Death In The Afternoon

Let all those humanitarians who cry out at the use of horses in war and such gory pastimes as Spanish bullfights and bear-baiting, betake themselves to the Boston Skating Club some afternoon this week and they will view that which passeth all description as far as atrocious pastimes go. For on the ice of this handsome rink are perpetrated the most horrible crimes ever seen by bird, beast, or fish.

The scene of approaching carnage is an innocent appearing expanse of smooth ice bounded by the usual sideboards, with screens at each end to protect spectators from flying pucks, sticks, and occasional severed limbs. But at two o'clock sharp, the tranqull ice is transformed into what resembles a subway rush in the 7th Avenue subway when a hundred or so shabbily dressed people with razor-like skates swarm over the boards-the Rainbow Division going over the top at Hill 22. After a general 15-minute melee, called "warm-up time", a whistle is blown and the first game is about to begin. For purposes of illustration, let us say, between Winthrop and Lowell.

Sixteen Men On A Dead Man's Chest

After the faceoff the blood begins to flow in copious quantities. The Winthrop forward line, composed of Jack Kennedy, Torby Macdonald, and Ben Smith goes crashing down toward the Lowell cage, battering the puck about like an old shoe. The usual result of such a foray into enemy territory is a terrific 10-man collision, the nucleus of which is the man with the puck. There is no escaping this sort of defense. Then Lowell's Bud Doering takes the misshapen rubber disk that has been beaten to a pulp by the Winthrop bludgeons, and careens down the ice until by the time he crosses the blue line nothing is seen but a blur with skates on. At this point another ear-splitting collision occurs. The bodies are wheeled off the ice and the game goes on.

The reaction of the spectators indicates that we are all still more or less barbarians and cannibals. Some onlookers are genuinely dumfounded at the mass mayhem they are seeing, but the majority enjoy themselves mightily, exhorting the contestants to "chop that goalie into little pieces," "rip off his leg if he tries that again," "give him a good one right between the eyes."

Hurrah For The Next Man That Dies

During the timeouts, the spectators gather about the bleeding players and listen avidly while the latter form their plots as they run their fingers across their skate-blades, testing their sharpness and grinning evilly at the vision of the cleanly vivisected jugular vein of an enemy defenseman. Then the whistle blows again, and the "game" goes on. Nothing ever stops these 20th century executioners except the necessity of removing a corpse which has fallen so as to inconvenience play. If a man is obliterated out in front of the goalie's cage, the game is halted until the gurgling victim is transported to a far corner of the rink.

Finally the gladiators come staggering off the field of combat, gripping their injured members, and collapse on the floor in all the positions the Dying Gaul would have assumed had he been able to move. Immediately after their departure from the ice, which now looks like a strawberry patch after an elephant stampede, the more mundaneminded onlookers rush out and howl with glee at the residue.

Then everybody goes back to his House and has fresh hamburg steak for dinner. It is all a plot of the University to provide the Housemen with tender meat