The Nebraskan. (Lincoln, Neb.) 1892-1899, November 01, 1892, Page 16, Image 4

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THE NEBRASKAN.
CEfc Chancellor's Column.
ON ATHLETICS.
The world has always admired courage,
nerve, grit, endurance. In earlier days much
of this admiration was wasted on those who
were simply perfect animals. In our later
and better life we demand a manifestation
of intellect and this means skill, or what
we sometimes rather vaguely term "science."
There is scarcely a phase of modern ex
istence which makes as great a demand for
mettle a combination of grip and grit and
mental alertness as does the athletic work
of ou Universities. The training necessary
to secure even respectable standing is sharp
and continuous, and is intelligently planned.
The "combinations" of a game, the "team
play," the necessity for instant decision and
correct decision, the forethought which must
sweep all possibilities in a flash all this
makes a demand equal to that placed upon
a chess-player ; but a demand that must be
met under very different conditions. In the
rush and confusion of foot-ball, for instance,
it is often a wonder that a man knows his
own legs ! But that he can also keep his
head, and keep it well at work, is a marvel
indeed. When he adds to this the ability to
keep his temper one of the surest proofs of
the highest form of self-control it is easy to
feel the educational force and value of ath
letics. For, after all, this athletic life, evenin its ex
treme phases, is only another proof that the
University is what it proiesses to be as
much as possible like the world into which
the students nre about to enter. A kindly
Providence has wisely ordered that for the
most part humanity moves onward arid
constantly somewhat upward with a steady
flow, in a quiet way, even in a rather monot
onous way. The competition of which we
often speak is not so very sharp ; most men
earn a livelihood without either prolonged
training or severe effort. The "floor work"
in the world's gymnasium is possible to
nearly all, and gives a certain all-around
health and vigor to all. But to every com
munity there come certain crises which can
only be met by a few, struggles in which
only the masterful may safely engage, con
tests which call for all the best qualities in
most active play. Whether it be the sudden
uprising of a factious populace which must
be quelled with an Iron hand, or the swift
advance of some gigantic and newly-formed
corporation threatening the very life of thj2
body commercial a hundred times and in a
thousand ways some men are called on lor
extraordinary service under extraordinary
conditions. They must pull themselves
quickly together, determine at once the con
ditions of the conflict, and strain every fibre
till the victory is won. "These are the times
that try men's souls," and happy is the min
who when so tried is not found wanting.
So there seems a positive educational
value in University athletics whichuis often
overlooked by both contestant and spectator.
It must not be over-estimated by the partici
pants, to the point of neglect of other Uni
versity work ; neither should it be under
estimated by the University authorities. The
season for athletics should be short, games
should be few in number and played within
reasonable distance of the respective institu
tions, and both practice and games so ar
ranged as to interfere as little as possible
with University work. Men should select
some one direction for work and be content
with that ; there should be different teams
for foot-ball, base-ball, la crosse, tennis,
boating, golf, and cricket. And when a man
has fairly mastered either, and has approved
himself in contests, he should withdraw in
order that others may have the incentive and
advantage of training.
As for us poor common mortals, who can
only stand about the ground and cheer and
blow horns and wave flags and hug our men
and hate the other fellows we ought not to
forger, our duty to ourselves in our more lim
ited sphere; keeping in mind the work
which we can do, and doing it with all faith
fulness; and possibly consoling ourselves
with an occasional re-reading of the fable of
"The Hare and the Tortoise."