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It is unlikely that the Athletic Association expects very much from the committee it has appointed to sound out undergraduate opinion on the proposed award to all minor sport teams of a minor "H" without modifications. The H, A. A. knows that attempts to find undergraduate opinion at Harvard are generally fruitless, however well-meant they may be. It seems, therefore, that the appointment of the committee is only a device to gain time for more consideration of the proposal. The significance of the incident lies in this very move which indicates that the Association has accepted a suggestion as worthy of serious attention.
No one can doubt the wisdom of the proposed step. The award of a minor letter without any strings attached to it would do more than remove a tangle of cumbersome formalities that now attend the recognition of many teams. It would go far toward placing all sports on the basis of parity which they deserve. The division of sports into "major" and "minor" is a remnant of the days when there attached to each game a certain individual glory that was saleable off the athletic field. Because football attracted more spectators than soccer or lacrosse, and therefore gave its players more publicity, the idea arose that football was a nobler sport, and that its devotees were to be honored above the run of ordinary men.
All this has been changed. Behind such shibboleths as "sport for sport's sake" and "athletics for all" stands a real change in values. Where every effort is bent toward an ideal of every man playing a game for its own sake, the meaning of the false distinction conferred by an athletic letter has vanished. There was a time when only the men who wore letters played; now nearly everyone plays, and while the letter may serve a purpose as a marker of outstanding ability in a game, there should be gradations of honors among the different sports.
The ideal must remain the award of a University letter indiscriminately to all members of all University teams. But the erasing of small lines drawn between one sport and another is the first step into an intermediary stage, after which there may come a more sweeping change.
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