Harmon Graves, who was coaching West Point that year, has since told me that the Army coaches had drilled the team carefully in receiving the ball on a kick-off—with Daly clear back under the goal posts. On the kick-off, the Navy did just what West Point had been trained to expect. Belknap kicked a long high one direct to Daly, and then and there began the carefully prepared advance of the Army team. Mowing down the oncoming Navy players, the West Point forwards made it possible for clever Daly to get loose and score a touchdown after a run of nearly the entire length of the field.
This game stands out in my recollection as one of the most sensational on record. The Navy, like West Point, had had many victories, but the purpose of this book is not to record year by year the achievements of these two institutions, but rather catch their spirit, as one from without looks in upon a small portion of the busy life that is typical of these Service schools.
Scattered over the seven seas are those who heard the reveille of football at Annapolis. From a few old-timers let us garner their experiences and the effects of football in the Service.
C. L. Poor, one of the veterans of the Annapolis squad, Varsity and Hustlers, has something to say concerning the effect of football upon the relationship between officers and men.
"Generally speaking," he says, "it is considered that the relationship is beneficial. The young officer assumes qualities of leadership and shows himself in a favorable light to the men, who appreciate his ability to show them something and do it well. The average young American, whether himself athletic or not, is a bit of a hero worshipper towards a prominent athlete, and so the young officer who has good football ability gets the respect and appreciation of the crew to start with."
J. B. Patton, who played three years at Annapolis, says of the early days:
"I entered the Academy in 1895. In those days athletics were not encouraged. The average number of cadets was less than 200, and the entrance age was from 14 to 18—really a boys' school. So when an occasional college team appeared, they looked like old men to us.
"Match games were usually on Saturday afternoon, and all the cadets spent the forenoon at sail drill on board the Wyoming in Chesapeake Bay. I can remember spending four hours racing up and down the top gallant yard with Stone and Hayward, loosing and furling sail, and then returning to a roast beef dinner, followed by two 45-minute halves of football.
"One of our best games, as a rule, was with Johns Hopkins University. Paul Dashiell, then a Hopkins man, usually managed to smuggle one or more Poes to Annapolis with his team. We knew it, but at that time we did not object because we usually beat the Hopkins team.
"Another interesting match was with the Deaf Mutes from Kendall College. It was a standing joke with us that they too frequently smuggled good football players who were not mutes. These kept silent during the game and talked with their hands, but frequently when I tackled one hard and fell on him, I could hear him cuss under his breath."
M. M. Taylor brings us down to Navy football of the early nineties.
"In my day the principal quality sought was beef. Being embryo sailors we had to have nautical terms for our signals, and they made our opponents sit up and take notice. When I played halfback I remember my signals were my order relating to the foremast. For instance, 'Fore-top-gallant clew lines and hands-by-the-halyards' meant that I was the victim. On the conclusion of the order, if the captain could not launch a play made at once, he had to lengthen his signal, and sometimes there would be a string of jargon, intelligible only to a sailor, which would take the light yard men aloft, furl the sail, and probably cast reflections on the stowage of the bunt. Anything connected with the anchor was a kick. The mainmast was consecrated to the left half, and the mizzen to the fullback.
"In one game our lack of proper uniform worked to our advantage. I was on the sick list and had turned my suit over to a substitute. I braved the doctor's disapproval and went into the game in a pair of long working trousers and a blue flannel shirt. The opposing team, Pennsylvania, hailed me as 'Little Boy Blue,' and paid no further attention to me, so that by good fortune I made a couple of scores. Then they fell upon me, and at the close all I had left was the pants."
J. W. Powell, captain of the '97 team, tells of the interim between Army-Navy games.
"Our head coach was Johnny Poe," he says, "and he and Paul Dashiell took charge of the squad. Some of our good men were Rus White, Bill Tardy, Halligan and Fisher, holding over from the year before. A. T. Graham and Jerry Landis in the line. A wild Irishman in the plebe class, Paddy Shea, earned one end position in short order, while A. H. McCarthy went in at the other wing. Jack Asserson, Bobby Henderson, Louis Richardson and I made up the backfield. In '95, Princeton had developed their famous ends back system which was adopted by Johnny Poe and the game we played that year was built around this system. Johnny was a deadly tackler and nearly killed half the team with his system of live tackling practice. This was one of the years in which there was no Army and Navy game and our big game was the Thanksgiving Day contest with Lafayette. Barclay, Bray and Rinehart made Lafayette's name a terror in the football world. The game resulted in an 18 to 6 victory for Lafayette.
"My most vivid recollections of that game are McCarthy's plucky playing with his hand in a plaster cast, due to a broken bone, stopping Barclay and Bray repeatedly in spite of this handicap, and my own touchdown, after a twelve yard run, with Rinehart's 250 pounds hanging to me most of the way."
I recall a trip that the Princeton team of 1898 made to West Point. It was truly an attack upon the historical old school in a fashion de luxe.
Alex Van Rensselaer, an old Princeton football captain, invited Doc Hillebrand to have the Tiger eleven meet him that Saturday morning at the Pennsylvania Ferry slip in Jersey City. En route to West Point that morning this old Princeton leader met us with his steam yacht, The May. Boyhood enthusiasm ran high as we jumped aboard. Good fellowship prevailed. We lunched on board, dressed on board. Upon our arrival at West Point we were met by the Academy representative and were driven to the football field.
The snappy work of the Princeton team that day brought victory, and we attributed our success to the Van Rensselaer transport. Returning that night on the boat, Doc Hillebrand and Arthur Poe bribed the captain of The May to just miss connecting with the last train to Princeton, and as a worried manager sat alongside of Van Rensselaer wondering whether it were not possible to hurry the boat along a little faster, Van Rensselaer himself knew what was in Doc's mind and so helped make it possible for us to rest at the Murray Hill Hotel over night, and not allow a railroad trip to Princeton mar the luxury of the day.
I have a lot of respect for the football brains of West Point. My lot has been very happily cast with the Navy. I have generally been on the opposite side of the field. I knew the strength of their team. I have learned much of the spirit of the academy from their cheering at Army and Navy games. Playing against West Point our Princeton teams have always realized the hard, difficult task which confronted them, and victory was not always the reward.
Football plays a valued part in the athletic life of West Point. From the very first game between the Army and the Navy on the plains when the Middies were victorious, West Point set out in a thoroughly businesslike way to see that the Navy did not get the lion's share of victories.
If one studies the businesslike methods of the Army Athletic Association and reads carefully the bulletins which are printed after each game, one is impressed by the attention given to details.
I have always appreciated what King, '96, meant to West Point football. Let me quote from the publication of the Howitzer, in 1896, the estimated value of this player at that time:
"King, of course, stands first. Captain for two years he brought West Point from second class directly into first. As fullback he outplayed every fullback opposed to him and stands in the judgment of all observers second only to Brooke of Pennsylvania. Let us read what King has to say of a period of West Point football not widely known.
"I first played on the '92 team," he says. "We had two Navy games before this, but they were not much as I look back upon them. At this time we had for practice that period of Saturday afternoon after inspection. That gave us from about 3 P. M. on. We also had about fifteen minutes between dinner and the afternoon recitations, and such days as were too rainy to drill, and from 5:45 A. M., to 6:05 A. M. Later in the year when it grew too cold to drill, we had the time after about 4:15 P. M., but it became dark so early that we didn't get much practice. We practiced signals even by moonlight.
"Visiting teams used to watch us at inspection, two o'clock. We were in tight full dress clothes, standing at attention for thirty to forty-five minutes just before the game. A fine preparation for a stiff contest. We had quite a character by the name of Stacy, a Maine boy. He was a thickset chap, husky and fast. He never knew what it was to be stopped. He would fight it out to the end for every inch. Early in one of the Yale games he broke a rib and started another, but the more it hurt, the harder he played. In a contest with an athletic club in the last non-collegiate game we ever played, the opposing right tackle was bothering us. In a scrimmage Stacy twisted the gentleman's nose very severely and then backed away, as the man followed him, calling out to the Umpire. Stacy held his face up and took two of the nicest punches in the eyes that I ever saw. Of course, the Umpire saw it, and promptly ruled the puncher out, just as Stacy had planned.
"Just before the Spanish War Stacy became ill. Orders were issued that regiments should send officers to the different cities for the purpose of recruiting. He was at this time not fit for field service, so was assigned to this duty. He protested so strongly that in some way he was able to join his regiment in time to go to Cuba with his men. He participated in all the work down there; and when it was over, even he had to give in. He was sent to Montauk Point in very bad shape. He rallied for a time and obtained sick leave. He went to his old home in Maine, where he died. It was his old football grit that kept him going in Cuba until the fighting was over.
"No mention of West Point's football would be complete without the name of Dennis Michie. He is usually referred to as the Father of Football at the Academy. He was captain of the first two teams we ever had. He played throughout the Navy game in '91 with ten boils on his back and neck. He was a backfield man and one of West Point's main line backers. He was most popular as a cadet and officer and was killed in action at San Juan, Cuba.
