AS THE SCHOOL MOVED into its second century, it was evident that while the athletic program was apparently here to stay its administration by the students needed some reappraising. Prior to 1878 the popularity enjoyed by football or baseball in any given year depended almost entirely upon the financial support provided by the student associations, whose purpose was to select the teams, purchase the equipment, and provide the outside competition. Since the Administration and Faculty of the school assumed no responsibility for these programs, their success varied from term to term and year to year. When funds were in short supply, the schedules were curtailed and enthusiasm waned. Furthermore, since both baseball and football were played in the fall term, the former early, and the latter late, two different associations were often competing for the same talent and the same money. Moreover, there were no associations to support the boxing, wrestling, and apparatus work taking place in the gym during the winter terms, or the track events (General Athletics) which were becoming increasingly popular in the fall and spring.(1) The Exhibitions and Tournaments were financed solely by the entry fees of the participants themselves. To many of the students the system was discriminatory and largely ineffective; their protests, beginning in 1876, had gone unheeded thus far:
There are even now men in the school who believe that they have not had justice done to them because the Association refuses them the privileges which they previously enjoyed unless they pay a certain tax .... There ought to be one hundred and twenty-five men who would give $3.00 a year for the school sports, and yet there are only half that number. With one exception the cry that the A.A. is extravagant is imaginary. The one exception and a waste of school funds is the money spent on foreign clubs. If they are to be entertained, the money should be raised by subscription.
In 1878, however, the editors of the Mirror addressed themselves to the problem and in the June issue proposed a plan for a general athletic association under whose auspices all the athletic activities of the academy would fall.
The article, entitled "Advantages of an Athletic Association," was both philosophical and practical. Its basic premise was that the "cultivation of the physical powers" was essential for a happy and successful life and that it was the responsibility of the students to see how this could best be accomplished. The game sports in any school were only as successful as the general tone of the institution, measured in terms of its officers, equipment, and discipline. A rigorous climate unconsciously instills itself into the minds of the students and awakens a spirit of ambition which manifests itself in physical as well as mental powers, "the perfection of athletic sports being actuated by a desire to still further extend the influence of the several academies in which they are cultivated." Phillips had taken a positive stance on athletics, which compared favorably with Exeter's and Adams', but was lagging behind in some respects: the essential problem was that the school's interest in the success of the football and baseball organizations stopped at the pocketbook.
Pointing out that both associations had fallen into debt and that the gymnastic exhibition had been cancelled for lack of funds, the writer condemned the inefficiency of the present system of solicitation and maintained that for the honor of the school, football, baseball, and all other physical activities should be sponsored by one Athletic Association. Under the new system each student joining the Association would pay an initiation fee of $2., an additional tax of $1. per term. The budget for the year having been established in advance, the funds would then be distributed as follows: Football Association two-fifths, Baseball Association one-third, gymnasium one-fifteenth, running one-fifteenth, reserve two-fifteenths. "Such an arrangement as this would, we think, command the respect of all. And what better time could be selected for founding such an organization than the present, when we are beginning the second century of our school's existence?"(2)
Apparently the general outline of the Mirror's proposal was adopted; in the fall of that year the newly established Phillipian, in addition to complaining about the lack of seats at the campus sports and the fact that the Faculty would not allow spectators to accompany the football team to Quincy, described the first Annual Fall Tournament, held on 5 December under the auspices of the new Athletic Association. The events included a mile run, followed by a football game between the first and second elevens, and concluded with the running high jump and the presentation of prizes. The new governing body was also responsible for establishing the "Winter Tournament," changed to the "Winter Meet" in 1880. The indoor events consisted of exercises on the parallel and horizontal bars, vaulting, club swinging, exhibitions in wrestling and boxing at three weight levels, and then closed with the awarding of prizes. From these modest beginnings there evolved the essential track program, which became the third major sport at Andover, all the others being regarded as minor until the mid-twentieth century. The tradition of the Winter Meet and the hiring of Messrs. Frank Dole and W. F. Burns as boxing and gymnastics instructors assured the continuance of those indoor sports at the school.
