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Saturday's Yale game provided a stirring, if not completely satisfying, ending to the 1950 football season. But in spite of the spirited performances that Harvard teams put on against superior opponents all through the fall, the overall record was a dismal one for varsity, jayvees, and freshmen alike.
It is clear that the rebuilding of Harvard football is a long term proposition. It is also clear that any hopes for future varsity successes rest on each year's freshman squad. It was disturbing, therefore, to hear last week that the Yardling eleven, through the Union Committee, was protesting "the unnecessarily trying and demoralizing conditions" under which it was forced to play and practice.
This was no full-scale revolt, and it would be dangerous to so consider it. It was a catalogue of requests, some of them seemingly legitimate, some impractical; but the fact that the protest was made at all shows that there is a morale problem which the Athletic Association cannot afford to ignore.
What the freshmen want most is increased attendance at their games. They complain that their schedule involves conflicting with varsity contests and playing out of Cambridge when the varsity is away. The conflict problem arises mainly in scheduling prep schools which do not like to release their students for Friday games. But here a small amount of H.A.A. pressure on the schools could prove a boost to freshman morale. And when the varsity was at Princeton, the freshman played at Brown, leaving their followers behind and collecting another justifiable gripe.
Financial considerations bear on the other Yardling requests. Installing lights on the practice field would be beneficial, but expensive. Lowering admissions, however, might be balanced out by a greatly increased attendance. The weakest of the requests is the one for a daily training table, which would put the freshmen in a better position than all varsity teams other than football.
Serious consideration of these minor problems could knit individual outstanding freshmen into a team. It could make football more attractive to present Yardlings, as well as to the potential Yardlings who are so badly needed.
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