"One of the longest runs when both yards and time are considered ever pulled off on a football field, was made by Duncan, '95, in our Princeton game of '93. Duncan got the ball on his 5-yard line on a fumble, and was well under way before he was discovered. Lott, '96, later a captain of Cavalry, followed Duncan to interfere from behind. The only Princeton man who sensed trouble was Doggy Trenchard. He set sail in pursuit. He soon caught up with Lott and would have caught Duncan, but for the latter's interference. Duncan finally scored the touchdown, having made the 105 yards in what would have been fast time for a Wefers.
"We at West Point often speak of Balliet's being obliged to call on Phil King to back him up that day, as Ames, one of our greatest centres, was outplaying him, and of the rage of Phil King, because on every point, Nolan, '96, tackled him at once and prevented King from making those phenomenal runs which characterized his playing."
Harmon Graves of Yale is a coach who has contributed much to West Point's football.
"Harmon Graves is too well known now as coach to need our praise," says a West Pointer, "but it is not only as a successful coach, but as a personal friend that he lives in the heart of every member of the team and indeed the entire corps. There will always be a sunny spot at West Point for Graves."
In a recent talk with Harmon Graves he showed me a beautifully engraved watch presented to him by the Cadet Corps of West Point, a treasure prized.
Of the privileged days spent at West Point Graves writes, as follows:
"Every civilian who has the privilege of working with the officers and cadets at West Point to accomplish some worthy object comes away a far better man than when he went there. I was fortunate enough to be asked by them to help in the establishment of football at the Academy and for many years I gave the best I had and still feel greatly their debtor.
"At West Point amateur sport flourishes in its perfection, and a very high standard of accomplishment has been attained in football. There are no cross-cuts to the kind of football success West Point has worked for: it is all a question of merit based on competency, accuracy and fearless execution. Those of us who have had the privilege of assisting in the development of West Point football have learned much of real value from the officers and cadets about the game and what really counts in the make-up of a successful team. It is fair to say that West Point has contributed a great deal to football generally and has, in spite of many necessary time restrictions, turned out some of the best teams and players in the last fifteen years.
"The greatest credit is due to the Army Officers Athletic Association, which, through its football representatives, started right and then pursued a sound policy which has placed football at West Point on a firm basis, becoming the standing and dignity of the institution.
"There have been many interesting and amusing incidents in connection with football at West Point which help to make up the tradition of the game there and are many times repeated at any gathering of officers and cadets. I well remember when Daly, the former Harvard Captain, modestly took his place as a plebe candidate for the team and sat in the front row on the floor of the gymnasium when I explained to the squad, and illustrated by the use of a blackboard, what he and every one else there knew was the then Yale defense. There was, perhaps, the suggestion of a smile all around when I began by saying that from then on we were gathered there for West Point and to make its team a success that season and not for the benefit of Harvard or Yale. He told me afterwards that he had never understood the defense as I had explained it. He mastered it and believed in it, as he won and kept his place on the team and learned some things from West Point football,—as we all did.
"The rivalry with the Navy is wholesome and intense, as it should be. My friend, Paul Dashiell, who fully shares that feeling, has much to do with the success of the Navy team, and the development of football at the Naval Academy. After a West Point victory at Philadelphia, he came to the West Point dressing room and offered his congratulations. As I took his hand, I noted that tears were in his eyes and that his voice shook. The next year the Navy won and I returned the call. I was feeling rather grim, but when I found him surrounded by the happy Navy team, he was crying again and hardly smiled when I offered my congratulation, and told him that it really made no difference which team won for he cried anyway.
"The sportsmanship and friendly rivalry which the Army and Navy game brings out in both branches of the Service is admirable and unique and reaches all officers on the day of the game wherever in the world they are. Real preparedness is an old axiom at West Point and it has been applied to football. There I learned to love my country and respect the manhood and efficiency of the Army officers in a better way than I did before. I recall the seasons I have spent there with gratitude and affection, both for the friends I have made and for the Army spirit."
Siding with the Navy has enabled me to know West Point's strength. Any mention of West Point's football would be incomplete without the names of some officers who have not only safeguarded the game at West Point, but have been the able representatives of the Army's football during their service there. Such men are, Richmond P. Davis, Palmer E. Pierce, and W. R. Richardson.
THE WAY THEY HAVE IN THE ARMY
If there is any one man who has permanently influenced football at West Point that man is H. J. Koehler, for years Master of the Sword at the Academy. Under his active coaching some of the Army's finest players were developed. In recent years he has not been a member of the coaching staff, but he none the less never loses touch with the team and his advice concerning men and methods is always eagerly sought. By virtue of long experience at the Academy and because of an aptitude for analysis of the game itself he has been invaluable in harmonizing practice and play with peculiar local conditions.
Any time the stranger seeks to delve either into the history or the constructive coaching of the game at the Academy, the younger men, as well as the older, will always answer your questions by saying "Go ask Koehler." Always a hard worker and serious thinker, he is apt to give an almost nightly demonstration during the season of the foundation principles of the game.
Not only West Pointers, but also Yale and Princeton men, who had to face the elevens under Koehler's coaching will remember Romeyn, who, had he been kicking in the days of Felton, Mahan and the other long distance artillerists, might well have held his own, in the opinion of Army men. Nesbitt, Waldron and Scales were among the other really brilliant players whom Koehler developed. He was in charge of some of the teams that played the hardest schedules in the history of West Point football. One year the cadets met Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Columbia, Syracuse and Penn State. Surely this was a season's work calculated to develop remarkable men, or break them in the making. Bettison, center, King Boyers at guard, and Bunker at tackle and half, were among the splendid players who survived this trial by fire. Casad, Clark and Phillips made up a backfield that would have been a credit to any of the colleges.
Soon, however, the Army strength was greatly to be augmented by the acquisition of Charles Dudley Daly, fresh from four years of football at Harvard. Reputations made elsewhere do not count for much at West Point. The coaches were glad to have Plebe Daly come out for the squad, but they knew and he knew quite as well as they, that there are no short cuts to the big "A." Now began a remarkable demonstration of football genius. Not only did the former Harvard Captain make the team, but his aid in coaching was also eagerly sought. An unusual move this, but a tribute to the new man.
Daly was modesty itself in those days as he has been ever since, even when equipped with the yellow jacket and peacock feather of the head coach. As player and as coach and often as the two combined, Daly's connection with West Point football covered eight years, in the course of which he never played on or coached a losing team. His record against the Navy alone is seven victories and one tie, 146 points to 33. His final year's coaching was done in 1915. From West Point he was sent to Hawaii, whence he writes me, as follows:
"There are certain episodes in the game that have always been of particular interest to me, such as Ely's game playing with broken ribs in the Harvard-Yale game of 1898; Charlie de Saulles' great playing with a sprained ankle in the Yale-Princeton game of the same year; the tackling of Bunker by Long of the Navy in the Army-Navy game of 1902—the hardest tackle I have ever seen; and the daring quarterback work of Johnny Cutler in the Harvard-Dartmouth 1908 game, when he snatched victory from defeat in the last few minutes of play."
Undoubtedly Daly's deep study of strategy and tactics as used in warfare had a great deal to do with his continued ascendency as a coach. Writing to Herbert Reed, one of the pencil and paper football men, with whom he had had many a long argument over the generalship of the game, he said in part:
"Football within the limitations of the rules and sportsmanship is a war game. Either by force or by deception it advances through the opposition to the goal line, which might be considered the capital of the enemy."
It was in Daly's first year that a huge Southerner, with a pleasant drawl, turned up in the plebe class. It was a foregone conclusion almost on sight that Ernest, better known to football men throughout the country as Pot Graves, would make the Eleven. He not only played the game almost flawlessly from the start, but he made so thorough a study of line play in general that his system, even down to the most intimate details of face to face coaching filed away for all time in that secret library of football methods at West Point, has come to be known as Graves' Bible.
Daly, still with that ineradicable love for his own Alma Mater, lent a page or two from this tome to Harvard, and even the author appeared in person on Soldiers' Field. The manner in which Graves made personal demonstration of his teachings will not soon be forgotten by the Harvard men who had to face Pot Graves.
Graves has always believed in the force mentioned in Daly's few lines quoted above on the subject of military methods as applied to football. While always declaring that the gridiron was no place for a fist fight, he always maintained that stalwarts should be allowed to fight it out with as little interference by rule as possible. As a matter of fact, Graves was badly injured in a game with Yale, and for a long time afterwards hobbled around with a troublesome knee. He knew the man who did it, but would never tell his name, and he contents himself with saying "I have no ill will—he got me first. If he hadn't I would have got him."
A story is told of Graves' impatience with the members of a little luncheon party, who in the course of an argument on the new football, were getting away from the fundamentals. Rising and stepping over to the window of the Officers' Club, he said, with a sleepy smile: "Come here a minute, you fellows," and, pointing down to the roadway, added, "there's my team." Looking out of the window the other members of the party saw a huge steam roller snorting and puffing up the hill.
