Football Defended.

The article from which extracts are given below appears in the present number of the Boston Medical and Surgical Journal. It is interesting as an expression of a very common sentiment in favor of football.

"The present discussion in regard to football has clearly shown the ignorance of many who by their criticism of the game have designated the whole sport as brutal. And even in the game in question the charge of brutality narrows itself down to one, possibly to two players. Those who are so eager to censure and cry down a sport on account of the actions of a few should, at least, be willing to give to that sport its just deserts, and be ready to recognize the benefits which accrue to many from a healthy indulgence in it.

"Football, as it should be played, teaches a man self-reliance, command over self, and perseverence. It cultivates perception, ability to judge quickly, and the power of concentration. A man to play football must have his wits about him. His opponent is pressing him closely; he must hear and interpret the signals as they are given and then act quickly. The moment the play starts he must call his physical and mental powers into activity. He must do his share of the work; he must look for unprotected places and govern himself accordingly. Obstacles are thrown in his way which must be overcome; and when, in addition he grows weary from physical fatigue, he must force himself to do what but a few moments before required no especial effort. Football teaches a man, therefore, how to contend against opposition from himself. It teaches, or should teach him, self-denial and self-control.

"What other sport is there in the world which so closely combines so many demands upon the physical and mental qualities of our youths? * * * The chances of the game may result in a few broken bones, but the benefits derived help in no small measure towards producing a generation of healthy, courageous and manly individuals.

"Because a game is rough and has not as yet been regulated in a proper measure, are we as Americans going to throw over the entire sport? Are we going to confess that we are unable to take advantage of its strong, healthy points, and simply say it is too rough a game for boys to play? * * * Let us rather make a point of seeing that they learn to play fairly; that they learn to govern their brute instincts, that only those who are able to do this are permitted to indulge in rough play.


"If a player is known to be brutal, he should never be allowed on the field. If a man is or becomes unfit physically, he should be kept out of it. But once and for all, let us not give the youths of the day the impression that the only sports to be indulged in are those which do not call for courage. To the timid, a vigorous, well-fought football game is an unpleasant spectacle, and they shudder to think of the possibilities. * * * A man of courage knows too well the dangers of the game, but he also knows how much greater are its benefits.

"Football men must see to it that hereafter they do not present the spectacle of unfair play to the prejudiced opponent as well as to the enthusiastic lover of the game, lest these both of necessity be brought to act together to enforce the suppression of this sport.

"The football season of 1894 has just closed. There has been a great hue and cry against the danger and brutality of the game, yet it will be found that very little serious damage has been done among college youths. On the contrary, the football men of our colleges have gained muscle, experience and a good stock of health. * * *."