The popularity of the fall and spring tournaments grew steadily through the next two years. The program was flexible, being largely dependent upon the number of entrants and their choices of events. In the spring of 1879 it included a hundred-yard dash and a three-mile run, the hammer throw and shotput, a baseball throw, running wide jump (broad jump, now the long jump), and a blindfold wheelbarrow race. By the fall of that year the tournament included five running events from the hundred-yard dash to the mile; a hurdles race, sack race, three-legged race; a standing long jump, standing high jump, running long jump, hop-skip-jump, and shotput. Group competition was encouraged by the inclusion of a tug-of-war event between the various classes.(3) If the professed intent of the Athletic Association was to give up the management of the football team in order to foster more interest in track, the shift in emphasis was successful; for the next ten years, meets were regularly held every fall and spring on an intramural basis. The first interscholastic track meet with Exeter occurred on 12 June 1889; by that time the format consisted of nine events, including a bicycle race, the winner of each event being awarded one point. Andover won by a score of 6 to 3.(4) The third major-sport rivalry between the two schools had become a reality.
Unfortunately, as participation in athletics increased, the problems of its administration became more complex. There was never enough money, it seemed, because too few students subscribed to the Athletic Association, rendering it unable to field and support teams worthy of the name of Phillips Academy. At the advent of the baseball season in 1879, the Phillipian, in a front page editorial, discussed the problem in elaborate detail. After all, the honor of the school was at stake!
As things stood, the problem of the loyal Phillipians was the relationship of the Athletic Association to the school. Did the school-at-large or the Association elect the baseball committee? If the A.A. elected its own board of directors to take matters into their own hands, would the majority of the school support them? The arrangements were too haphazard, and unless more students joined the Association, it would be preferable to return to the old plan of electing a committee of three by the entire school. Why cannot we arouse enough enthusiasm to place a good nine on the field next term with "something besides a bankrupt treasury behind it?" After all, the honor of the school is concerned when Exeter and Harvard Freshmen compete with us for victory.
Apparently the resistance to the Association emanated from two quarters: those who believed that they had been done an injustice because they were being taxed for privileges which they had previously enjoyed free of charge; and others who insisted that the A.A. was extravagant and wasted school funds, particularly when entertaining visiting teams. The editorial took a strong stand in favor of the Association, disagreeing with accusers but suggesting that lavish dinner parties for honorable opponents should be supported by Andover team members and not by the Association. A concluding plea for as many as three hundred and twenty-five men to join the A.A. for $3. a year was made in order that the school honor be sustained.
The appeal to the pride of the school went unheeded if the miserable record of the football team the following fall were any indication of the apathy of the student body. Only three games were played, and Andover lost two of the three---to Adams and Exeter---by substantial margins. In December the Mirror published an article whose specific object was to point out the defects in the five-year history of football at Phillips Academy, "to deplore the attitude of the school in the matter, to praise the faithful workers, and to say a few words which may correct and render impossible the defects and mistakes seen to have existed."(5) After reviewing, season by season, the important games since 1875, the consensus was that the system was a failure, largely attributable to the indifference of the students, measured by the unwillingness of the majority either to contribute or to participate. There followed a fervent plea for every able-bodied male to turn out in the future and to undergo a rigorous training regimen blueprinted by the editors, stressing the practice of drop-kicking and passing. The article closed by challenging the school to undertake the hard work required for success.
Apparently the challenge again went unheeded, for the baseball team managed to play only six games that spring, four of them with nearby local opponents, and one each with Adams and Exeter. Further, there was no track meet scheduled. Obviously, the Athletic Association once more was in serious financial trouble and unable to support a program acceptable to the school. It was duly taken to task by the Mirror in the June edition.
An editorial entitled "General Athletics" traced the brief three-year history of the Athletic Association. Originally, even though its entrance fee and term tax were so high as to exclude many of the poorer boys, a goodly number of students joined and the interest in athletic matters visibly increased. From an auspicious beginning, however, the organization declined, failing to raise sufficient funds to support the fall and spring programs in the year 1879-80. When it had to be bailed out of debt by a general assessment on the student body, the Association and the reasons for its failure became a matter for public discussion.
