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The voluntary playing of part of Harvard's spectacular band at important basketball games this winter sets more than a new precedent. It marks the trend of basketball towards its possible initiation as a major sport. Unfortunately, New England and Cambridge, especially, has never been basketball-conscious; neither has Harvard ever seen a good quintet; in the past the turn-out of players has been scanty and -disappointing, enough to discourage even a coach like Fesler. During the last month, however, Harvard has witnessed a stimulating rejuvenation in basketball, making the team a formidable threat to other rivals in the Eastern League and perhaps giving it the right to demand its majority.
Several factors undelie this renaissance in basketball. The excellence of Fesler's coaching ability cannot be exaggerated; through patient training of mediocre material he has improved the standard of Harvard basketball to such a remarkable degree that he has received the attention and praise both of the student body and of the contending teams and coaches. Harvard's re-entrance into the Eastern League in 1934 seemed to be just the spark necessary to start basketball on the upgrade; the squad spirit improved, and more and better men came to Fesler's hands.
But a good team alone does not make a major sport; neither do age and prestige help much. The demand by undergraduates and the public for basketball is requisite for such an accomplishment. At Lchigh wrestling has the rank of a major both because of its outstanding teams and the popularity of the sport with the college; at Penn State, boxing, for the same reasons. To achieve the class of a major, basketball must be popularized. This should place no further strain on the H.A.A.: in fact, the increased attendance which should result from a good team and the spontaneous music of an informal number of the regular band will materially assist its budget.
To raise basketball from a minor to a major sport, it is essential to make a decent showing this winter and to arouse the interest of both the college and the public. The former must cause the latter, and so much has Harvard basketball improved that if still continues to progress, there may come a day when another major sport will be added to the present list.
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