Among the men who played football with Graves and were indeed of his type, were Doe and Bunker. Like Graves, Bunker in spite of his great weight, was fast enough to play in the backfield in those years when Army elevens were relying so much upon terrific power. Those were the days when substitutes had very little opportunity. In the final Navy game of 1902 the same eleven men played for the Army from start to finish.
In this period of Army football other first-class men were developed, notably Torney, a remarkable back, Thompson, a guard, and Tom Hammond, who was later to make a reputation as an end coach. Bunker was still with this aggregation, an eleven that marched fifty yards for a touchdown in fifteen plays against the midshipmen. The Army was among the early Eastern teams to test Eastern football methods against those of the West, the Cadets defeating a team from the University of Chicago on the plains.
The West Pointers had only one criticism to make of their visitors, and it was laconically put by one of the backs, who said:
"They're all-fired fast, but it's funny how they stop when you tackle them."
In this lineup was A. C. Tipton, at center, to whom belongs the honor of forcing the Rules Committee to change the code in one particular in order to stop a maneuver which he invented while in midcareer in a big game. No one will ever forget how, when chasing a loose ball and realizing that he had no chance to pick it up, he kicked it again and again until it crossed the final chalk mark where he fell on it for a touchdown. Tipton was something of a wrestler too, as a certain Japanese expert in the art of Jiu-jitsu can testify and indeed did testify on the spot after the doctors had brought him too.
There was no lowering of the standards in the succeeding years, which saw the development of players like Hackett, Prince, Farnsworth and Davis. Those years too saw the rise of such wonderful forwards as W. W. (Red) Erwin and that huge man from Alaska, D. D. Pullen.
Coming now to more recent times, the coaching was turned over to H. M. Nelly, assisted by Joseph W. Beacham, fresh from chasing the little brown brother in the Philippines. Beacham had made a great reputation at Cornell, and there was evidence that he had kept up with the game at least in the matter of strategic possibilities, even while in the tangled jungle of Luzon. He brought with him even more than that—an uncanny ability to see through the machinery of the team and pick out its human qualities, upon which he never neglected to play. There have been few coaches closer to his men than Joe.
Whenever I talk football with Joe Beacham he never forgets to mention Vaughn Cooper, to whom he gives a large share of the credit for the good work of his elevens. Cooper was of the quiet type, whose specialty was defense. These two made a great team.
It was in this period that West Point saw the development of one of its greatest field generals. There was nothing impressive in the physical appearance of little H. L. Hyatt. A reasonably good man, ball in hand, his greatest value lay in his head work. As the West Point trainer said one day: "I've got him all bandaged up like a leg in a puttee, but from the neck up he's a piece of ice." The charts of games in which Hyatt ran the team are set before the squad each year as examples, not merely of perfect generalship, but of the proper time to violate that generalship and make it go, a distinction shared by Prichard, who followed in his footsteps with added touches of his own.
One cannot mention Prichard's name without thinking at once of Merillat, who, with Prichard, formed one of the finest forward passing combinations the game has seen. Both at Franklin Field and at the Polo Grounds this pair brought woe to the Navy.
These stars had able assistance in the persons of McEwan, one of the greatest centers the game has seen and who was chosen to lead the team in 1916, Weyand, Neyland and O'Hare, among the forwards, and the brilliant and sturdy Oliphant in the backfield, the man whose slashing play against the Navy in 1915 will never be forgotten. Oliphant was of a most unusual type. Even when he was doing the heaviest damage to the Navy Corps the midshipmen could not but admire his wonderful work.
What the Hustlers are to Annapolis the Cullom Hall team is to West Point. It is made up of the leftovers from the first squad and substitutes. One would travel far afield in search of a team with more spirit and greater pep in action, whether playing in outside games, or as their coach would put it, "showing up" the first Eleven. Not infrequently a player of the highest caliber is developed in this squad and taken to the first eleven.
The Cullom Hall squad, whose eleven generally manages to clean up some of the strongest school teams of the Hudson Valley, draws not a little of its spirit, I think, from the late Lieutenant E. M. Zell, better known at the Academy as "Jobey." It was a treat to see the Cullom Hall team marching down the field against the first Eleven with the roly-poly figure of Jobey in the thick of every scrimmage, coaching at the top of his lungs, even when bowled over by the interference of his own pupils. Since his time the squad has been turned over to Lieutenants Sellack and Crawford, who have kept alive the traditions and the playing spirit of this unique organization.
Their reward for the bruising, hard work, with hardly a shadow of the hope of getting their letter, comes in seeing the great game itself. Like the college scrub teams the hardest rooters for the Varsity are to be found in their ranks.
Now for the game itself. Always hard fought, always well fought, there is perhaps no clash of all the year that so wakes the interest of the general public, that vast throng which, without college affiliations, is nevertheless hungry for the right of allegiance somewhere, somehow.
While the Service Elevens are superbly supported by the men who have been through the exacting mill at West Point and Annapolis—their sweethearts and wives, not to mention sisters, cousins, uncles and aunts—they are urged on to battle by that great impartial public which believes that in a sense these two teams belong to it. It is not uncommon to find men who have had no connection with either academy in hot argument as to the relative merits of the teams.
Once in the stands some apparently trifling thing begets a partisanship that this class of spectator is wont to wonder at after it is all over.
Whether in Philadelphia in the earlier history of these contests on neutral ground, or in New York, Army and Navy Day has become by tacit consent the nearest thing to a real gridiron holiday. For the civilian who has been starved for thrilling action and the chance to cheer through the autumn days, the jam at the hotels used as headquarters by the followers of the two elevens satisfies a yearning that he has hitherto been unable to define. There too, is found a host of old-time college football men and coaches who hold reunion and sometimes even bury hatchets. Making his way through the crowds and jogging elbows with the heroes of a sport that he understands only as organized combat he becomes obsessed with the spirit of the two fighting institutions.
Once in possession of the coveted ticket he hies himself to the field as early as possible, if he is wise, in order to enjoy the preliminaries which are unlike those at any other game. Soon his heart beats faster, attuned to the sound of tramping feet without the gates. The measured cadence swells, draws nearer, and the thousands rise as one, when first the long gray column and then the solid ranks of blue swing out upon the field. The precision of the thing, the realization that order and system can go so far as to hold in check to the last moment the enthusiasms of these youngsters thrills him to the core. Then suddenly gray ranks and blue alike break for the stands, there to cut loose such a volume of now orderly, now merely frenzied noise as never before smote his ears.
It is inspiration and it is novelty. The time, the place and the men that wake the loyalty dormant in every man which, sad to say, so seldom has a chance of expression.
Around the field are ranged diplomat, dignitary of whatsoever rank, both native and foreign. In common with those who came to see, as well as to be seen—and who does not boast of having been to the Army-Navy game—they rise uncovered as the only official non-partisan of football history enters the gates—the President of the United States. Throughout one half of the game he lends his support to one Academy and in the intermission makes triumphal progress across the field, welcomed on his arrival by a din of shouting surpassing all previous effort, there to support their side.
It is perhaps one of those blessed hours in the life of a man upon whom the white light so pitilessly beats, when he can indulge in the popular sport, to him so long denied, of being merely human.
Men, methods, moods pass on. The years roll by, taking toll of every one of us from highest to lowest. Yet, whether we are absorbed in the game of games, or whether we look upon it as so many needs must merely as a spectacle, the Army-Navy game will remain a milestone never to be uprooted. I have spoken elsewhere and at length of football traditions. The Army-Navy game is not merely a football tradition but an American institution. It is for all the people every time.
May this great game go on forever, serene in its power to bring out the best that is in us, and when the Great Bugler sounds the silver-sweet call of taps for all too many, there will still be those who in their turn will answer the call of reveille to carry on the traditions of the great day that was ours.
HARD LUCK IN THE GAME
It is as true in football, as it is in life, that we have no use for a quitter. The man who shirks in time of need—indeed there is no part in this chapter or in this book for such a man. Football was never made for him. He is soon discovered and relegated to the side line. He is hounded throughout his college career, and afterwards he is known as a man who was yellow. As Garry Cochran used to say:
"If I find any man on my football squad showing a white feather, I'll have him hounded out of college."
Football is a game for the man who has nerve, and when put to the test, under severe handicap, proves his sterling worth.
A man has to be game in spirit. A man has to give every inch there is in him. Optimism should surround him. There is much to be gained by hearty co-operation of spirit. There is much in the thought that you believe your team is going to win; that the opposing team cannot beat you; that if your opponent wins, it is going to be over your dead body. This sort of spirit is contagious, and generally passes from one to the other, until you have a wonderful team spirit, and eleven men are found fighting like demons for victory. Such a spirit generally means a victory, and so gets its reward. There must be no dissenting spirit. If there is such a spirit discernible, it should be weeded out immediately.
Some years ago the Princeton players were going to the field house to dress for the Harvard game. The captain and two of the players were walking ahead of the rest of the members of the team. The game was under discussion, when the captain overheard one of the players behind him remark:
"I believe Harvard will win to-day."
