No American game has won so much praise and, at the same time, so much censure, as has football. The game has been lauded for the scientific play it develops and for the training of mind and body it affords the players. It has been adversely criticised for its roughness and the consequent injuries which the players are likely to receive. From the point of view of some spectators the game seems so dangerous to the players that to allow the game to be played in our colleges seems half-civilized.

Such persons are not really well acquainted with football as it is played today for the game is first in the many forms of athletic competition in the development of the player physically, mentally and morally.

Although to the layman football is primarily a physical game, the bodily benefits afforded the player are by no means the only ones he receives. True, it does afford the player better opportunities for physical development than any other sport. In most other branches of competitive athletics only parts of the body are brought into exercise. In football all muscles are used alike. The arms, legs and back are all required to do their work. The running and swift succession of plays develop the endurance. In every possible way the muscles of the player are hardened. Furthermore, no single part of him is developed abnormally. Football players do not become slow, muscle-bound men. They develop into smooth, enduring athletes. The physical development derived from football is readily shown by the charts of college trainers, giving the physical measurements of football players before and after they have become veterans. In every case the measurements show a remarkable growth in strength, size and symmetry for the athlete.

The physical benefits, while generally admitted, have often been counted of little value, however, because of the roughness of a game which, it has been claimed, injures more players than it benefits.

That football is brutal, no one who is acquainted with the game will admit. All will concede that the game is rough but roughness does not constitute brutality. Liability to injury on the part of the players cannot be entirely eliminated but this is true of every game and occupation in life. In almost every town where football is played it will be found that such sports as boating, hunting, skating and the rest furnish more serious accidents each year than does the game of football. Since our whole lives are made up of physical risks, any game which has no element whatever of roughness or risk is hardly worthy of young and vigorous men.

However, the roughness of football should be eliminated as much as possible and this is done to a great extent among our great teams today. These teams are trained by skilled men whose sole duty it is to see that each player is fit to do his part in the game. Furthermore, the players are usually taught the principles of gentlemanly conduct and much of the roughness of the game is eliminated in this way. Football is being made more and more a game of physical and mental skill, rather than a contest of mere force. The old style of mass plays is giving way to the more scientific and open variety. All this tends to eliminate the liability of serious injury to the player and at the same time affords him the very best opportunity for physical development.

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But the physical benefits of football are of no greater importance to the average college man than are its advantages to his mental development. Football is a game of strength, but of strength properly controlled by the mind Many games are won by the mental superiority of one team over another. This is a phase of football with which the average spectator is entirely unfamiliar. He can easily see the push and scramble on the field but he cannot comprehend the workings of the minds that direct the efforts of both sides. However, any spectator ought to be able to appreciate the severe mental drill given to the player when, in order to be successful, he must learn a mass of rules and be able to understand them all and act accordingly; master a system of signals and carry them out instantly; understand his own play and that of his fellows so that they all work together with the precision of a machine, and do all this with a quickness and accuracy demanded by no other game.

It is very evident that a dullard can never play football properly. Hence it is by no means detrimental to the game to require high standings for all football men in their class room work, as is the case in most colleges. Almost all the football players who have attained any recognized degree of success are good students. Football not only requires keen-minded men to play it but it makes its players still keener of mind. The regular exercise helps the player and makes his head clearer for study. It makes him quick in thought and able to grasp things with precision. Further, football, by bringing the player into contact with many opponents whom he must watch very carefully and shrewdly, is sure to develop his ability to read character. This is a very important benefit, often overlooked.

Along with the mental benefits of football comes the moral development, of which the most evident characteristic is courage. Every manly man must have a certain amount of courage, physical and mental, and no football player can long be without it. It requires a great deal of mental bravery to run into a foreseen possible physical danger as all players must often do. Then, mental courage is developed in the player in several distinct ways. Every player must learn to have perfect control of his temper, so that he may always play with discretion and never disgrace himself or his school by forgetting what the etiquette of the gridiron demands. A player must learn to be calm and rational in the most exciting moments, for it is at such times that the most is expected of him. He must never get "rattled" but must use his head all the time. Further, a great amount of self-control and self-denial must be exercised by the ordinary young college man when he begins training. He must yield himself readily to authority and must learn to obey both quickly and quietly.

