With the Harvard-Dartmouth game tomorrow afternoon, the Big Green team has been eating at its training table for several weeks. The following article describing the training table was written especially for the Crimson by R. E. Burns, Dartmouth 1932.
In rounding out a quarter of a century the Dartmouth Training Table is still regarded as one of the most important functions in the training of men for the varsity football squad, by Harry Hillman, veteran trainer of Big Green teams for over twenty years.
The reasons for the continued existence of this element of the training are varied. For one thing it serves to bring the men together where they will be free from worry and cares while they are eating. The coaches are assured that the boys are having good food and plenty of it. They do not have to skimp themselves because their allowance is nearly exhausted. Regularly is important. The training table assures a regular meal hour for all the men. This is important in making certain that all players will have had time to digest their food before the practice hour. Some of the football men work as waiters in restaurants and dining clubs in Hanover. During football season they are relieved of this burden which would prevent their obtaining the prescribed twenty minutes rest before meals and would necessitate eating hurried and often cold meals, especially between classes at noon.
Personnel of Table
The personnel of the training table this year is made up of 31 players and the manager, John H. Reno of Macomb, Ill, Captain Andres, of Newton, is responsible for all conduct in the room at meal hours. To assist him in his duties be has appointed "Chucker" Crehan, Roxbury right tackle, as monitor. When the fellows feel gay sometimes and are seized with an urge to throw potato skins or pieces of bread from one table, to another, the stern voice of "Chuck" can be heard above the rest; "Sorry fellows, but I'm monitor" and the firing ceases.
Assignment to training table does not assure a berth there for the entire season, but if the four primary rules, laid down by Trainer Hillman, are observed, the men usually remain on, even in the case of serious injuries. These four rules which are regarded as fundamental and highly important by the coaches prohibit, during season, smoking, alcoholic liquor, late hours of retiring, and the fourth requires at least twenty minutes rest before noon and evening meals. Infraction of even one of these requirements is sufficient to dismiss a player from the table. A minimum of nine hours sleep is exacted of every man in training.
A record of attendance is kept by the head waiter of the training room. He has six assistants to help serve the boys and every effort is made to give the players the best possible attention. The food is kept hot in heated ovens and is brought up from the kitchen in individual orders as the players arrive. As soon as a man has finished one course the waiter is there waiting for him with the next. Toast, when it is on the menu, is made at minute intervals to insure each man receiving it hot and crisp. Hot drinks are served directly from the urns in which they are made, and reach the men steaming hot.
It has been found that the boys will eat heartily up to the latter part of the season, then their food will fall off several hundred calories, and more so if the team is overworked. Consequently the weight chart plus the food consumed serve as a good indication of the physical condition of the players.
New Men Entertain
One of the amusing features of the training table at Dartmouth is the traditional requirement that each new man upon being assigned to the table shall entertain the others for at least five minutes. The entertainment is always provided after the evening meal. The initiate is usually very nervous as he stands up to address his teammates and is greeted with an awe-inspiring silence. As soon as he starts to speak, however, the situation is changed. Hank Barber will yell across the room to ask Shep Wolff if he is going to the show, Bromberg and Johnson will discuss their economics assignments in rather loud voices. Bill Phinney will probably offer a suggestion or two as the rest of the audience tap their glasses or plates with the silverware, calling for order and quiet "Chuck" Crehan announces his authority and asks the fellows to give the speaker a chance to be heard.
By this time the newly-assigned member will have started his speech over again for the third time and is asking if anyone wants to hear his story. Everyone can see that he is quite rattled now and the room quiets down as the "speaker" continues. While the story progresses, Charley Sullivan, in whispers, circulates an order that no one laugh when the joke has been given. As the new man finishes, waiting for the applause which is not to come, everyone wants to know where the joke is. They urge him to continue, assuring the youth that they are still listening and want him to finish. Of course he does not know what to say and usually does nothing except blush embarassingly. The dissatisfied listeners finally agree to let the new man have another chance on the following night, advising him, that he should have an extra good one then. Of course they do not really mean this but as the others rise and leave the room, the new member finishes his dessert wondering whether or not they do.