Shocked by this remark, the captain, who was one of those thoroughbreds who never saw anything but victory ahead, full of hope and confidence in his team, turned and discovered that the remark came from one of his regular players. Addressing him, he said:
"Well! If you feel that way about it, you need not even put on your suit. I have a substitute, who is game to the core. He will take your place."
It is true that teams have been ruined where the men lack the great quality of optimism in football. When a man gets in a tight place, when the odds are all against him, there comes to him an amazing superhuman strength, which enables him to work out wonders. At such a time men have been known to do what seemed almost impossible.
I recall being out in the country in my younger days and seeing a man, who had become irrational, near the roadside, where some heavy logs were piled. This man, who ordinarily was only a man of medium strength, was picking up one end of a log and tossing it around—a log, which, ordinarily, would have taken three men to lift. In the bewildering and exciting problems of football, there are instances similar to this, where a small man on one team, lined up against a giant in the opposing rush line, and game though handicapped in weight there comes to him at such a time a certain added strength, by which he was able to handle successfully the duty which presented itself to him.
I have found it to be the rule rather than the exception, that the big man in football did not give me the most trouble; it was the man much smaller than myself. Other big linemen have found it to be true. Many a small man has made a big man look ridiculous.
Bill Caldwell, who used to weigh over 200 pounds when he played guard on the Cornell team some years ago, has this to say:
"I want to pay a tribute to a young man who gave me my worst seventy minutes on the football field. His name was Payne. He played left guard for Lehigh. He weighed about 145 pounds; was of slight build and seemed to have a sort of sickly pallor. I have never seen him since, but I take this occasion to say this was the greatest little guard I ever met. At least he was great that day. Payne had been playing back of the line during part of the season, but was put in at guard against me. I had a hunch that he was going to bite me in the ankle, when he lined up the first time, for he bristled up and tore into me like a wild cat. I have met a goodish few guards in my day, and was accustomed to almost any form of warfare, but this Payne went around me, like a cooper around a barrel, and broke through the line and downed the runners in their tracks. On plunges straight at him, he went to the mat and grabbed every leg in sight and hung on for dear life. He darted through between my legs; would vault over me; what he did to me was a shame. He was not rough, but was just the opposite. I never laid a hand on him all the afternoon. He would make a world beater in the game as it is played to-day."
Whenever Brown University men get together and speak of their wonderful quarterbacks, the names of Sprackling and Crowther are always mentioned. Both of these men were All-American quarterbacks. Crowther filled the position after Sprackling graduated. He weighed only 134 pounds, but he gave everything he had in him—game, though handicapped in weight. In the Harvard game of that year, about the middle of the second half, Haughton sent word over to Robinson, the Brown coach, that he ought to take the little fellow out; that he was too small to play football, and was in danger of being seriously injured. Crowther, however, was like an India-rubber ball and not once during the season had he received any sort of injury. Robby told Crowther what Haughton had suggested, and smiling, the latter said:
"Tell him not to worry about me; better look out for himself."
On the next play Crowther took the ball and went around Harvard's end for forty yards, scoring a touchdown. After he had kicked the goal, the little fellow came over to the side line, and said to Robby:
"Send word over to Haughton and ask him how he likes that. Ask him if he thinks I'm all in? Perhaps he would like to have me quit now."
In the Yale game that year Crowther was tackled by Pendleton, one of the big Yale guards. It so happened that Pendleton was injured several times when he tackled Crowther and time had to be taken out. Finally the big fellow was obliged to quit, and as he was led off the field, Crowther hurried over to him, reaching up, placed his hands on his shoulder and said:
"Sorry, old man! I didn't mean to hurt you." Pendleton, who weighed well over 200 pounds, looked down upon the little fellow, but said never a word.
It is most unpleasant to play in a game where a man is injured. Yet still more distressing when you realize that you yourself injured another player, especially one of your own team mates.
In the Brown game of 1898, at Providence, Bosey Reiter, Princeton's star halfback, made a flying tackle of a Brown runner. The latter was struggling hard, trying his best to get away from Reiter. At this moment I was coming along and threw myself upon the Brown man to prevent his advancing further. In the mixup my weight struck Bosey and fractured his collar-bone. It was a severe loss to the team, and only one who has had a similar experience can appreciate my feelings, as well as the team's, on the journey back to Princeton.
We were to play Yale the following Saturday at Princeton. I knew Reiter's injury was so serious that he could not possibly play in that game.
The following Saturday, as that great football warrior lay in his bed at the infirmary, the whistle blew for the start of the Yale game. We all realized Reiter was not there: not even on the side lines, and Arthur Poe said, at the start of the game:
"Play for Bosey Reiter. He can't play for himself to-day."
This spurred us on to better team work and to victory. The attendants at the hospital told us later that they never had had such a lively patient. He kept things stirring from start to finish of the gridiron battle. As the reports of the game were brought to him, he joined in the thrill of the play.
"My injury proved a blessing," says Reiter, "as it gave me an extra year, for in those days a year did not count in football, unless you played against Yale, and when I made the touchdown against Yale the following season, it was a happy moment for me."
All is not clear sailing in football. The breaks must come some time. They may come singly or in a bunch, but whenever they do come, it takes courage to buck the hard luck in the game. Just when things get nicely under way one of the star players is injured, which means the systematic team work is handicapped. It is not the team, as a whole that I am thinking of, but the pangs of sorrow which go down deep into a fellow's soul, when he finds that he is injured; that he is in the hands of the doctor. It is then he realizes that he is only a spoke in the big wheel; that the spirit of the game puts another man in his place. The game goes on. Nature is left to do her best for him.
Let us for a while consider the player who does not realize, until after the game is over, that he is hurt. It is after the contest, when the excitement has ceased, when reaction sets in, that a doctor and trainer can take stock of the number and extent of casualties.
When such injured men are discovered, at a time like that, we wonder how they ever played the game out. In fact the man never knew he was injured until the game was over. No more loyal supporter of football follows the big games than Reggi Wentworth, Williams, '91.
He is most loyal to Bill Hotchkiss, Williams '91.
"At Williamstown, one year," Wentworth says, "Hotchkiss, who was a wonderful all round guard, probably as great a football player as ever lived (at least I think so) played with the Williams team on a field covered with mud and snow three inches deep. The game was an unusually severe one, and Hotchkiss did yeoman's work that day.
"As we ran off the field, after the game, I happened to stop, turned, and discovered Hotchkiss standing on the side of the field, with his feet planted well apart, like an old bull at bay. I went back where he was and said:
"'Come on, Bill, what's the matter?'
"'I don't know,' said he. 'There's something the matter with my ankles. I don't think I can walk.'
"He took one step and collapsed. I got a boy's sled, which was on the field, laid Hotchkiss on it and took him to his room, only to find that both ankles were sprained. He did not leave his room for two weeks and walked with crutches for two weeks more. It seemed almost unbelievable that a man handicapped as he was could play the game through. Splints and ankle braces were unknown in those days. He went on the field with two perfectly good ankles. How did he do it?"
Charles H. Huggins, of Brown University, better known perhaps, simply as "Huggins of Brown," recalls a curious case in a game on Andrews Field:
"Stewart Jarvis, one of the Brown ends, made a flying tackle. As he did so, he felt something snap in one of his legs. We carried him off to the field house, making a hasty investigation. We found nothing more apparent than a bruise. I bundled him off to college in a cab; gave him a pair of crutches; told him not to go out until our doctor could examine the injury at six o'clock that evening. When the doctor arrived at his room, Jarvis was not there. He had gone to the training table for dinner. The doctor hurried to the Union dining-room, only to find that Jarvis had discarded the crutches and with some of the boys had gone out to Rhodes, then, as now, a popular resort for the students. Later, we learned that he danced several times. The next morning an X-ray clearly showed a complete fracture of the tibia.
"How it was possible for a man, with a broken leg, to walk around and dance, as he did, is more than I can fathom."
What is there in a man's make-up that leads him to conceal from the trainer an injury that he receives in a game; that makes him stay in the field of play? Why is it that he disregards himself, and goes on in the game, suffering physical as well as mental tortures, plucky though handicapped? The playing of such men is extended far beyond the point of their usefulness. Yes, even into the danger zone. Such men give everything they have in them while it lasts. It is not intelligent football, however, and what might be called bravery is foolishness after all. It is an unwritten law in football that a fresh substitute is far superior to a crippled star. The keen desire to remain in the game is so firmly fixed in his mind that he is willing to sacrifice himself, and at the same time by concealing his injury from the trainer and coaches he, unconsciously, is sacrificing his team; his power is gone.
One of the greatest exhibitions of grit ever seen in a football game was given by Harry Watson of Williams in a game at Newton Center between Williams and Dartmouth. He was knocked out about eight times but absolutely refused to leave the field.