Obedience must be exercised not only on the field but also off the gridiron, for it is in the latter place that its sway calls for the most will power. Here the player must obey the rule of regular rising and retiring and must learn never to break it, no matter what temptations he may have. The player must also exercise great control in sticking to the diet assigned him. He must never yield to the possible temptations to drink or smoke, but must accustom himself to regular habits regarding his daily nourishment. All these influences toward self-control are very important for college men and, as football brings them all to bear in the fall of the year when many of the players are away from home for the first time, the moral effects of the game cannot be overestimated.

It is true, of course, that there are exceptions to the rule in the general results of football. Instincts are developed in some players which do not redound to their advantage in after life. Injuries are possible in all sports as in the daily avocations. There are lawyers whose careers turn out anything but an ornament to the great profession and cases can be cited of clergymen who have disgraced their cloth, yet in neither instance is there a possible stigma to be cast on their co-workers who are sincerely benefiting the world by the same knowledge acquired by those who have perverted it. All football players do not come out of the great game unscathed physically or morally, yet the great majority who do achieve benefit from it, and marked benefit too, amply demonstrate the value of the game as a source of all-round development.

Football is undoubtedly the best American game, not only from the average spectator's point of view, but from that of the player as well.

The many and conflicting opinions regarding the effect of football on the players, not only in college but after graduation and judged from both the physical and mental points of view, led a prominent Bostonian to ask the Harvard Board of Overseers for an investigation. No formal defense of football has been attempted, in spite of repeated assaults on the game by sensational newspaper and magazine writers.

Mr. Robert Bacon, of the board to whom the matter was referred, came to New Haven and solicited successfully the services of Mr. Walter Camp, the best known authority on the game and a veteran player himself, to act as the chairman of a committee which should thoroughly investigate the matter. Mr. Camp accepted and, with the assistance of Rev. Joseph Twitchell of Hartford, Conn., a member of the Yale corporation; Rev. Endicott Peabody of Groton school, Mass.; James W. Alexander of Princeton, and Hon. Henry E. Howland of New York, Messrs. Camp and Bacon took up the work of amassing the facts.

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A thorough canvass was made of the veteran football players of Harvard, Yale and Princeton and a mass of testimony was secured from team captains, college authorities, preparatory school masters, and the result was a most complete array of data, proving beyond a doubt that football is a game in which the beneficent effects far outnumber the possible drawbacks.

Without going into the detail which is presented in such a wealth of array in Mr. Camp's "Facts and Figures," a work which finds its subject matter in the results of the investigation, the committee's findings may well be summarized in a few paragraphs of their report, which includes the following :

"We find that the almost unanimous opinion of those who have played the game of football at Harvard, Yale or Princeton during the last eighteen years is that it has been of marked benefit to them, both in the way of general development and mental discipline; also that they regard the injuries sustained as generally unimportant and far outweighed by the benefits. Still further similar enquiries sent out to the players of the majority of college teams have brought back the same unvarying replies, testifying that the game was of great benefit to the player both mentally and physically.

"While it was fair to conclude that men who had been out of college all the way from two or three years to sixteen or seventeen would be fully competent to judge of the effects of the game upon themselves, it seemed that something more would be necessary in the case of the schoolboy who had not yet entered college. For this reason our enquiries were made not only of the boy himself but of the teacher as well. The head masters also of most of the prominent schools were courteous enough to reply quite- at length to our request for an expression of opinion. We find that the evidence here too, is that, in the majority of cases, the sport has been beneficial to the physical development and discipline of the school and that the consensus of opinion is that scholarship has certainly not suffered."

The summarized statistics collected by the committee from the Harvard, Yale and Princeton students is as follows:

Number of men who considered themselves benefited, 328; number of men who considered themselves injured, 3; number of men who failed to reply, 2; number of men who considered it had no effect, 4.

Substantially the same ratio applied to the same questions, asked in reference to the effect of the game on the . player's mental equipment.