It was concluded that it had been unsuccessful because of "lack of funds, lack of interest, and lack of proper management." But these were not insurmountable obstacles. To respond to the first, simply join the Association and help fill its treasury, particularly since both entrance fee and term tax had been lowered. To answer the second, do not just join and pay your taxes, but sign up for some sport and do your best in it. The third obstacle could be overcome by limiting the board of officers to one term; interest in the new managers would generate more support for athletics. By making these proper changes, the school could eliminate the problems in three months' time. "Let us all lend a helping hand and make our association what it should be, the best association in one of the best schools of New England. It lies in our power."(6)
The lack of financial support from the student body plus the withering criticism of its policies from the same quarter saw the temporary demise of the Athletic Association in the fall of 1881, not to be restored to respectability until two years later. Notwithstanding its loss, the school program expanded dramatically in the decade of the eighties. Student enthusiasm and persistence focussed the attention of the community on many new activities without sacrificing their fierce pride in the major established sports of football and baseball.
Early in the spring of 1879 there appeared an article on lacrosse, which had been introduced into the Boston area two years earlier.(7) Its obvious advantage over football and baseball was that it was played continuously without delays. It would also attract participants who normally stood around as spectators at football games. By the fall of 1881 a Lacrosse Association was formed and a certain Canadian from Boston, a Mr. McGregor, came out to Andover to give instruction to those interested. Messrs. Bailey, Paradise, and Stuart, of the new Lacrosse Association, were appointed to procure the sticks. "There is a new interest in this game so that dealers have difficulty getting crosses which accounts for the delay in securing ours." Between the fall and spring of 1882, Andover was challenged by the Harvard seconds and the Exeter Lacrosse Club respectively. In May of 1883 the Phillipian reported that the teams had been chosen and that several games had been scheduled, the first one to be with Harvard. On 25 May that game was played in the late afternoon after the last class recitation of the day; the game lasted exactly one hour as determined by previous agreement and Andover lost 2-1. Ironically, however, the debut of lacrosse on the Academy's athletic scene also marked its demise. For a variety of reasons the school was not yet prepared to support another team sport in the spring term. The financial strain on the newly revived Athletic Association was already excessive. It is significant to note, along those lines, that the Andover uniforms for that memorable lacrosse game were borrowed from the Football Association. Furthermore, baseball was very popular that spring: Captain Vinton of the varsity was later to become renowned as a professional pitcher; and the Latin Commons supported two intramural teams ---the Dynamites and the Nitro-Glycerines--- that year, the playoff games between them drawing huge crowds.
The devotees of lacrosse, nevertheless, did not give up the ghost without one last try. In April 1884 a final plea for the value of the Canadian game appeared in the Phillipian: Lacrosse was the obvious spring term alternative for the many who were not able to play baseball.
It puts in the shadow every other sport, including football, in its appeal to the spectator. Combining the speed of a greyhound, the cunning of a fox, the heart of a lion, and the strength of a prize fighter, the game demands all the spirit of manhood. Popular in Canada, it has taken a firm foothold in this country; those who have played it at Andover, for the last two or three years, have enjoyed it and benefited greatly. Probable opponents would be Exeter and Harvard. It is truly the game of the future. Try it!
Another rival for student interest was tennis, which, introduced in 1880, by now had been supported by the students to the extent of building nine courts in the area between the present Old Campus and School Street. Its popularity did not suffer from the presence of the Fem Sems, who, by invitation of the Theologues, could engage in mixed matches. Finally, bicycling had assumed some stature in the system since being included in the Spring Tournaments; in 1887 the cyclists had formed their own club and were now actively seeking outside competition. The second annual race between Andover and Exeter was scheduled at Haverhill for the fall of 1883, but the Exonians did not appear, to the disappointment of the Andoverians. The enthusiasm for cycling was undeniable: how could one ignore the obvious inducement of being able to get off campus so easily and often.
During the eighties Phillips Academy also had a brief romance with a rowing program. Interest in "Boating" was first sparked in 1880 by the Yale Navy's offer to give the school one of their barges in the hope that interest in crew would develop at Andover and that Yale would benefit therefrom by getting more, better-trained oarsmen to matriculate at the senior institution in New Haven. This first overture was apparently ignored, and nothing further about boating appeared in either school publication until January 1886, when a letter extolling the virtues of crew was published in the Phillipian:
Rowing is the most popular sport in the colleges and yet it is entirely neglected here. At St. Paul's the crew has to go two miles to the course. Here the Merrimack is but a little farther. Yale will doubtless help us, but [we must] send many good men into their own boats.
For the next six weeks the feasibility of a rowing program at Andover was argued in print, the disparagers adopting the practical stance that further diversification would weaken the present athletic structure and that crew, in particular, with its expensive equipment, its travel budget, and the impossibility of fitting daily practice into the school schedule would represent a foolhardy venture to embark upon.
