Schulers Books Online

books - games - software - wallpaper - everything

Bride.Ru

Books Menu

Home
Author Catalog
Title Catalog
Sectioned Catalog

 

- Problems of Conduct - 30/68 -


to opponents and ask no more for one's own side, to endure defeat with a smile and without discouragement- surely this is just the spirit we need in everything. It is vitally important that unsportsmanlike conduct should be ruthlessly stamped out in all competitive sports, and that every team should prefer to lose honorably than to win unfairly. [Footnote: There has been a good deal of criticism of American intercollegiate athletics on the ground of their fostering unsportsmanlike conduct. A recent paper in the Atlantic Monthly (by C. A. Stewart, vol. 113, p. 153) concludes with this recommendation: "A forceful presentation of the facts of the situation, with an appeal to the innate sense of honor of the undergraduates; such a revision of the rules as will retain only those based upon essential fairness; and a strict supervision by the faculty;-upon the success of these three measures rests the hope that college athletics may be purged of trickery and the spirit of 'get away with it.' ... A few men expelled for lying about eligibility, and a few teams disbanded because of unfair play, would arouse undergraduates with a wholesome jolt."]

(6) Wherever they are taken seriously athletic contests require a preliminary period of "training," which includes abstinence from sex incontinence, from alcohol, smoking, overeating, and late hours. The discipline which this involves is an object lesson in the requirements for efficiency in any undertaking, and excellent practice in their fulfillment. How far athletes learn this lesson and apply it to wider spheres of activity, it would be interesting to discover. In any case, they have proved in themselves the ability to repress inclination and find satisfaction in what makes for health and efficiency; and all who know the implications of "training" have received a subconscious "suggestion" in the right direction. The other side of the problem is this:

(1) Competitive athletics, if taken seriously contests,inevitably take more time and energy than their importance .warrants. A member of a college football or baseball team can do little else during the season. Studies are neglected, intellectual interests are subordinated, college figures essentially as a group of men endeavoring to beat another college on the field. If a man is bright he may "keep up with" his studies, but his intellectual profit is meager; his energies are being absorbed elsewhere. This phenomenon has given rise to much satire and to much perplexity on the part of college administrations. A few have gone so far as to banish intercollegiate contests, asserting thatthe purpose of coming to college is primarily to learn to use the brain, not the muscles.

(2) The strain of intense rivalry is too severe on the body. It is now known that the intercollegiate athlete is very probably sacrificing some of his life when he throws his utmost effort into the game or the race. The length of life of the big athletes averages considerably shorter than that of the more moderate exercisers. From the physical point of view, interclass or interfraternity contests, not taken too earnestly, are. far better than the intercollegiate struggles. They also have the advantage that far more can participate. The problem before our college authorities and leaders of student sentiment is how to check the fierceness of the big contests-shortening them, perhaps, possibly forbidding entirely the more strenuous and how to provide sports for all members of the college; so that, instead of a few overstrained athletes and a lot of fellows who under exercise, we shall see every man out on the field daily, and no one overdoing. This ideal necessitates far larger athletic grounds than most of our colleges have reserved. It may necessitate the abolition of some of the big contests that have been the excitement of many thousands. But it must not be forgotten prelude and preparation for life; they must not be allowed to usurp the chief place in a man's thoughts or to unfit him for his greatest after-usefulness. [Footnote: Cf. Atlantic Monthly, vol. 90, p. 534; Outlook, vol. 98, p. 597.] Is it wrong to smoke? Statistics taken with care at many American colleges show with apparent conclusiveness that the use of tobacco is physically and mentally deleterious to young men. [Footnote: See, e.g., in the Popular Science Monthly for October, 1912, a summary by Dr. F. J. Pack of an investigation covering fourteen colleges. Similar investigations have been made by several others, with generally similar results.] It seems that smokers lose in lung capacity, are stunted slightly in their growth, are lessened in their endurance, develop far more than their proportion of eye and nerve troubles, furnish far less than their proportion of the athletes who win positions on college teams, furnish far less than their proportion of scholarship men, and far more than their proportion of conditions and failures. It is perhaps too early to be quite sure of these results; but in all probability further experiment will confirm them, and make it certain that tobacco is physically harmful as has long been recognized by trainers for athletic contests. The harm to adults seems to be less marked; perhaps to some it is inappreciable. And if there is appreciable harm, whether it is great enough to counterbalance the satisfaction which a confirmed smoker takes in his cigar or pipe, or any worse than the restlessness which the sacrifice of it might engender, is one of those delicate personal problems that one can hardly solve for another. But certainly where the habit is not formed, the loss of tobacco involves no important deprivation; its use is chiefly a social custom which can be discontinued without ill effects. Effort should be made to keep the young from forming the habit; college "smokers," where free cigarettes and cigars are furnished, should be superseded by "rallies," where the same amount of money could provide some light and harmless refreshment. This is not one of the important problems. But, after all, everything is important; and men must, and ultimately will, learn to find their happiness in things that forward, instead of thwarting, their great interests; what makes at all against health and efficiency-when it is so needless and artificial a habit as smoking, so mildly pleasant and so purely selfish-must be rooted out of desire. The great amount of money wasted on tobacco could be far more wisely and fruitfully expended. We shall not brand smoking as a sin, hardly as a vice; but the man who wishes to make the most of his life will avoid it himself, and the man who wishes to work for the general welfare will put his influence and example against it.

