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Athletics a Compulsory and Important Part of Freshman Year

By John J. Reidy jr.

Perhaps no other college offers a more tempting variety of sports than does Harvard to its incoming Freshman classes, and judging from past performances, no other group responds with more enthusiasm to a sports menu than a group of Harvard Freshmen.

Few men come to Harvard (you are men now, you know) who haven't already developed a liking for some form of sport and fewer leave who haven't become adopt at more sports than when they entered. Whether you like sports or not, some form of them is compulsory here, but with almost a dozen sports to pick form, there is no hardship.

For Those Who Must

Everyone will visit the large indoor swimming pool in the Indoor Athletic Building. As a matter of fact there are two pools, one for beginners, and the other for those who have passed the rudimentary stages. If you can swim, you need only visit the pool once, prove that you can negotiate on top of the water up to the end of the pool and back, and then you can go. If you can't swim, you'll be taught whether you like it or not.

The other form of compulsory exercise is corrective exercise. Photos will be taken of you, and if your posture is faulty, a six weeks program of corrective exercises is prescribed. This is, however, a surprising amount of fun. Candidates for many teams are put through a period of some form of it, and although it may leave a few sore muscles and call forth a few grunts, it's enjoyable.

Presuming, however, that neither compulsory swimming nor corrective exercise is necessary, and for 95 per cent of the Freshmen they aren't, there are a host of other sports. Leading the list in publicity, if not in popularity, is football. After that comes cross country, soccer, singles sculling, tennis, swimming, squash, crew, with fall track, fall baseball, and impromptu touch football filling in the remaining spots for autumn recreation.

A couple of hundred Freshmen answer the call for football candidates every year, but with genial Neil Stahley to separate the chaff from the wheat, no one who thinks he really knows how to play football need have any fear of being overlooked. Stahley was Freshman coach three years ago, the first year of Dick Harlow's regime. Last year he was taken to the Varsity with the ranking of Field Coach. That season he did a little of everything, in fact a whole lot of everything, including the scouting of the opposition. This year he will handle the Freshman again and drill the Harlow system into them.

Success Story

In track and cross country head coach Jaakko Mikkola and his assistant Ed Neufeld will be on hand to develop the fast men in the Freshman class, Jaakko's story, and he's Jaakko to everyone who comes into contact with him just once, is one of the most inspiring of the Harvard seene. A Finnish weight athletic in the Olympics, he came to this country where he first worked in a Lowell mill. From there he finally rose to become an assistant trainer at Harvard. Under Eddie Farrell he became assistant track coach in charge of the weight throwers, and three years ago was made head coach. His assistant was brought here after William J. Bingham '16, director of athletics met him in 1934, the Olympic year.

The other sport for which fall numerals are awarded is soccer. The writer of this doesn't know much about it, but a lot of people get a great deal of fun out of it. Varsity Coach Jack Carr and his staff have a brilliant record in developing stars out of men who played little or none at all before college.

In crew the Freshman coach is Harvey Love who was a cox on one of the famous Washington University crews. When Tom Bolles, Freshman crew coach at Washington was brought here to succeed Charley whiteside, he brought Harvey with him. Together they have revolutionized Harvard rowing and brought it back to the place in the sun which it enjoyed in the days of old (you must have heard of those good old days when Dad was in college.) There is fall practice.

Athletics versus Study

Three times a week is the minimum for sports the Freshman year, and no fee is required. When you become an upperclassman, you get socked ten dollars for the same thing.

Athletics in Cambridge are handled in such a way that studies, which are after all the fundamental reason most people come here at all, are not relegated to a secondary position. The average undergraduate, and anyone who can get into Harvard can qualify as being at least average, can well manage to spend most or all of his afternoons on athletics, pass his studies with whatever rank he's set as his goal, and still have a couple of evenings off for whatever he calls amusement.

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