Nothing deterred, the enthusiasts, now under the aegis of the Athletic Association, won the battle. The Faculty was prevailed upon to allow the members of the crew to join the Lawrence Canoe Club, paying dues of $10. per man for the first year and $5. thereafter. For $80. the crew received storage for the shells, dressing rooms, and the use of some of the Club's boats. There was a strong boating interest in Lawrence. It was determined that a budget of $500 would be required and a Crew Association was formed to raise the necessary funds. Student leadership in the project focussed on B. S. Coler, an oarsman from Brooklyn, New York, who, through some Yale connections, made the arrangements with their boat club to buy, beg, or borrow the required equipment as inexpensively as possible. Coler, President of the Class of 1888, was acting officially as a member of the Athletic Association.
NEW HAVEN., FEB. 4, '86
Mr. Coler,---Dear Sir:
Mr. Cowles just turned your letter of the 2nd inst. over to me, and I hasten to reply that although we have no four-oared boats to send you, we can send you two good eights (paper shells) with sliders and outriggers, free of any expense to you except freight from New Haven to Andover. We should be glad to make you this present if it would stimulate boating at Andover. The oars (and probably the rowlocks) we could furnish you at a merely nominal sum---say $15 for two sets of oars(16); original cost, $150---and row-locks as cheap as possible. Hoping that you can arouse some enthusiasm,
I am yours truly,
Paul K. Ames,
President Yale Navy
183 North Col.
The two shells from Yale arrived in March, and even though only $250. of the $450 subscribed had been collected, the program was launched. The prospective candidates for the first crew had been working out in the gym all winter on the rowing machines but had had very little practice time on the river before the selections for the varsity were made. Three of the first eight had been stalwarts on the varsity football team the previous fall. For the next two months the would-be oarsmen practiced in the gym four days a week and rowed on the Merrimack Wednesday and Saturday afternoons. In early June there was hope that two races could be arranged---one with Williston Academy and one with Exeter---but neither materialized, and school came to a close without a race and with the crew budget in the black to the extent of $3.98, thanks to the receipts from a well-attended concert given in the Town Hall to support the project and despite the loss of $100. in unpaid pledges.
The second crew in the school's history, under the leadership of Captain Frear, labored assiduously in the gym during the following winter, but the interest in rowing seemed to be flagging. The inability to schedule opponents and the remoteness of the racing site, where students, unless by special permission, were forbidden to go, dampened enthusiasm for the sport. Without the prospect of a challenge, there was far less appeal for the oarsmen themselves. One story persists that "Banty," the Headmaster, surprised his stalwarts one Saturday afternoon drinking beer on the river bank and summarily forbade them to visit the Canoe Club ever again. This inglorious end to early crew at Phillips Academy lacks substantive documentation and was in fact repudiated by a report from the Phillipian of 20 April 1887:
At a meeting of the school last Friday noon the much talked of boating question was put to the school and settled, the students deciding by a considerable majority that they would not support the boating interests. We do not think that the spirit in which Messrs. Perrin, Frear and Lakeman submitted this question to the school can be too highly praised. By thus giving to the students as a body the privilege of settling a question of so much importance to everyone, they thoroughly demonstrated that the interest of the school is paramount in their minds. Such a spirit augurs well for the future of Athletics at Phillips. It shows that the school's welfare is very close to the hearts of all. By such acts of self-sacrifice, and by thorough unity and concentration of energy we will soon place Andover in athletics where she belongs, and where we always hope to see her,---at the very top.
It appeared that Captain Frear and his untested and unhappy crew had retired with dignity and the admiration of the school. Competitive rowing at Andover would not become a reality until the year 1955, part of a larger story of a later time.
