winning boat makes the fastest time for its particular race, the winning crew is satisfied.
If, therefore, we remove base-ball, foot-ball, and rowing from the list of athletic exercises which are liable to the evils following from “making excellence in achievement.” “the primary object” of them, Dr. Sargent’s seven specifications can not apply to them. Some of 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, * 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 ear, 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
*“Popular Science Monthly," March, 1884.
935 887 891 724 572/51813613181353 290 262 1 200 251 242164
982 921 912 750 572 533 366 356 353 313 269 269 256 247 168
R. U. ARM CONTRACTED. EOREARM.
KILOS. KILOS. KILOS. KILOS.
532 179 147 14 13 10 1.6
NUMBER OF TIMES.
Q NUMBER OF TIMES.
fair way to solve for themselves the problems connected with them, so as “to retain the good features and to hold the evil ones in check.”
The danger to athletics—“VII. By depriving them of their efficacy as a means of health”—is the only specification which might follow as a corollary from making “excellence in achievement” their "primary object.” It is a danger, however, to which only a few men are liable in the athletic exercises mentioned by Dr. Sargent. I think, also, that it will be found that athletes in general are beginning to learn that to excellence and success, even in any special kind ofexercise, a uniform muscular development contributes quite as much as the training of a few sets of muscles.
As bearing on this part of the subject, the remarks and chart published by Dr. Edward Hitchcock, of Amherst College, are here given. As Dr. Hitchcock is the Nestor of physical culture in the colleges, bis observations have been very extensive, and his conclusions are well worthy of consideration :
“One of the results of the anthropometric work of Amherst College has been THE APPROXIMATE MEASUREMENTS AND TESTS OF THE AVERAGE COLLEGE STUDENT, as obtained from the 1,258 different men observed during the past six college years. These are numerically and graphically arranged on the preceding page.
“ The study of the present paper is to show THE RELATION OF THESE STATISTICS TO THE SAME IN THE ATHLETIC STUDENT.
“ The men from whom these have been obtained were either class captains, the ball nine, the foot-ball team, or first prizes in the gymnastic exhibition and athletic games. Fifty-seven men in all.
“A study in connection with these, is what physical conditions, if any, specially characterize the athletic man in distinction from the average man or student. The chart on the preceding page shows a very close relation between the measurements of these two groups, but a little broader one in tests of strength and capacity, the greater one being in favor of the athletic man. The common consent of mankind would probably place in the same category great size and great strength of body, but, in feats of skill, our statistics do not confirm this combination as a fact in nature. So far as Amherst College results are concerned, they seem to show that the athletic men are not athletic because of a greater height of body than the average, as the difference between them in this feature is only a centimetre, or four tenths of an inch. Of the fifteen men who took first athletic prizes in 1886, four were above and eleven below the average height of the college ; and, , of the nine first-prize men at the gymnastic exhibition, three were above and six below the average height.
“Another grouping of these statistics shows us what items are most alike in the make-up of these men. As already mentioned, the heights are nearly the same. So are the lengths and other measures