Another was furnished by W. H. Lewis, the Amherst captain and center rush, against Williams in his last game at Amherst—the score was 0-0 on a wet field. Williams was a big favorite but Lewis played a wonderful game, and was all over the field on the defense. When the game was over he was carried off, but refused to leave the field until the final whistle.
One of the most thrilling stories of a man who was game, though handicapped, is told by Morris Ely, quarterback for Yale, 1898.
"My most vivid recollection of the Harvard-Yale game of 1898 is that Harvard won by the largest score Yale had ever been beaten by up to that time, 17 to 0. Next, that the game seemed unusually long. I believe I proved a good exponent of the theory of being in good condition. I started the game at 135 pounds, in the best physical condition I have ever enjoyed, and while I managed to accumulate two broken ribs, a broken collar-bone and a sprained shoulder, I was discharged by the doctor in less than three weeks as good as ever.
"I received the broken ribs in the first half when Percy Jaffrey fell on me with a proper intention of having me drop a fumbled ball behind our goal line, which would have given Harvard an additional touchdown instead of a touchback. I did not know just what had gone wrong but tried to help it out by putting a shin guard under my jersey over the ribs during the intermission. No one knew I was hurt.
"In the second half I tried to stop one of Ben Dibblee's runs on a punt and got a broken collar-bone, but not Dibblee. About the end of the game we managed to work a successful double pass and I carried the ball to Harvard's ten-yard line when Charlie Daly, who was playing back on defense, stopped any chance we had of scoring by a hard tackle. There was no getting away from him that day, and as I had to carry the ball in the wrong arm with no free arm to use to ward him off, I presume, I got off pretty well with only a sprained shoulder. The next play ended the game, when Stub Chamberlin tried a quick place goal from the field and, on a poor pass and on my poor handling of the ball, hit the goal post and the ball bounded back. I admit that just about that time the whistle sounded pretty good as apparently the entire Harvard team landed on us in their attempt to block a kick."
Val Flood, once a trainer at Princeton, recalls a game at New Haven, when Princeton was playing Yale:
"Frank Bergen was quarterback," he says. "I saw he was not going right, and surprised the coaches by asking them to make a change. They asked me to wait. In a few minutes I went to them again, with the same result. I came back a third time, and insisted that he be taken out. A substitute was put in. I will never forget Bergen's face when he burst into tears and asked me who was responsible for his being taken out. I told him I was. It almost broke his heart, for he had always regarded me as a friend. I knew how much he wanted to play the game out. He lived in New Haven. When the doctor examined him, it was found that he had three broken ribs. There was great danger of one of them piercing his lungs had he continued in the game. Of course, there are lots of boys that are willing to do such things for their Alma Mater, but the gamest of all is the man who, with a broken neck to start with, went out and put in four years of college football. I refer to Eddie Hart, who was not only the gamest, but one of the strongest, quickest, cleanest men that ever played the game, and any one who knows Eddie Hart and those who have seen him play, know that he never saved himself but played the game for all it was worth. He was the life and spirit of every team he ever played on at Exeter or Princeton."
Ed Wylie, an enthusiastic Hill School Alumnus, football player at Hill and Yale, tells the following anecdote:
"The nerviest thing I ever saw in a football game was in the Hill-Hotchkiss 0 to 0 game in 1904. At the start of the second half, Arthur Cable, who was Hill's quarterback, broke his collar-bone. He concealed the fact and until the end of the game, no one knew how badly he was hurt. He was in every play, and never had time called but once. He caught a couple of punts with his one good arm and every other punt he attempted to catch and muffed he saved the ball from the other side by falling on it. In the same game, a peculiar thing happened to me. I tackled Ted Coy about fifteen minutes before the end of the game, and until I awoke hours later, lying in a drawing-room car, pulling into the Grand Central Station, my mind was a blank. Yet I am told the last fifteen minutes of the game I played well, especially when our line was going to pieces. I made several gains on the offensive, never missed a signal and punted two or three times when close to our goal line."
No less noteworthy is the spirit of a University of Pennsylvania player, who was handicapped during his gridiron career with Penn' by many severe injuries. This man had worked as hard as any one possibly could to make the varsity for three years. His last year was no different from previous seasons; injuries always worked against him. In his final year he had broken his leg early in the season. A short time before the Cornell game he appeared upon the field in football togs, full of spirit and determined to get in the game if they needed him. This was his last chance to play on the Penn' team.
I was an official in that game. Near its close I saw him warming up on the side line. His knee was done up in a plaster cast. He could do nothing better than hobble along the side lines, but in the closing moments when Penn' had the game well in hand, a mighty shout went up from the side lines, as that gallant fellow, who had been handicapped all during his football career, rushed out upon the field to take his place as the defensive halfback. Cornell had the ball, and they were making a tremendous effort to score. The Cornell captain, not knowing of this man's physical condition, sent a play in his direction. The interference of the big red team crashed successfully around the Penn' end and there was left only this plucky, though handicapped player, between the Cornell runner and a touchdown.
Putting aside all personal thought, he rushed in and made a wonderful tackle. Then this hero was carried off the field, and with him the tradition of one who was willing to sacrifice himself for the sport he loved.
Andy Smith, a former University of Pennsylvania player, was a man who was game through and through. He seemed to play better in a severe game, when the odds were against him. Smith had formerly been at Pennsylvania State College. In a game between Penn' State and Dartmouth, Fred Crolius, of Dartmouth, says of Smith:
"Andy Smith was one of the gamest men I ever played against. This big, determined, husky offensive fullback and defensive end, when he wasn't butting his head into our impregnable line, was smashing an interference that nearly killed him in every other play. Battered and bruised he kept coming on, and to every one's surprise he lasted the entire game. Years afterward he showed me the scars on his head, where the wounds had healed, with the naive remark: 'Some team you fellows had that year, Fred.' Some team was right. And we all remember Andy and his own individual greatness."
There is no finer, unselfish spirit brought out in football, than that evidenced in the following story, told by Shep Homans, an old time Princeton fullback:
"A young fellow named Hodge, who was quarterback on the Princeton scrub, was making a terrific effort to play the best he could on the last day of practice before the Yale game. He had hoped even at the last hour that the opportunity might be afforded him to be a substitute quarter in the game. However, his leg was broken in a scrimmage. As he lay on the ground in great pain, realizing what had happened and forgetting himself, he looked up and said:
"'I'm mighty glad it is not one of the regulars who is hurt, so that our chance against Yale will not be affected.'"
Crolius, one of the hardest men to stop that Dartmouth ever had, tells of Arthur Poe's gameness, when they played together on the Homestead Athletic Club team, after they left college. "Arthur Poe was about as game a man as the football world ever saw. He was handicapped in his playing by a knee which would easily slip out of place. We men who played with him on the Homestead team were often stopped after Arthur had made a magnificent tackle and had broken up heavy interference, with this quiet request:
"'Pull my bum knee back into place.'
"After this was done, he would jump up and no one would ever know that it had been out. This man, who perhaps was the smallest man playing at that time, was absolutely unprotected. His suit consisted of a pair of shoes, stockings, unpadded pants, jersey and one elastic knee bandage."
Mike Donohue, a Yale man who had been coach at Auburn for many years, vouches for the following story:
When Mike went to Auburn and for several years thereafter he had no one to assist him, except a few of the old players, who would drop in for a day or so during the latter part of the season. One afternoon Mike happened to glance down at the lower end of the field where a squad of grass-cutters (the name given to the fourth and fifth teams) were booting the ball around, when he noticed a pretty good sized boy who was swinging his foot into the ball with a good stiff leg and was kicking high and getting fine distance. Mike made a mental note of this fact and decided to investigate later, as a good punter was very hard to find.
Later in the afternoon he again looked towards the lower end of the field and saw that the grass-cutters were lining up for a scrimmage among themselves, using that part of the field, which was behind the goal post, so he dismissed the squad with which he had been working and went down to see what the boy he had noticed early in the afternoon really looked like. When he arrived he soon found the boy he was looking for. He was playing left end and Mike immediately noticed that he had his right leg extended perfectly straight behind him. Stopping the play, Mike went over to the fellow and slapping him on the back said:
"Don't keep that right leg stiff behind you like that. Pull it up under you. Bend it at the knee so you can get a good start."
With a sad expression on his face, and tears almost in his eyes, the boy turned to Mike and said:
"Coach, that damn thing won't bend. It's wood."
Vonalbalde Gammon, one of the few players who met his death in an intercollegiate game, lived at Rome, Georgia, and entered the University of Georgia in 1896. He made the team his first year, playing quarterback on the eleven which was coached by Pop Warner and which won the Southern championship. He received the injury which caused his death in the Georgia-Virginia game, played in Atlanta, Georgia, on October 30th, 1897. He was a fine fellow personally and one of the most popular men at the University. As a football player, he was an excellent punter, a good plunger, and a strong defensive man. On account of his kicking and plunging ability he was moved to fullback in his second year.
