While the cross-country season is in its early stages of development, there are many aspects of the sport worthy of serious consideration by every undergraduate.
The Freshman must take part in some branch of athletics, and if he has not played on any preparatory school teams, he is often at a loss to know what benefit, and also what pleasure, he will derive from the many sports he has to choose from upon entering Harvard. The field of college athletics is on a far broader scale than anything he has seen before, and there are so many new things he must accustom himself to in his new surroundings, that he often makes the serious mistake of "dabbling" first in one sport, then in another, until in his Junior or Senior year he finds himself shouting encouragement to his friends from the stands instead of being on the field putting that energy to good purpose, competing for his University or class.
Easy to Get Out of "Bleacher" Class
Consider then,--whether you may be Freshman, Sophomore, Junior or Senior,--what you have done for yourself to date, and how easily a new resolve and added determination can take you out of the "bleacher" class and put you into a suit and actually on the field of competition.
Case after case can be quoted where after four years of grinding a man has won his much coveted "H" in the spring of his Senior year; and again, where laziness has kept a good man from competing until he was discovered too late in his college career to develop into a point winner. The real issue we all of us have to face in life is ourselves. Have we given ourselves a square deal, have we made the most of our opportunities, and can we say when we leave college, "I am proud of my record?"
There is usually just one thing that keeps a man down:--lack of determination, and resolve to finish what he starts. No exercise, and the habit of thinking things over in a cloud of smoke will continue to keep down his resolve and determination, and the point at which most men quit is usually that at which one more kick would put them across onto the winning side.
There is no sport that calls for greater determination or more stubborn resolve than cross-country running, or one which, at the same time, builds to a greater extent both of these valuable characteristics during the period of training.
A cross-country season develops legs, arms, chest, back, lungs, in fact every muscle in the body, and sets a man up so that he is in about as perfect physical condition as can be desired. The training is more interesting and varied than track work, in that it is over new country all of the time. Cinder tracks differ only slightly, but every cross-country course is different. Then too, the training is during a season of crisp, cool weather. There is a cross-country training table at the Varsity Club; there are the trips to other colleges to look forward to; and what should appeal to every red-blooded man more than anything else, a very good chance of making a Major Sport "H", or if a Freshman, his class numerals.
As the cross-iountry team is dependent upon a large squad to give the coaches the necessary material to develop a winning team, no man need feel it is hopeless for him to start now as a candidate. Whether he has had experience or not, all that is needed is the determination to try hard, and the sport and the coaches will do the rest.
From the coaches' standpoint, the cross-country candidates are invaluable material for the track team in the spring,. No better foundation can be laid for the half-mile, mile, and two-mile events, than the strength and endurance gained in a cross-country season, and if Harvard had been stronger in these events last year, how different would have been the results of the Yale and Intercollegiate Meets.
It is with the very sincere desire that the men who are doing nothing athletically, or who are trying to decide what they will do, will report at once for the cross-country team, not alone for their value to the team and the College, or the satisfaction of winning an "H", or numerals, but for the better manhood the sport will fi tthem for, and to take themselves, once and for all, out of the "bleacher" class for the rest of their lives