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I cannot agree that sports have only lately become popular with what he calls student and graduate intellectuals. I believe he confuses interest in sports with objections to exploited big-time varsity competition. I believe big-time varsity programs were, are and always will be condemned by some intellectuals who consider them to be incompatible with a college's mission. Furthermore, I believe that another group—not classifiable as intellectuals—has been traditionally critical of certain aspects of big-time sports, namely, the relatively affluent and sophisticated students who look down their patrician noses at culturally inferior scholarship athletes.
The professor equates the intellectuals of the '30s with leftists. I can't buy that. Most true intellectuals were not and are not leftists, and most leftists were not and are not true intellectuals. They only think they are.
The professor's concluding paragraph foresees a realization of the oft-quoted platitudes of famous coaches as to the "benefits of sport." I believe he confuses the evidence. Such coaches are usually defending highly emphasized varsity competition. This has nothing whatever to do with the present vogue of jogging or individual fitness in general. To the great majority of us, big-time sports are no more and no less than entertainment. This is a sedentary activity that, indeed, tends to preclude exercise. The true athletic enthusiast is interested in personal fitness. He endorses universal athletic participation.
We feel, however, that one small point was left out of the article; on April 20 the Old Blues came to the academy for our annual match. Perhaps they were looking ahead of our game toward the future and the Commonwealth Cup, but they left West Point that day beaten 9-8 for their only loss this year. While our record hardly compares with theirs this season, we feel this victory at least merits mention in your magazine, for it has been quite some time since a college Rugby team has beaten the Old Blues at the game they traditionally dominate on the East Coast.
This sort of attitude is central to nearly all professional and most college and amateur sports in America today, but such an attitude has no place in Rugby. Players who clothesline or throw a cross-body block in Rugby are sent off the field for dangerous play, and they are reported to the governing union. There is no place in Rugby for doing anything to the laws except play well within them. Rugby also stands for the proposition that a match won "at any cost" is a loss for everyone.
Old Blue won our Commonwealth Cup for the second straight year, just beating a larger, numerically superior and hungry Virginia team by exhibiting superior experience and real grit. It would not be fair to this fine team to characterize its play as vicious or its attitude as anything less than that required by the spirit, as well as the letter, of the laws of the game, for there was none of that in them.