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The present over-development of athletics in the colleges of the country is particularly harmful in its effects upon the preparatory schools. It is not to be expected that young boys should set their ideals higher than those which seem to move their elders; and certainly of all the activities of the college men of today, those directed toward the attainment of the athletic ideal are the most conspicuous. The school boy sees almost no side of college life but the devotion to athletics in one form or another, of which he has constant evidence. The real intellectual work which is being done, he cannot see, and the importance attaching to it he is bound to underestimate if he does not, as is too often the case, overlook it entirely. The result is lamentable. At his most susceptible age, the age at which he is most imitative, all the influences of example seem to be in favor of neglect of mental development for physical. The boy naturally hopes for a successful college career, and the only road to success seems to him to be through athletic achievement. To this, therefore, he devotes all his energies, to the great detriment of his mental training.

The harmful influence thus exerted by the college, ultimately reacts on the college. The freshman classes enter with very strong athletic propensities, and too often with correspondingly weak interest in intellectual pursuits. It becomes the work of the college not to develop right ideals, but to cultivate them; not to broaden the field in which mental activity has to play, but to furnish the first stimulus to any real mental activity at all. Obviously there is here a serious incongruity between the desirable and the necessary in a college education, and the fault lies with the students themselves. By their devotion to athletics they give to the school boy just the stimulus which he least needs, and which is accordingly the worst for him. His youthful vigor might be trusted to work itself off in as much athletics as would be good for him; while the college should furnish the much more needed impulse to scholarly attainment.

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