To anyone who maintains that the Harvard man is not proud, or unenthusiastic or indifferent; the singing at Saturday's game was a striking example. The proportion of strangers to students was approximately ten to one, and while each student was willing to support the band, he was unwilling to sing alone before ten strangers. This commendable modesty asserted itself when the band suddenly stopped playing without the warning of even half a cadence. The voices of the singers died in their throats and the hushed cheering section laughed good-naturedly at their own discomfiture.
You have seen babies bashfully refuse to perform before grown-ups, in the same way, even when cookies are offered as reward; sucking their fingers, smiling at their elders, and scraping the ground with one foot is an excess of embarrassed shyness.
You have also seen the effect of the singing of Yale, and Princeton, and Dartmouth. Like all self-conscious children, we need to be shown the genuineness of others who are not shy. We don't find visiting colleges overbearing because their songs are well sung. We do not consider their efforts as flung out in self-praise, but inspired by a great desire to encourage and enliven their teams.
This "shyness" is as contagious as enthusiasm. Have we got to have a curtain, like the substitute organist, behind which to perform? All that is needed is a feeling for the team strong enough to carry everything before it. And above all there is no need to save our voices for the Yale game!