MUCH can be said against the custom of intercollegiate Freshman races, as well as for it. In the article in the last Advocate, the argument that these races were needed to awaken the boating interest of the class was dismissed with the assertion that the success of the new system was all that was needed for that purpose. The new boating system will undoubtedly be a great incitement to Freshmen, and more of them will row habitually than ever before. But this does not prove that from increased knowledge alone, such an interest in boating will be aroused in the class that the Freshman race can be given up.
Any one who was at Springfield last summer must find it hard to believe that there is anything else which can rouse such an enthusiasm for boating affairs as was stirred up by the race at that time. There were far more Freshmen at Springfield than men from any other one class, and the interest was such that there was not a man but wished either to be on the crew himself or to express his sympathy with the oarsmen. The result of the race by no means killed this interest, and the manner in which the defeat was borne gave some idea of the enthusiasm which victory would have aroused. The few days at Springfield, when all were moved by the same excitement, did more to bring the class together than did months of routine here. The new boating system may do much for the rowing of the new classes, but it will never accomplish anything like this.
Though the Freshmen this year have met with the usual number of misfortunes in their boating men, they have a crew in training which bids fair to be the best Freshman crew seen here, since the one which '74 sent to Ingleside. If this crew goes to Saratoga, and the class follows to see their race, the boating interest of '77 will be settled on a firm basis, and when they have once established the reputation of a boating class, - and there is no reason why they should not, - the reputation is sure to be kept up.
The advantages of races of this kind are not by any means confined to the class which sends the crew. Whenever the Freshmen win their race, the whole College feels a sense of security in its boating prospects; and when the Freshman race is lost the necessity of stirring themselves to keep up the reputation of the University crew is impressed upon all.
Every Freshman class is expected to develop sooner or later a certain amount of material for the University crew, and every opportunity for training and experience should be improved by the available men.
The new boating-system will afford such an opportunity, but the intercollegiate race affords another just as good, and the two do not conflict. There is no reason, then, for dispensing with the one which we have now, because we are soon to have another. And we hope that, as college boating enters on the new era, of which the Advocate speaks, a long succession of Freshman races will be begun.