SI Vault
November 21, 1955
MAY I OFFER MY SERVICES? Sirs:I have just read Gerald Holland's article (SI, Nov. 7) about Mr. Leahy and his wonderful family. To say the least, I was most impressed with Mr. Leahy's attitude and ideas about curbing juvenile delinquency.
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November 21, 1955

19th Hole: The Readers Take Over

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?Scoring a bout is indeed a complex and often misunderstood operation. SI agrees with Mr. Kennedy that the knowledgeable spectator gets more enjoyment from boxing and for that purpose will present a detailed do-it-yourself scoring guide in time for the Olson-Robinson fight December 9.—ED.

Referring to your editorial comment to Mr. Harry L. Bowlby's letter "The First Game" (19TH HOLE, Oct. 31), I say bravo! And more power to you!

Perhaps if the myth regarding that first intercollegiate soccer or association football game of 1869 between Princeton and Rutgers is exploded often enough and the facts are repeated enough, we may get the widely accepted fallacy exposed and the authenticity of the New Brunswick site for the Football Shrine discredited.

You are to be commended for questioning the truth of this popular belief in your August 16 issue of 1954, and President Griswold deserves an assist also, although it was the Harvard-Tufts game on June 4 of that year that has the real honor of being the first all-American intercollegiate game of football, in my opinion.

Moreover, if it were not for Harvard, we might never have had football, which of course stems from Rugby, not association football (or soccer as it is now called). Harvard refused to indulge in the round-ball kicking game, where touching the ball with the hands is forbidden, and played Rugby football intramurally from 1871 to 1873 and then with Canadian teams in 1874 and 1875.

After getting Tufts to play that "first game" they finally talked Yale into trying it. Yale, though it had tried Rugby with a pickup team from Eton in 1873, was still kicking the round ball around with the other colleges. The Elis liked the Rugby game so much better after their initial losing bout with Harvard that in 1876 they weaned Princeton and Columbia away from soccer, and in 1877 the other colleges followed, and the first conferences on standard rules for American Rugby football were held.

To this day our goal post dimensions are the same as Rugby and for many years our gridiron was the same in length as Rugby—110 yards.

Ironically it was Harvard, the original sponsor of American football, that prevented the attempted widening of our football field to the Rugby width, which would have been more desirable. Their then brand-new Soldiers Field concrete stadium—first in America—was built too close to the side lines to permit it, and the idea was permanently buried.

Actually, a now deceased member of the football Hall of Fame Site Committee admitted to the writer that the acceptance of the 1869 New Brunswick game was a mistake, but that the error had been publicized for so long that they did not feel like fighting it. Also, Harvard and Cambridge were strangely silent in the face of the promotional efforts being agitated by Rutgers and New Brunswick, so we now have a so-called football shrine that can be truthfully accepted by the soccer fraternity as the place where their first game was played!
Glen Ridge, N.J.

In SI, Oct. 31 there is a grave mistake in the cartoon which depicts an Auburn football player having a goal post splinter removed from his finger. The splinter in his finger must be at least 14 years old because our goal posts of today are made of metal, and anyone wanting to tear down this goal would have to dig it up or use a torch to cut it down.

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