In the Virginia game he backed up the line on the defense. All that afternoon he worked like a Trojan to hold in check the powerful masses Virginia had been driving at the tackles. Early in the second half Von dove in and stopped a mass aimed at Georgia's right tackle, but when the mass was untangled, he was unable to get up. An examination showed that he was badly hurt. In a minute or two, however, he revived and was set on his feet and was being taken from the field by Coach McCarthy, when Captain Kent, thinking that he was not too badly hurt to continue in the game, said to him:
"Von, you are not going to give up, are you?"
"No, Bill," he replied, "I've got too much Georgia grit for that."
These were his last words, for upon reaching the side lines he lapsed into unconsciousness and died at two o'clock the next morning.
Gammon's death ended the football season that year at the University. It also came very near ending football in the State of Georgia, as the Legislature was in session, and immediately passed a bill prohibiting the playing of the game in the State.
However, Mrs. Gammon—Von's mother—made a strong, earnest and personal appeal to Governor Atkinson to veto the bill, which he did.
Had it not been for Mrs. Gammon, football would certainly have been abolished in the State of Georgia by an act of the Legislature of 1897.
I knew a great guard whose whole heart was set on making the Princeton team, and on playing against Yale. This man made the team. In a Princeton-Columbia game he was trying his best to stop that wonderful Columbia player, Harold Weekes, who with his great hurdling play was that season's sensation. In his hurdling he seemed to take his life in his hands, going over the line of the opposing team feet first. When the great guard of the Princeton team to whom I refer tried to stop Weekes, his head collided with Weekes' feet and was badly cut.
The trainer rushed upon the field, sponged and dressed the wound and the guard continued to play. But that night it was discovered that blood poisoning had set in. There was gloom on the team when this became known. But John Dana, lying there injured in the hospital, and knowing how badly his services were needed in the coming game with Yale, with his ambition unsatisfied, used his wits to appear better than he really was in order to get discharged from the hospital and back on the team.
The physician who attended him has told me since that Dana would keep his mouth open slyly when the nurse was taking his temperature so that it would not be too high and the chart would make it appear that he was all right.
At any rate, he seemed to improve steadily, and finally reported to the trainer, Jim Robinson, two days before the Yale game. He was full of hope and the coaches decided to have Robinson give him a try-out, so that they could decide whether he was as fit as he was making it appear he was.
I shall never forget watching that heroic effort, as Robinson took him out behind the training house, to make the final test. With a head-gear, especially made for him, Dana settled down in his regular position, ready for the charge, anticipating the oncoming Yale halfback and throbbing with eagerness to tackle the man with the ball.
Then he plunged forward, both arms extended, but handicapped by his terrible injury, he toppled over upon his face, heart-broken. The spirit was there, but he was physically unfit for the task.
The Yale game started without Dana, and as he sat there on the side lines and saw Princeton go down to defeat, he was overcome with the thought of his helplessness. He was needed, but he didn't have a chance.
BRINGING HOME THE BACON
Happy is the thought of victory, and while we realize that there should always be eleven men in every play, each man doing his duty, there frequently comes a time in a game, when some one man earns the credit for winning the game, and brings home the bacon. Maybe he has been the captain of the team, with a wonderful power of leadership which had held the Eleven together all season and made his team a winning one. From the recollections of some of the victories, from the experiences of the men who participated in them and made victory possible, let us play some of those games over with some of the heroes of past years.
One of the truly great bacon-getters of the past is Yale's Billy Bull. Football history is full of his exploits when he played on the Yale team in '85, '86, '87 and '88. Old-time players can sit up all night telling stories of the games in which he scored for Yale. His kicking proved a winning card and in happy recollection the old-timers tell of Bull, the hero of many a game, being carried off the field on the shoulders of an admiring crowd of Yale men after a big victory.
"In the course of my years at Yale, six big games were played," says Bull, "four with Princeton and two with Harvard. I was fortunate in being able to go through all of them, sustaining no injury whatsoever, except in the last game with Princeton. In this game, Channing came through to me in the fullback position and in tackling him I received a scalp wound which did not, however, necessitate my removal from the game.
"Of the six games played, only one was lost, and that was the Lamar game in the fall of '85. In the five games won I was the regular kicker in the last three, and, in two of these, kicking proved to be the deciding factor. Thus in '87—Yale 17, Harvard 8—two place kicks and one drop kick were scored in the three attempts, totaling nine points. Considering the punting I did that day, and the fact that both place-kicks were scored from close to the side lines, I feel that that game represents my best work.
"The third year of my play was undoubtedly my best year; in fact the only year in which I might lay claim to being anything of a kicker. Thus in the Rutgers game of '87 I kicked twelve straight goals from placement. Counting the two goals from touchdowns against Princeton I had a batting average of 1000 in three games.
"Through the last year I was handicapped with a lame kicking leg and was out of form, for in the final game with Princeton that year, '88, I tried at least four times before scoring the first field goal of the game. In the second half I had but one chance and that was successful. This was the 10-0 game, in which all the points were scored by kicking, although the ground was wet and slippery.
"It is of interest to note, in connection with drop-kicking in the old days, that the proposition was not the simple matter it is to-day. Then, the ball had to go through the quarter's hands, and the kicker in consequence had so little time in which to get the ball away that he was really forced to kick in his tracks and immediately on receipt of the ball. Fortunately I was able to do both, and I never had a try for a drop blocked, and only one punt, the latter due to the fact that the ball was down by the side line, and I could not run to the left (which would have taken me out of bounds) before kicking.
"Perhaps one of the greatest sources of satisfaction to me, speaking of punting in particular, was the fact that I was never blocked by Princeton. And yet it was extremely fortunate for me that I was a left-footed kicker and thus could run away from Cowan, who played a left tackle before kicking. If I had had to use my right foot I doubt if I could have got away with anything, for Cowan was certainly a wonderful player and could get through the Yale line as though it were paper. He always brought me down, but always after the ball had left my foot. I know that it has been thought at Princeton that I stood twelve yards back from the line when kicking. This was not so. Ten yards was the regular distance, always. But, I either kicked in my tracks or directly after running to the left."
THE DAY COLUMBIA BEAT YALE
Columbia men enthusiastically recall the day Columbia beat Yale. A Columbia man who is always on hand for the big games of the year is Charles Halstead Mapes, the ever reliable, loyal rooter for the game. He has told the tale of this victory so wonderfully well that football enthusiasts cannot but enjoy this enthusiastic Columbia version.
"Fifteen years ago Yale was supreme in football," runs Mapes' story. "Occasionally, but only very occasionally, one of their great rivals, Princeton or Harvard, would win a game from them, but for any outsider, anybody except one of the 'Eternal Triangle,' to beat Yale was out of the question—an utter impossibility. And, by the way, that Triangle at times got almost as much on the nerves of the outside public as the Frenchmen's celebrated three—wife, husband, lover—the foundation of their plays.
"The psychological effect of Yale's past prestige was all-powerful in every game. The blue-jerseyed figures with the white Y would tumble through the gate and spread out on the field; the stands would rise to them with a roar of joyous welcome that would raise the very skies—Y-a-l-e! Y-a-l-e! Y—A—L—E!
"'Small wonder that each man was right on his toes, felt as though he were made of steel springs. All other Yale teams had won, 'We will win, of course.'
"But the poor other side—they might just as well throw their canvas jackets and mole-skin trousers in the old suit-case at once and go home. 'Beat Yale! boys, we're crazy, but every man must try his damnedest to keep the score low,' and so the game was won and lost before the referee even blew his starting whistle.
"This was the general rule, but every rule needs an exception to prove it, and on a certain November afternoon in 1899 we gave them their belly-full of exception. We had a very strong team that year, with some truly great players, Harold Weekes and Bill Morley (there never were two better men behind the line), and Jack Wright, old Jack Wright, playing equally well guard or center, as fine a linesman as I have ever seen. Weekes, Morley, and Wright were on the All-American team of that year, and Walter Camp in selecting his All-American team for All Time several years ago picked Harold Weekes as his first halfback.
"I can see the game now; there was no scoring in the first half. To the outsider the teams seemed evenly matched, but we, who knew our men, thought we saw that the power was there; and if they could but realize their strength and that they had it in them to lay low at last that armor-plated old rhinoceros, the terror of the college jungle—Yale,—with an even break of luck, the game must be ours.
"In the second half our opportunity came. By one of the shifting chances of the game we got the ball on about their 25-yard line; one yard, three yards, two yards, four yards, we went through them; there was no stopping us, and at last—over, well over, for a touchdown.
"Through some technicality in the last rush the officials, instead of allowing the touchdown, took the ball away from us and gave it to Yale. They were right, probably quite right, but how could we think so? Yale at once kicked the ball to the middle of the field well out of danger. The teams lined up.
"On the very next play, with every man of that splendidly trained Eleven doing his allotted work, Harold Weekes swept around the end, aided by the magnificent interference of Jack Wright, which gave him his start. He ran half the length of the field, through the entire Yale team, and planted the ball squarely behind the goal posts for the touchdown which won the game. If we had ever had any doubt that cruel wrong is righted, that truth and justice must prevail, it was swept away that moment in a great wave of thanksgiving.
