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ing. At the outset, it must be assumed as yielded that an healthful pervading interest in boating is promotive of a sound physical culture in College; to establish the necessity of such a discipline among us as Students, needs no expanded demonstration. Experience has signally shown that the interest in boating throughout all classes has ever been proportionate to the zeal and enthusiasm exhibited in the races of the year. The new organization, under whose sole control the navy is soon to be placed, is better calculated, even than the system it supersedes, to afford encouragement to this stirring branch of our naval practice. For in former years the complaint has been justly entered that, since each club rarely owned more than one boat during the first year of its existence, and the well-nigh exclusive use of this was secured by the race crew, mere pleasure seekers, in reality fitter subjects for improvement than the men of muscle, were deprived of the healthful exercise to obtain which they had become members of the association. Under the new arrangement, however, each club commands, or promises soon to command, a supply of barges and shells adequate to meet the wants of either class of boatmen, and the complaint loses all pertinency.
During last term there was certainly manifested a wide enthusiasm in the practice of boating. On each Wednesday and Saturday afternoon, goodly numbers from the permanent clubs of College might have been seen gathered in or near the boat-house, eager to make trial of old Neptune in barge or shell. That this show of interest was in large measure due to the prospective race then deemed certain, and to the solicitude of each club for the crew training to represent their corporate ability, must have been patent to the most casual observer. Yet the summer months wore away, and the buoy was not turned by a single College craft in a race. Why? Not certainly because there is anything in the new system, as it is now regulated, that looks with disfavor or indifference on the custom of racing ; not because there was a lack of well-trained crews who could pull strongly over the course ; not because the desire for the championship was flagging; but, as far as can be ascertained, because by some strange though not unheard of fatality each crew was disappointed in not retaining among its number one or two desirable men. The plea might be received, but, as far as our memory serves, this is a complaint chronic with every crew formed in College during the past three years. How then does it happen, one might inquire, that former crews in spite of this malady have entered and rowed through races ; while those of last term accomplished nothing? The answer is found
in the fact that the time in previous years for the College Regatta, and the Fourth of July prize contests, about which centered most of our interest in racing, was unalterably fixed. No indefinite postponement of the day, so common where a challenge is necessary, was possible, and all minor difficulties vanished before this stubborn fact. If this answer is a correct one, it renders evident a defect in the present system to which is clearly traceable the failure of last term, and also suggests a sure preventive against any similar disappointment in the future. There should be established a more authoritative and definite ordering of the time of our summer race. Each individual then who proposed joining one of the crews, would form his plans and arrangements with an intelligent reference to the day appointed; the end would be held as clearly in mind as the beginning of his time of service. The result of this would be a sensible diminution of the practical embarrassments and hindrances now inseparable from that state of expectant doubt which always attends the giving or acceptance of a challenge. The imperative demand there is for some such reform can be understood only by estimating rightly the potent influence of racing in the support and efficiency of the Yale Navy. It is hardly conjectural that an enthusiasm similar to that of last year can be again awakened on so small a capital. There must exist some surer guarantee of its object being realized, for we have no other like source of interest. The College Regatta, by decree of the Faculty, will no longer engage the entire attention of six muscular devotees to the oar and gymnasium; the Fourth of July will not in future yield us prize money for new shells; and as a consequence, racing can be encouraged solely by fostering a competitive spirit within the College walls. Let us hope that it will be more healthful in its action, and more fertile in good results than that kindred sentiment which brought us as Yalensians to a contest on the broader arena of national championship.
The inauguration of some such reform would also be strictly consonant with that spirit which has been the spring of recent changes in our boating practice. In the place of a navy formed on an irregular volunteer system, inadequate to the demands of its individual members, and insufficient for the accomplishment of satisfactory results by united action, another has been constructed on a basis contemplating permanency as well as existence, meeting equally the wants of all classes of boating characters, and efficient for organized effort in any proposed undertaking. A well-regulated order has thus superseded what faintly resembled a chaotic mass of elements in one branch of our naval system, and it seems but natural that a similar movement
should be prosecuted in another department no less important, as it is no less defective.
