IN the last number of the Advocate there appeared an article entitled "Lacrosse versus Tennis," in which the writer proves, to his own satisfaction at least, that Lacrosse is a dangerous innovation which is making dastardly attempts to uproot and scatter to the winds that venerable root of all - virtue, lawn tennis; and that, if it be not speedily wiped out of existence, untold misery will descend upon the community. The author of the article, - whom we shall take the liberty of dubbing ???, in order to avoid personalities - shows such an ignorance of facts that a little correction of his statements is only fair to all parties. His principle point is that "Lacrosse" (when compared with tennis) "is a new institution." Had he taken pains to investigate further back than his own short career in College, he would have discovered that Lacrosse had obtained a firm foothold here before either tennis or cricket; that at first the field back of Divinity Hall was used for the game; then, when the planting of trees rendered this no longer serviceable, Jarvis and Holmes; and that, in seniority, Lacrosse ranked next to base ball and football.
??? inveighs against the iniquity of the Lacrosse Association in getting from the President a grant of land that had been "occupied for years" by others, - to wit, the tennis men. As a matter of fact, when their present ground was given to the Association the only courts that were in the neighborhood were between the Society building and the College Hospital; a position in which they were not likely to be interfered with by the practising of the Team. The other courts that are now crowded in near the path have been marked there since then.
It was not his purpose, says ???, "to make a comparison between these two games." If he had made the comparison, he would have seen how much the radical difference in their nature affects the present point of dispute. Lacrosse, like every other college game, except tennis, needs but a single field of fixed dimensions. To tennis, as a whole, there are no limits, except the limits set by the number of students in the College; for one or two courts are not tennis. Take away twenty of the courts on the fields, and tennis would still be a game at Harvard. The present question, then, is not one between Lacrosse and tennis, but between Lacrosse and about five sets of tennis players. If the field were taken from the Lacrosse Team they would have no place whatever in which to practise; while if the tennis players were to give up the grounds they now occupy, they would find ample room elsewhere, from the fact that they need not be together.
From the fact that the Bursar declined to interfere in the dispute of two claimants to the same tennis court, ??? would have us believe that the President should not have interfered here. But does not the very fact that the President refused to give any claim in the first case, - for the matter was referred to him before being submitted to the Bursar, - but did give a grant in the case of the Lacrosse Association, - does not this show that Lacrosse, in his eyes, possessed a superior dignity and importance? If ??? doubted the President's power in the matter, how does he suppose the Base Ball and Football Teams got the right to the land they now occupy?
"It requires more than a mere name to make a college institution; it requires the interest and approval of the men." What does the Advocate mean by "the men, - those who play Lacrosse or tennis, or those who do not? If it refers to those only who take active part in the games, the remark is merely a bald truism. No man would be such an idiot as willingly to engage in anything which he disapproved of and felt no interest in. But if the Advocate is referring to outsiders, what is the statement meant to prove? For surely it cannot be denied that to people who do not themselves play tennis, the game seems the most utterly imbecile and childish of all out-door sports.
But here is another implied definition of a "college institution:" "Lacrosse is not generally recognized as deserving or receiving the general support of the University." What, then, has tennis done to gain that "general support"? In what way does it represent the University as a whole? Why should it be called a "college institution" any more than whist or poker, - for these, too, are college "amusements"?
Perhaps, however, ??? means by support, pecuniary support. If this is all that is necessary to give Lacrosse the necessary halo in his eyes, the Lacrosse Association will, we are sure, be most happy to call upon him for a contribution. Hitherto they have always esteemed it the peculiar virtue of their Association that they were self-supporting.
That Lacrosse is to be an important college game is evident from the rapidity and zeal with which it has been taken up of late. On the 5th of November the college championship is to be played for by four colleges, - Harvard, Columbia, Princeton, and the University of New York. Our Team now hold the championship, and are practising hard to keep it. Surely they deserve as much recognition from the College for their efforts as a dozen men whose only desire is to while away the afternoon playing "battledore and shuttlecock" for their own private edification.