Now that a general crusade has been started against college athletics any testimony as to the advantages to be derived from them is particularly valuable.
About eight years ago a Boston gentleman undertook to settle definitely the question of the results of training upon the health. In order to do this he obtained statistics regarding a large number of boating men of both Harvard and Yale, and also much information regarding their general health. All of the facts ascertained by him tended to show that the effect of hard training upon the health was undoubtedly beneficial, and that on an average the expectation of life of these men, carefully considered, was exceeded by many years.
No doubt can reasonably exist, therefore, as to the beneficial effects of training upon the men who indulge in it, and if this was the only argument in favor of continuing our athletic organizations it would doubtless be sufficient. But this is not the only reason, nor is it the most important one.
All will agree that regular gymnasium exercise and out of door sports are not only desirable, but indispensable to the physical welfare of students. Now if our nines, our elevens, and our crews were given up, who could doubt but that an immense diminution would take place in athletic interests, and that in consequence men would cease exercising to a great extent? It is the preservation of their athletic interest which is the important consideration. And until those who favor the breaking up of our different organizations can present a substitute for them in maintaining a healthful athletic spirit, or until they can urge more forcible objection to them than the loss of a few hours of study, they had much better remain silent.
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