SI Vault
June 23, 1958
The Oval Halo
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June 23, 1958

Events & Discoveries

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The Oval Halo

In Chicago the other day, John I. Kirkpatrick, the University of Chicago's vice-chancellor for administration, told a lettermen's reunion that their alma mater saw no way of resuming big-time football and then found himself off on a philosophical kick about the worth of it all.

"In four years of college football," mused Mr. Kirkpatrick, himself an old lineman from Lehigh, "I figure I spent 800 hours in uniform. About one-fifth were devoted to playing the game. Most of my time was spent in falling on the ball, tackling the dummy, signal drills, and none of this was much sport.

"Not once since my college days have I called up the 21 others to see if they wanted to play some football." Mr. Kirkpatrick thinks now he might have spent his football time better on tennis, golf or "some other carry-over sport."

Mr. Kirkpatrick looked out at the other football veterans and went on: "That son of yours who is a pretty nice guy weighing 150 pounds stands a very tiny chance of making a football team. Boys of all different sizes stand a chance of becoming a varsity player in swimming, track, wrestling, boxing, tennis—but not in football.

"I have said all these things about football in order to cut off part of the oval halo that many people thrust about football's headgear."

Mr. Kirkpatrick then summed it all up. "Please don't misunderstand me. I'm not saying these debits outweigh the credits of football. I'm very glad I played the game.... I'd do it again."

In fact, Mr. Kirkpatrick concluded, what made him most angry was the fact that the present "swollen proportions" of the game made it impossible for the University of Chicago to get back into it.

Blue by Three

The wind finally died at twilight, and the patient crews paddled slowly to the starting line under the New London railroad bridge where the Thames River spills into Long Island Sound. The nor'wester had blown all day, sweeping the skies crystal blue, sending the gulls soaring until they were mere specks in the heaven. Now, an hour after the scheduled start, the wind quit, as though weary of defying 107 years of Yale-Harvard rowing tradition, and the whitecaps melted into long, gentle swells. It was good water for rowing.

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