H. S. King, Rational Living, chap. VI, secs. I, II. J. Payot, The Education of the Will, book III, sec. IV. J. MacCunn, The Making of Character, part II, chap. II. W. Hutchinson, Handbook of Health. L. H. Gulick, The Efficient Life. F. Paulsen, System of Ethics, book III, chap. III. T. Roosevelt, The Strenuous Life. P. G. Hamerton, The Intellectual Life, part I.

CHAPTER XVI

THE ALCOHOL PROBLEM

OF all the problems relating to health and efficiency there is none graver than that of the narcotic-stimulants. With the exception of tobacco, which is probably, for adults, but mildly deleterious, their use is fraught with danger, both physical and moral; beyond the narrowest limits it is certainly baneful, while it is as yet an open question whether even a very slight use is not distinctly harmful. The exact physiological effects of the several narcotic-stimulants are different, but they are alike in stimulating certain activities and depressing others; and their attraction for men is similar. Opium, morphine, and cocaine are more powerful drugs, and more inherently dangerous; but alcohol is much the most widely used and so most productive of evil. The hypodermically used narcotics need not be here discussed; for although they can give a far keener pleasure than alcohol, the penalty they inflict is more evident. Moreover, since their sale is not pushed by such powerful interests as continually stimulate the use of alcohol, they can, by the vigilant enforcement of existing laws, be readily removed from any general use. We turn, then, to the consideration of the one which has got a universal hold on the imagination and social habits of men, the only one that constitutes at present a serious and complicated problem.

What are the causes of the use of alcoholic drinks?

(1) We may dismiss at once the suggestion that alcoholic liquors are drunk for the pleasantness of their taste or for their food value. To some slight extent these factors enter in; but neither is important. The taste for them is for most men an acquired taste; and with so many other delicious drinks to be had, especially in recent years, drinks that are far less expensive and without their poisonous effects, it is safe to say that the mere taste of them would not go far toward explaining the lure they have for men. As to their food value, there are those who justify themselves on the score of the nutrition they are getting from their wine or beer. But careful experiments have shown that the food value of alcohol is slight; and certainly, for nutrition received, these are among the most expensive foods, to be ranked with caviar and pate de foie gras. Beer is the most nutritious of the alcoholic drinks; but the same amount of money spent on bread would give about thirty times the nutrition, and a more all-round nutrition at that. Alcoholic liquors as food are, as has been said, like gunpowder as fuel very costly and very dangerous. [Footnote: See H. S. Williams, Alcohol, p. 133; H. S. Warner, Social Welfare and the Liquor Problem, p. 80, and bibliography, p. 95.]

(2) A much commoner plea for drinking rests upon its sociability. But this is a matter of convention which can readily enough be altered. There is nothing inherently more sociable in the drinking of wine than in the drinking of grape-juice, or coffee, or chocolate, or tea. Indeed, one may well ask why the chief social bond between men should consist in drinking liquids side by side! Games and sports, in which wit is pitted against wit, or which bring men together in happy cooperation, together with the great resource of conversation, are more socially binding than any drinks. There will, indeed, be a temporary social hardship for many abstainers until the custom is generally broken up; one runs the risk of being thought by the heedless a prig and a Puritan. But that is a small price to pay for one's health and one's influence on others.

(3) More important than any of these causes is the craving for a stimulant. The monotony of work, the fatigue toward the end of the day, the severity of our Northern climate, the longing for intenser living, lead men to seek to apply the whip to their flagging energies. This stimulus to the body is, however, largely if not wholly, illusory. The mental-emotional effects, noted in the following paragraph, give the drinker the impression that he is physically fortified; but objective tests show that, after a very brief period, the dominant effect upon the organism is depressant. The apparent increase in bodily warmth, so often experienced, is a subjective illusion; in reality alcohol lowers the temperature and diminishes resistance to cold. Arctic explorers have to discard it entirely. The old idea of helping to cure snake bite, hydrophobia, etc, by whiskey was sheer mistake; the patient has actually much less of a chance if so drugged. Only for an immediate and transitory need, such as faintness or shock, is the quickly passing stimulating power of alcohol useful; and even for such purposes other stimulants are more valuable. Reputable physicians have almost wholly ceased to use it. [Footnote: See H. S. Williams, op. cit, p. 4, 124-127; H. S. Warner, op. cit, pp. 87]

(4) The one real value of alcohol to man has been the boon of stimulating his emotional and impulsive life, bringing him an elevation of spirits, drowning his sorrows, helping him to forget, helping to free his mind from the burden of care, anxiety, and regret. As William


Problems of Conduct - 30/68

Previous Page     Next Page

  1   10   20   25   26   27   28   29   30   31   32   33   34   35   40   50   60   68 

Schulers Books Home



 Games Menu

Home
Balls
Battleship
Buzzy
Dice Poker
Memory
Mine
Peg
Poker
Tetris
Tic Tac Toe

Google
 
Web schulers.com
 

Schulers Books Online

books - games - software - wallpaper - everything