In the statements concerning athletics, in the President's Report there are discussed two principal topics, one from a positive, the other from a negative angle. In regard to the former, the expansion of intramural sports, the CRIMSON thoroughly agrees with the favorable attitude shown in the Report.
At present the University's policy of athletic training for all students may be said to be safely out of the experimental stage. At its inception, it had to combat such handicaps as expense, lack of facilities, opposition from the over-studious clement of the administration on one hand, from Big Crimson Team boosters on the other. But there is still a considerable distance to travel before the system can reach its goal; and it is here that the House Plan can provide an impulse. The organization of intramural sports by means of classes and fraternities has been carried about as far as possible. But the existence of six Houses, all of which should furnish material for enthusiastic representation in sports, means that there is opened an entirely new field of student athletic interest, to which even the present activities of class teams are not comparable.
The second topic, intercollegiate sport, is treated by President Lowell in the light of analogies that are at least thought-provoking. As an ideal, the Greek principle of a single extensive meet, with the interest rather on the universal, well-rounded development, than on the single event or the specialized group of performers, is far preferable to the Roman love of the spectacle. But unfortunately no such classical wave as the former would imply can be envisioned in this day. The Greeks lacked bands, uniforms, college songs; they lacked the inter-relation of sports and business that makes the autumn a financial gleaning-time for thousands in America, and causes one game to overpower the rest so that they practically depend on its income for their existence: above all, they lacked the game of football, which even lovers of antiquity would admit to be much more exciting than a series of races.
Harvard is, however, in a position to work for the abolition of football hysteria. While it may be granted that a season spent in playing intramural games, with a single contest with Yale as its climax, would be both dull and, for some time to come, impossible, still, some motion in that direction is desirable. Harvard can, better than most colleges, afford to do without the income that is a constant excuse for foot ball emphasis. It can continue to refuse an enlarged Stadium to be used as a whole on one afternoon in two years. It can instill in the present college generation, the embryo count, a sane ideal of athletics that will influence strongly public opinion in the future.