IT must be very apparent to any one who has watched the vicissitudes of the various class crews this spring, that some new system of boating is much needed. The constant changes which have taken place in almost every boat on the river, and which are going on even now, two weeks before the race, are very disheartening.
The trouble with the present system, which is being so clearly illustrated at present, is, that instead of racing because we have crews and rowing-men, we are obliged to make up crews and to induce men to row because we have races. The matter is looked at in this light, and six men are trained for the crew while every one else in the class is left in blissful ignorance of the principles of rowing. The natural result is, that when any man of the six is obliged for some reason to leave the crew, those who are left are placed in a very unpleasant predicament. They are usually obliged to fill up the boat with raw men, and the crew is thus put back to a great extent. This is not a theory, but is what has occurred constantly on the river during the past month. There has been but one recourse in such extremities, - the second crews. It is usually considered that these crews are formed for the amusement of those who row on them, and that beyond this they are of little importance. It is very natural that when they talk, as now, of disbanding, no one urges the importance of their keeping together.
Yet no crew is ever so strong that it can afford to dispense with substitutes in case of accidents. With a crew of new men, such as the Sophomores have been obliged to put forward as representing the rowing power of their class, a second crew is an absolute necessity. Without it, if the present six (which is now in very good trim) loses a man, they will have to take into the boat another, perfectly raw and untrained, and it will be not only his rowing which will injure the crew, but the disheartening knowledge that their progress has been stopped.
The Freshmen, particularly, have realized this week the importance of a second crew. They have lost, in their short boating-experience, six of their best men from one cause and another, and now, a fortnight before the race comes off, in order to put in an appearance at all, they are driven to the second crew. Two of the best men have been taken from it and put on the first crew, which, in spite of a new stroke, and a prospect by no means enlivening, is doing tolerably well.
The prospects of the Juniors seem to be the brightest at present of any of the crews on the river. They have only one new man in their boat, and are backed by a promising second crew, which appeared on the river for the first time this week.
It is as much for the boating interest of a class to have a second crew in good training as it is to have the first crew in condition. It inspires a certain feeling of confidence in case of accidents among the first crew, while it acts also, if it makes any pretensions at all to excellence, as an incentive to the other.
We earnestly hope that the second crews which entertain the idea of breaking up will recognize the truth of what we have said, and consider what an injury they are doing to their classes. If the Juniors continue in their present favorable condition, and their second crew perseveres; if the Sophomores are seen again on the river with their second crew, and the Freshmen fill the vacancies in theirs, we need not despair yet of seeing some very interesting races on the 30th of May.