The work of the 'varsity ball nine will be followed this year with great interest. The situation which the captain and coaches must face is a trying one. In the last two years there has been plenty of good material on hand,- players with long experience and established reputation. The chief problem to be solved then was to dispose of these men in the most advantageous way and drill them in working together. At the present time the problem is much more complex. Not only must the material be formed into a well-working nine, but the material itself is yet to be produced. Who are to represent Harvard against Yale is an open question. Developement of candidates and not selection of the nine engrosses the attention of the captain.
Everything is uncertain, and the chances of victory are very slight. It is a struggle against great odds, and is recognized to be such both here and by the general public. No opportunity could be more favorable for Harvard to show how courageous a spirit she can exhibit on occasion. It is not enough that Harvard should do well with the odds in her favor; but, rather, the heavier the odds against her, the greater ought to be her efforts. There is a feeling among outsiders that Harvard is lacking in grit to rise to great emergencies. An ill-founded belief we believe it to be, and yet it is undoubtedly a wide-spread one. Much can be done now to refute it.
Moreover, a spirited and desperate struggle in such circumstances will be an immense help to athletics. If Harvard men in the future can feel that at a time when prospects were the darkest, no despondence and no slacking in determination were indulged, it will be a spur that will go far towards securing success. The more times that Harvard acquits herself well in hard places, the more likelihood is there that she will be able to do so again. An athletic spirit, transmitted from class to class, is a very real force.
But can the members of the University help the nine at this time? They can, in at least one way. The number of candidates who have presented themselves is less here than at either Yale or Princeton. In fact, it is hardly larger than the number who tried last year when the chances for new men were so much smaller. It seems improbable that all the baseball material in the University has yet appeared. It is impossible for the captain to discover all men of any promise, no matter how constantly he busies himself. He needs and requests that all members of the University should take the matter to heart, and, if they know men with any ability at all, to inform him in regard to them. He will be glad to see such men personally, but the aid of the University at large is indispensable in making a thorough canvass.