KNOX POINTS OUT VALUE OF FOOTBALL TRAINING
(Special Article for the Crimson)
It may seem a far cry from March to October and the subject of "Football" would be somewhat inopportune unless Spring practice were on the list at a much less distant date. Those who have played football, and especially since arriving in Cambridge, are very largely familiar with the various aspects of the game. Even they, however, may not fully appreciate the many advantages which work with the football squad places at their disposal.
I noticed that Bill Bingham in a recent article on "Track Athletics" ventured the opinion that "a sound body was as essential as a sound mind." I think I am correct when I go much further and say that a sound body is the very foundation of human existence. The sound mind is all right, but its degree of efficiency depends absolutely upon the condition of the human frame in which it is housed.
In my humble opinion, football stands at the very top, as an essential preparation for life, because it combines maximum physical development and unusual mental development during the brief time that it may be played.
Football Training Intensive
Crowded into ten weeks, the football player intensively develops accurate powers of observation, correct deductions, self-analysis, self-control, the ability to instantly execute, his mental conclusions, and many other factors which could not be developed at any such rate unless the factor of incentive, such as we find during the hours of competitive play on the football field,--existed. He further perfects the control of mind over muscle and nerves. On the physical side, the football players develops in a perfectly normal way every single muscle which he uses in every day life and in almost exactly the manner in which the muscular system is called upon in cases where quick or unusual action is essential.
All the foregoing arguments in favor of football could apply to the player regardless of the scene of his activity. At Cambridge he is fortunately surrounded by a system of coaching which is founded upon strictly sound business principles and which closely parallels the efficient business organizations of the country. It requires no extreme powers of observation for each of the players to take advantage of this opportunity to familiarize himself with causes and effects and the methods which bring about the effects by logical development and without the entrance of the element of chance to any greater degree than is found in life in the business world. This phase of the football training fully deserves special mention because it adds just that much to the other and more obvious advantages which participation in the game merits.
Previous Knowledge Non-Essential
The record on the football field at Cambridge supplies a long list of fellows who were practically ignorant of the game before they came to Cambridge and some who were not fully qualified physically to play it when they first started but who, before graduation, were not only valuable members of the Harvard team, but had sustained a National reputation. I distinctly recall the instance of a big clumsy youngster reporting for one of the Freshman squads who was not qualified physically or from experience to make even a substitute's position on the Freshman team. With proper suggestions, he overcame the physical defects and his enthusiasm for the game was so completely aroused that he made a study of it out of season. In his Senior year, his name appeared as the first selection of Walter Camp for his All-American team of that season among a long list of exceptionally good guards, anyone of whom deserved Camp's serious consideration.
I am sure that the football coaching staff is very anxious indeed to have every man report for Spring practice who entertains an interest in the game or a hope that he may be able to convert to his own use the tremendous possibilities which the Football Department can offer.