"I shall never forget it—Columbia had beaten Yale! Tears running down my cheeks, shaken by emotion, I couldn't speak, let alone cheer. My best girl was with me. She gave one quick half-frightened glance and I believe almost realized all I felt. She was all gold. I feel now the timid little pressure on my arm as she tried to help me regain control of myself. God! why has life so few such moments!"
BEHIND THE SCENES
Let us go into the dressing room of a victorious team, which defeated Yale at Manhattan Field a good many years ago and let us read with that great lover of football, the late Richard Harding Davis, as he describes so wonderfully well some of the unique things that happened in the celebration of victory.
"People who live far away from New York and who cannot understand from the faint echoes they receive how great is the enthusiasm that this contest arouses, may possibly get some idea of what it means to the contestants themselves through the story of a remarkable incident, that occurred after the game in the Princeton dressing room. The team were being rubbed down for the last time and after their three months of self-denial and anxiety and the hardest and roughest sort of work that young men are called upon to do, and outside in the semi-darkness thousands of Princeton followers were jumping up and down and hugging each other and shrieking themselves hoarse. One of the Princeton coaches came into the room out of this mob, and holding up his arm for silence said,
"'Boys, I want you to sing the doxology.'"
"Standing as they were, naked and covered with mud, blood and perspiration, the eleven men that had won the championship sang the Doxology from the beginning to the end as solemnly and as seriously, and I am sure, as sincerely, as they ever did in their lives, while outside the no less thankful fellow-students yelled and cheered and beat at the doors and windows and howled for them to come out and show themselves. This may strike some people as a very sacrilegious performance and as a most improper one, but the spirit in which it was done has a great deal to do with the question, and any one who has seen a defeated team lying on the benches of their dressing room, sobbing like hysterical school girls, can understand how great and how serious is the joy of victory to the men that conquer."
Introducing Vic Kennard, opportunist extraordinary. Where is the Harvard man, Yale man, or indeed any football man who will not be stirred by the recollection of his remarkable goal from the field at New Haven that provided the winning points for the eleven Percy Haughton turned out in the first year of his regime. To Kennard himself the memory is still vivid, and there are side lights on that performance and indeed on all his football days at Cambridge, of which he alone can tell. I'll not make a conversation of this, but simply say as one does over the 'phone, "Kennard talking":—
"Many of us are under the impression that the only real football fan is molded from the male sex and that the female of the species attends the game for decorative purposes only. I protest. Listen. In 1908 I had the good fortune to be selected to enter the Harvard-Yale Game at New Haven, for the purpose of scoring on Yale in a most undignified way, through the medium of a drop-kick, Haughton realizing that while a touchdown was distinctly preferable, he was not afraid to fight it out in the next best way.
"My prayers were answered, for the ball somehow or other made its way over the crossbar and between the uprights, making the score, Harvard 4, Yale 0. My mother, who had made her way to New Haven by a forced march, was sitting in the middle of the stand on the Yale (no, I'm wrong, it was, on second thought, on the Harvard side) accompanied by my two brothers, one of whom forgot himself far enough to go to Yale, and will not even to this day acknowledge his hideous mistake.
"Five or six minutes before the end of the game, one E. H. Coy decided that the time was getting short and Yale needed a touchdown. So he grabbed a Harvard punt on the run and started. Yes, he did more than start, he got well under way, circled the Harvard end and after galloping fifteen yards, apparently concluded that I would look well as minced meat, and headed straight for me, stationed well back on the secondary defense. He had received no invitation whatsoever, but owing to the fact that I believe every Harvard man should be at least cordial to every Yale man, I decided to go 50-50 and meet him half way.
"We met informally. That I know. I will never forget that. He weighed only 195 pounds, but I am sure he had another couple of hundred tucked away somewhere. When I had finished counting a great variety and number of stars, it occurred to me that I had been in a ghastly railroad wreck, and that the engine and cars following had picked out my right knee as a nice soft place to pile up on. There was a feeling of great relief when I looked around and saw that the engineer of that train, Mr. E. H. Coy, had stopped with the train, and I held the greatest hopes that neither the engine nor any one of the ten cars following would ever reach the terminal.
"Mother, who had seen the whole performance, was little concerned with other than the fact that E. H. had been delayed. His mission had been more than delayed—as it turned out, it had been postponed. In the meantime Dr. Nichols of the Harvard staff of first aid was working with my knee, and from the stands it looked as though I might have broken my leg.
"At this point some one who sat almost directly back of my mother called out loud, 'That's young Kennard. It looks as though he'd broken his leg.' My brother, feeling that mother had not heard the remark, and not knowing what he might say, turned and informed him that Mrs. Kennard was sitting almost directly in front of him, requesting that he be careful what he said. Mother, however, heard the whole thing, and turning in her seat said, 'That's all right, I don't care if his leg is broken, if we only win this game.'
"My mother, who is a great football fan, after following the game for three or four years, learned all the slang expressions typical of football. She tried to work out new plays, criticised the generalship occasionally, and fairly 'ate and slept' football during the months of October and November. While the season was in progress I usually slept at home in Boston where I could rest more comfortably. I occupied the adjoining room to my mother's, and when I was ready for bed always opened the door between the rooms.
"One night I woke up suddenly and heard my mother talking. Wondering whether something was the matter, I got out of bed and went into her room, appearing just in time to see my mothers arms outstretched. She was calling 'Fair catch.' I spoke to her to see just what the trouble was, and she, in a sleepy way, mumbled, 'We won.' She had been dreaming of the Harvard-Dartmouth game.
"Early in the fall of 1908 Haughton heard rumors that the Indians were equipping their backfield in a very peculiar fashion. Warner had had a piece of leather the color and shape of a football sewed on the jerseys of his backfield men, in such a position that when the arm was folded as if carrying the ball, it would appear as if each of the backfield players might have possession of the ball, and therefore disorganize somewhat the defense against the man who was actually carrying the ball. Instead of one runner each time, there appeared to be four.
"Haughton studied the rules and found nothing to prevent Warner's scheme. He wrote a friendly letter to Warner, stating that he did not think it for the best interest of the game to permit his players to appear in the Stadium equipped in this way, at the same time admitting that there was nothing in the rules against it. Taking no chances, however, Haughton worked out a scheme of his own. He discovered that there was no rule which prevented painting the ball red, so he had a ball painted the same color as the crimson jerseys. Had the Indians come on the field with the leather ruse sewed on their jerseys, Haughton would have insisted that the game be played with the crimson ball.
"What did I learn in my football course? I learned to control my temper, to exercise judgment, to think quickly and act decisively. I learned the meaning of discipline, to take orders and carry them out to the best of my ability without asking why. I had through the training regular habits knocked into me. I learned to meet, know and size up men. I learned to smile when I was the most discouraged fellow in this great wide world, the importance of being on time, a better control of my nerves, and to demand the respect of fellow players. I learned to work out problems for myself and to apply my energy more intelligently,—to stick by the ship. I secured a wide friendship which money can't buy."
What Eddie Mahan was to Harvard, Charlie Barrett, Captain of the victorious 1915 Eleven, was to Cornell. The Ithaca Captain was one of those powerful runners whose remarkable physique did not interfere with his shiftiness. Like his Harvard contemporary, he was a fine leader, but unlike Mahan, with whom he clashed in the game with the Crimson in his final year, he was not able to play the play through what was to him probably the most important gridiron battle of his career. Nevertheless, it was his touchdown in the first quarter that sounded the knell of the Crimson hopes that day, and Cornell men will always believe that his presence on the side line wrapped in a blanket, after his recovery from the shock that put him out of the game, had much to do with inspiring his Eleven.
Barrett was one of the products of the Cleveland University School, whence so many star players have been sent up to the leading universities. On the occasion of his first appearance at Ithaca it became a practical certainty that he would not only make the Varsity Eleven, but would some day be its captain. In course of time it became a habit for the followers of the Carnelian and White to look to Barrett for rescue in games that seemed to be hopelessly in the fire.
In his senior year the team was noted for its ability to come from behind, and this team spirit was generally understood as being the reflection of that of their leader. The Cornell Captain played the second and third periods of his final game against Pennsylvania in a dazed condition, and it is a tribute to his mental and physical resources that in the last period of that game he played perhaps as fine football as he had ever shown.
It was from no weakened Pennsylvania Eleven that Barrett snatched the victory in this his crowded moment. The Quakers had had a disastrous season up to Thanksgiving Day, but their pluck and rallying power, which has become a tradition on Franklin Field, was never more in evidence. The Quakers played with fire, with power and aggressiveness that none save those who know the Quaker spirit had been led to expect. There were heroes on the Red and Blue team that day, and without a Barrett at his best against them, they would have won.
It was up to Eddie Hart with his supreme personality and indomitable spirit, which has always characterized him from the day he entered Exeter until he forged his way to the leadership of one of Princeton's finest elevens to bring home the long deferred championship. When the final whistle rang down the football curtain for the season of 1911 it found Hart in the ascendancy having fulfilled the wonderful promise of his old Exeter days. For he had made good indeed.