If it has been satisfactorily shown that this change is desirable and imperative, the details of its working are easy of conception. The time of the contest would be chosen more appropriately with a reference to the College than the national festivals, and in this persuasion some afternoon in Presentation week seems preferable to the Fourth of July. Such a selection is approved by a number of practical considerations. The tide will serve more conveniently within the limit of a week than of a day. Again, six weeks of training are amply sufficient for the least practiced crew, while a longer probation is pronounced, by all who have experienced it, wearingly tedious. It is besides cooler and healthier for a crew to select this period from the earlier rather than the later days of the term. Possibly the practicability of having the race on an afternoon when a recitation must be prepared, might be doubted: this question, however, was settled two years ago last summer, when just such a contest took place. But the paramount advantage of this arrangement will plainly consist in the mere fact, that the race occurs in Presentation week. The gathering in front of the Pavilion will be selected as well as more numerous, the incentive to precise drill, varied, uniform, thorough discipline and hard-pulling, for reasons evident will be strengthened, and the occasion would add one more interesting feature to that emphatically College week of the year, while it might in large measure fill the place left so void by the discontinuance of the Annual Regatta. I have refrained from a notice of the Fall race which may soon occur; not to ignore its existence or importance, but rather recognizing the fact that it is dependent for support on the character of the contest in the previous Summer, and is a mere outgrowth of the interest therein excited.
Mention has been made of the championship, but with a careful abstinence from all allusion to the Champion Flay, the existence of such a banner in the navy being merely an ancient myth, suggestive to the boating community of remote emblematic memories, and to Freshmen of a certain awe-inspiring reverence for the privileged winners of a standard so time-honored and glorious. Under the old system where the number of clubs was large, that of boats and members small, a single flag seemed all that was needed to summon to a vigorous exercise the energy and muscle dormant in the navy. The present arrangement, on the other hand, requires but three clubs, each of these having a number of boats and material among its members ample for the formation of two crews. Tbis state of matters seems to demand the offering of a second prize, or a Champion Flag for barges. The main design of such an appointment would of course be frustrated, were any of the oarsmen in a shell allowed on the day of the race to transfer themselves to the other boat of their club; and the exclusion of these should be provided for by special regulation.
The embodiment of some such plan, as has been very crudely and imperfectly outlined, in a practical form, would be fruitful in results, favorable to the cause of physical culture in College. Many will recall the eager interest of two summers ago, when but three racecrews were under training regimen, and the numbers who were turned to the gymnasium by the spectacle therein presented of the process of muscular development. Double the number of crews, as this plan suggests; let a wide and generous emulation be awakened by the fact that no six or even eighteen men may enjoy a monopoly of the racing in College, and who shall rightly guage the healthful benefit to all classes thence resultant. The immediate and direct influence for good is not limited to the oarsmen, for many an unsuccessful aspirant to the honor of representing his club in a race will be the sure, it may be reluctant, recipient of bodily profit. Indirectly, also, a much larger class will be reached; and as the sinking stone ruffles widely the still surface it has just left, so these thirty-six men of muscle will generate on the over quiet surface of College life, ever widening circles of influence, and perchance at last stir even the remote stagnating pools of dyspeptic scholarship.
There is yet another lesson with which the suggestive experience of last term is laden, and wbose teachings can scarce be neglected. Of the shell race-boats belonging to the permanent clubs of the navy, the heaviest was swamped on a day of no unusually stormy character. When every year witnessed a contest with Harvard on some quiet lake or river, boats as light and crank as possible were appropriate, and the inconveniences attendant on their use were willingly submitted to. But now that our racing is to be confined to this often whitecapped harbor, the purchase of crafts better adapted to weather its varied and stormy phases would seem both sensible and necessary. Decisive races have occurred among us at times when the waves were much more boisterous than those among which the Glyuna met 80 pitiful an experience, and there are yet in the navy shells longtested and never found wanting on the day of trial. It may be matter for reasonable difference of opinion, but we would venture the statement, that of all the crafts now in possession of the navy, the Atalanta is the finest type of a light race-boat in every way suited for practice in New Haven harbor, for we do not race on the river. There are unfortunately too many crank shells lying in the boat-house to justify expectation of a very speedy reform in this particular, but it is surely matter for earnest hope that no further capital will be invested in property so needlessly unsafe.
We would, however, be far from indulging altogether in a disparaging strain of remark, for it is our belief that those in any way interested in the prosperity of the Yale Navy, have ample ground for congratulation and cheerful hope in the view of its present condition. There has entered into it, of late, an element which imparts a certain body and stability to the organization, unknown till now. Its most labored efforts can no longer be called forth by an excitement originating in what is external to College and in large measure independent of it, but must in future be roused by causes that have their existence in the system of boating itself, and which will fail only when this ceases to live. It is thus that our navy promises to become, in the place of a prominent feature, a rooted institution of the University, growing with its growth, and behind these wooden walls we may trust will be safely sheltered the best interests of whatever shall promote a sound physical discipline in College.