Big Ben boomed the half hour after 12 o'clock noon, two crows, calm and collected, were waiting on the Thames ready to dip their oars, about a minute later the starter's gun barked and off they were, rowing a smooth beat, while a slowly drizzling rain gradually was turning into a heavier downpour. That was the start of the eighty-second Oxford-Cambridge boat race last Saturday on the historic Thames. The two crews were tied in the number of victories--there were 40 wins for each and one dead heat--and now these two historic colleges, rich in tradition, were all set for the annual renewal of what is probably their oldest and most cherished tradition. Yet it seems that even in this the English graduates and undergraduates remained calm and showed none of the rowdyism that often accompanies an American spectacle of the same kind. W. O. McGeehan, the special correspondent of the New York Herald-Tribune now travelling in Europe, gives a few interesting sidelights on this aspect of the race. He says:
"There were no flustered old grads in the vicinity of the Oxford boathouse as the nine rather moody young men passed through the crowd and entered the boathouse. There were Oxford Blues among those crowding the porches and entrances of the boathouse, but there was no cheering and no hysteria. Only the shrill voices of small boys greeted the members of Oxford's crew. There was no organized cheering and there were no bands.
"The Light Blue crew passed along the same way a few minutes later, apparently serene in the knowledge that Cambridge was a 3 to 1 favorite. As they came back there was another polite and well bred silence not broken by the strident voices of any old grads of the Light Blue.
"There were swarming crowds milling decorously on the Surrey side near Putney Bridge as the crews took to the water, but they were quiet crowds, undulating gently at the slightest gesture of the bobbies.
"There are thousands of open pubs and taverns on both sides of the Thames, but I do not recall hearing the strains of any English college songs coming out of them as the time for the race drew near. I was wondering if Oxford and Cambridge had any college songs. Also there was a dearth of organized cheering. It seems that they have no organized cheers in the English universities. At one point near Bull's Head Tavern I did hear a gentleman wearing the Dark Blue colors exclaim in a well modulated shout. "Well rowed, Oxford!" but immediately afterward he seemed to feel that he had forgotten himself and lapsed into silence."
Over the Net
It's a bit early, still, to begin thinking about the Yale tennis match, but there's quite a lot to consider, nevertheless. The Harvard tennis team, in returning from another undefeated tour of the South, has run, its string of consecutive victories to 17. Last year it had a clean slate . . . in fact, the only match lost by a Harvard tennis team at all was that in which the Freshmen outplayed the Seconds! The year before, the University team lost only to Pennsylvania. In Norfolk, this Spring, the team romped over William and Mary, 9 to 0; the Norfolk Country Club, 8 to 1; and the University of Virginia, 7 to 2. Then, on the way back to Cambridge, the Navy fell by the count of 8 to 1; a few days before it had eked out its first victory in the history of its encounters with Yale 5 to 4. In that match, Ryan, former Andover and present Yale star, won his match with the loss of only one game. Then when Hill, playing first man for Harvard, met the Navy man, and dropped the opening set, it looked bad. But he walked through the next two frames without trouble, so it will be a close affair when and if the two oppose each other in June. Which isn't by any means probable, since it must be remembered that for one reason or another, three players who have excellent chances to play well up on the team weren't in the South. So, with Breese, Captain Ingraham, and Ware helping out, the prospects aren't so bad. Incidentally, the weather has a lot to do with what a tennis team can accomplish during the season. Few of us realize that around Cambridge. Considering all the days wasted by rain, the lateness of the start of the season and all, there are really only about three weeks of decent playing weather.
A treat for billiard lovers is scheduled for today at 8 o'clock in the Union when Jake Schaeffer will give an exhibition. He has held various billiard titles at different times and is the son of a one time champion. . . . Rex, second string catcher on the baseball team, broke his finger on the Southern trip in the Catholic U. game and will probably be out for about a month. . . . Ben Bassett, diminutive right fielder on the ball team, who comes from the Cape Cod region, was bragging to his mates on the trip to the South about his sailing abilities. On the second day out he was the first one who had to have medical attention. . . . Incidentally, some New York sports writer must have mixed him up with Jim Barrett for in a story Bassett was referred to as "one of the strapping six footers on the Harvard team." He is in reality only five feet five inches tall. --BY TIME OUT