Yale and Harvard had been beaten through a remarkable combination of team and individual effort in which Sam White's alertness and DeWitt's kicking stood out; a combination which was made possible only through Hart's splendid leadership.
At a banquet for this championship team given by the Princeton Club of Philadelphia, Lou Reichner, the toastmaster, in introducing Sam White, the hero of the evening, quoted from First Samuel III, Chapter ii, 12th and 1st verses—"And the Lord said unto Samuel, behold I will do a thing in Israel, at which both the ears of every one that heareth it shall tingle. In that day I will perform against Eli, all things which I have spoken concerning his house; when I begin I will also make an end. And The Child Samuel ministered unto the Lord Eli." Mr. Reichner then presented to the Child Samuel the souvenir sleeve links and a silver box containing the genuine soil from Yale Field.
After Sam had been sufficiently honored, Alfred T. Baker, Princeton '85, a former Varsity football player, and his son Hobey Baker, who played on Eddie Hart's team, were called before the toastmaster. There was a triple cheer for Hobey and his father. Reichner said that he had nothing for Papa Baker, but a souvenir for Hobey, and if the father was man enough to take it away from him he could have it.
In speaking of the Yale-Princeton game at New Haven, some of the things incidental to victory were told that evening by Sam White, who said:
"In the Yale game of 1911, Joe Duff, the Princeton guard, came over to Hart, Captain of the Princeton team, and said:
"'Ed, I can't play any more. I can't stand on my left leg.'
"'That's all right,' answered Hart, 'go back and play on your right one.'
"Joe did and that year he made the All-American guard.
"It was less than a week before the Harvard-Princeton game at Princeton, 1911, a friend of mine wrote down and asked me to get him four good seats, and said if I'd mention my favorite cigar, he'd send me a box in appreciation. I got the seats for him, but it was more or less of a struggle, but in writing on did not mention cigars. He sent me a check to cover the cost of the tickets and in the letter enclosed a small scarf pin which he said was sure to bring me luck. He had done quite a little running in his time and said it had never failed him and urged me to be sure and put it in my tie the day of the Harvard-Princeton game. I am not superstitious, but I did stick it in my tie when I dressed that Saturday morning and it surely had a charm. It was in the first half that I got away for my run, and as we came out of the field house at the start of the second half, whom should I see but my friend, yelling like a madman—
"'Did you wear it? Did you wear it?'
"I assured him I did, and it seemed to quiet and please him, for he merely grinned and replied:
"'I told you! I told you!'
"After the game I said nothing of the episode, but did secretly decide to keep the pin safely locked up until the day of the Yale-Princeton game. I again stuck it in my tie that morning and the charm still held, and I am still wondering to this day, if it doesn't pay to be a little bit superstitious."
Every Harvard man remembers vividly the great Crimson triumph of 1915 over Yale. It will never be forgotten. During the game I sat on the Harvard side lines with Doctor Billy Brooks, a former Harvard captain. He was not satisfied when Harvard had Yale beaten by the score of 41 to 0, but was enthusiastically urging Harvard on to at least one or two more touchdowns, so that the defeat which Yale meted out to Harvard in 1884, a game in which he was a player, would be avenged by a larger score, but alas! he had to be satisfied with the tally as it stood.
A story is told of the enthusiasm of Evert Jansen Wendell, as he stood on the side lines of this same game and saw the big Crimson roller crushing Yale down to overwhelming defeat. This enthusiastic Harvard graduate cried out:
"'We must score again!'
"Another Harvard sympathiser, standing nearby, said:
"'Mr. Wendell, don't you think we have beaten them badly enough? What more do you want?'
"'Oh, I want to see them suffer,' retorted Wendell."
After this game was over and the crowd was surging out of the stadium that afternoon I heard an energetic newsboy, who was selling the Harvard Lampoon, crying out at the top of his voice:
"'Harvard Lampoon for sale here. All about the New Haven wreck.'"
There is no question that the American game of football will go on for years to come. If the future football generals develop a better all-around man than Eddie Mahan, captain of the great Harvard team of 1915, whose playing brought not only victory to Harvard but was accompanied by great admiration throughout the football world, they may well congratulate themselves. From this peerless leader, whose playing was an inspiration to the men on his team, let us put on record, so that future heroes may also draw like inspiration from them, some of Mahan's own recollections of his playing days.
"I think the greatest game I ever played in was the Princeton game in 1915, because we never knew until the last minute that we had won the game," says the Crimson star. "There was always a chance of Princeton's beating us. The score was 10 to 6. I worked harder in that game than in any game I ever played.
"Frank Glick's defensive work was nothing short of marvelous. He is the football player I respect. He hit me so hard. The way I ran, it was seldom that anybody got a crack at me. I would see a clear space and the first thing I knew Glick would come from behind somewhere, or somebody, and would hit me when I least expected it, and he usually hit me good and hard. It seemed sometimes that he came right out of the ground. I tell you after he hit me a few times he was the only man I was looking for; I did not care much about the rest of the team.
"One of the things that helped me most in my backfield play was Pooch Donovan's coaching. He practiced me in sprints, my whole freshman year. He took a great interest in me. He speeded me up. I owe a great debt of gratitude to Pooch. I could always kick before I went to Harvard, back in the old Andover days. I learned to kick by punting the ball all the afternoon, instead of playing football all the time. I think that is the way men should learn to kick. The more I kicked, the better I seemed to get."
Among the many trophies Eddie Mahan has received, he prizes as much as any the watch presented to him by the townspeople of Natick, his home town, his last year at Andover, after the football season closed. He was attending a football game at Natick between Natick High and Milton High.
"It was all a surprise to me," says Eddie. "They called me out on the field and presented me with this watch which is very handsomely inscribed.
"Well do I recall those wonderful days at Andover and the games between Andover and Exeter. There is intense rivalry between these two schools. Many are the traditions at Andover, and some of the men who had preceded me, and some with whom I played were Jack Curtis, Ralph Bloomer, Frank Hinkey, Doc Hillebrand and Jim Rodgers. Then there was Trevor Hogg, who was captain of the Princeton 1916 team, Shelton, Red Braun, Bob Jones. The older crowd of football men made the game what it is at Andover. Lately they have had a much younger crowd. When I was at Andover, Johnny Kilpatrick, Henry Hobbs, Ham Andrews, Bob Foster and Bob McKay had already left there and gone to college.
"It has been a great privilege for me to have played on different teams that have had strong players. I cannot say too much about Hardwick, Bradlee, and Trumbull. Brickley was one of the hardest men for our opponents to bring down when he got the ball. He was a phenomenal kicker. I had also a lot of respect for Mal Logan, who played quarterback on my team in 1915. He weighed less than 150 pounds. He used to get into the interference in grand shape. He counted for something. He was a tough kid. He could stand all sorts of knocks and he used to get them too. When I was kicking he warded off the big tackles as they came through. He was always there and nobody could ever block a kick from his side. The harder they hit him, the stronger he came back every time."
When I asked Mahan about fun in football he said:
"We didn't seem to do much kidding. There was a sort of serious spirit; Haughton had such an influence over everybody, they were afraid to laugh before practice, while waiting for Haughton, and after practice everybody was usually so tired there was not much fooling in the dressing room; but we got a lot of fun out of the game."
Of Haughton's coaching methods and the Harvard system Eddie has a few things to tell us that will be news to many football men.
"Haughton coaches a great deal by the use of photographs which are taken of us in practice as well as regular games. He would get us all together and coach from the pictures—point out the poor work. Seldom were the good points shown. Nevertheless, he always gave credit to the man who got his opponent in the interference. Haughton used to say:
"'Any one can carry a ball through a bunch of dead men.'
"Haughton is a good organizer. He has been the moving spirit at Cambridge but by no means the whole Harvard coaching staff. The individual coaches work with him and with each other. Each one has control or supreme authority over his own department. The backfield coach has the picking of men for their positions. Harvard follows Charlie Daly's backfield play; improved upon somewhat, of course, according to conditions. Each coach is considered an expert in his own line. No coach is considered an expert in all fields. This is the method at Harvard.
"Outside of Haughton, Bill Withington, Reggie Brown, and Leo Leary have been the most recent prominent coaches. The Harvard generalship has been the old Charlie Daly system. Reggie Brown has been a great strategist. Harvard line play came from Pot Graves of West Point."
What George Chadwick, captain of Yale's winning team of 1902, gave of himself to Yale football has amply earned the thoroughly remarkable tributes constantly paid to this great Yale player. He was a most deceptive man with the ball. In the Princeton game John DeWitt was the dangerous man on the Princeton team, feared most on account of his great kicking ability.
DeWitt has always contended that Chadwick's team was the best Yale team he ever saw. He says: "It was a better team than Gordon Brown's for the reason that they had a kicker and Gordon Brown's team did not have a kicker. But this is only my opinion."