Every autumn hears a wail go up over the degeneration of Harvard sports. Last year, when we returned from the summer vacation, humiliated by defeat, and almost in despair at our ill success, we vowed unutterable vows in our determination for a reform. We all know the result. We can even now only look forward with fear and trembling for the further results. But it is useless to sit still and bemoan the past, if we have in our hands the means of regeneration. It is very evident that the material of our athletic teams must be improved. The best material of the college is not in them. But we cannot hope to effect the improvement by pressure brought to bear upon men who have never felt an interest, or taken active part in athletic sports. The work should be more gradual, and more thorough. The training schools of athletics as of learning, must be the preparatory schools. All our best men in athletics came here with high local reputations, and it is upon them that the hardest work in athletics falls. Very few promising men appear in athletics after the freshman year. Thus the preparatory schools are in reality the test of our weakness, or our strength. It is to them that we should turn our attention to alleviate our present distress. This spring should witness a greater number of contests between our freshmen and second nines, and the various school teams. If the school teams could be made to feel that the eyes of the Harvard management of athletics were on them, there would be an increase of vigor to a degree hitherto unknown. Nor should we stop with base ball. In the autumn let us send out foot ball teams to the various schools, and attempt to awaken there an interest in college sports which will induce men, otherwise uninterested, to enter with a will into steady athletic work. Many of our old boats which are making strenuous endeavors to rot away in idleness, if sent to the different schools, more widely than heretofore, would bring us in a few years the most valuable material for successful crews. This idea could enter into the treatment of every phase of athletics, and tennis and lacrosse would feel its influence as well as the more important sports This dearth of good athletes can only be ascribed to our reprehensible neglect properly to foster our athletic sources. A loyal interest in the welfare of Harvard athletics demands that greater attention should be paid to our preparatory school athletics, and upon that interest depends our prospect of future success.
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