Aside from the two noble experiments which failed, other subtle changes were taking place in an expanding variety of offerings to the students, some of which would become distinctive features of the future interscholastic programs. In the fall of 1882 fourteen students formed a Hare and Hound Club, which met regularly twice a week, the members running an average distance of six to eight miles per meeting.(8) They were Andover's first cross-country team. In the winter exhibition, which had now become the socio-athletic affair of the term, fencing was introduced for the first time.(9) Like boxing, wrestling, and gymnastics, whose popularity grew with increasing exposure at exhibitions, it, too, would become an integral part of the interscholastic competitive program of the future. As the gymnasium became increasingly the hub of extracurricular activity, except for coasting and skating in decent outdoor weather, the scope of the exhibition increased to include as many events as possible, even an indoor tug-of-war. Added attractions were Abbot spectators, who usually attended en masse, and the musical accompaniment of the Phillips band. The enlarged scope of the Winter Tournament was illustrated in the program of events for Saturday, 7 January 1885:
By two o'clock the room was filled, except the gallery, which was reserved for the young ladies of Abbot Academy, who came in shortly after the tournament opened. Promptly at half past two the Phillips Orchestra, under the leadership of Mr. Clifford, opened the entertainment by choice selections, which were well encored by the appreciative audience.
There then followed a series of boxing and wrestling bouts in all weight categories. After an intermission the gymnastic program included the rings, Indian club swinging, the hitch and kick (pommel horse or side horse), the horizontal bar, the parallel bars, and tumbling. The final event was the tug-of-war between P. A. 1886 and P. A. 1888, won by the former. The program closed with the presentation of medals to the winners, while the orchestra "discovered sweet music."(10)
Unfortunately, as the traffic in the gym became much heavier to include the pre-season trainers as well as the in-season performers, the inadequacies of the building became more visible; the pressure of numbers increased when the conditions for coasting or skating were bad. The winter of 1882 was one of those; there was very little snow for coasting, and the dam holding back the water in the meadow had broken, making it impossible to create a skating rink.(11) The school authorities had obliged earlier student demands by hiring an instructor, Mr. Dole, in the gym at a cost of $200., one-half of which was to be paid by the school, the other half by an assessment of $.50 on each student. The school had also provided more lockers the year before, but the "Cads" remained unsatisfied. Between the opening of school in 1882 and the beginning of the winter term in January 1883, the Phillipian published three highly critical articles on the lack of bathing facilities in the gym:
We are all acquainted with the charges lately made in the gym, but everyone knows how disagreeable it is, to be obliged to dress, after exercising, without at least a sponge bath. Now we are absolutely without bathing facilities at the gym.
Indeed, the "condition of the gym" question for the next twenty years was to be a major bone of contention between faculty and students; the school continued to provide professional instructors in 1884 and 1885, but it refused to improve the plumbing by providing toilets and showers. "At last we have a gym instructor, and the possibility of bathrooms in the immediate future." Student protest assumed a much harsher tone when it was learned that Exeter was planning to spend fifty thousand dollars to build a new gymnasium. "Where are the gym bathrooms promised for this year?" The bathing problem was temporarily resolved through the action taken by the Athletic Association in the fall of 1887; they raised $170. to put in shower baths. Nevertheless, the hue and cry for a completely new facility would not be put down: "Repairs have been made on the school building and commons but, alas, nothing for the dirty, rickety gym."(12) "The conditions there are a disgrace. The walls are chipping and the apparatus is unsafe. It is improperly heated, and Track and Gymnastics are restricted by lack of a running track and an adequate gymnasium. Please, Faculty, do something." The continued failure to elicit more tangible support from the Trustees and the Administration led the Editors of the Phillipian to take the matter in hand. In January 1889 a strong editorial outlined a plan to procure funds for a badly needed building adequate to meet the growing physical and recreational needs of the students. A general sollicitation of money from among all those interested in Phillips Academy---students, faculty, alumni, and Trustees---would be undertaken by the Phillipian Board with Trustee approval and student help. The fund drive would continue until such time as there was sufficient money to build the new gym. Even though in the first twenty-five months there was raised a sum of only $1500., the plan eventually led to the construction of the Borden Gymnasium in 1902. It had been a long hard struggle!
Easily, the fastest growing sport of the decade was tennis. Interest in the game first appeared in the fall of 1880 with the formation of a Lower Tennis Club under the sponsorship of four students. True to their promise, the club held an intraschool tournament in the spring of 1882, which was enthusiastically hailed by the Phillipian as an indication of its support of an expanded sports curriculum:
The Tennis Tournament comes too late for us to mention. It is a comparatively new departure, but it is a good one, and all lovers of field sport should hail it with cordiality.
For at this period in educational progress, with advance in every branch of knowledge, the Baseball bat, the Lacrosse stick and the Tennis racquet lie side by side with the Greek, Latin and scientific text-books. On the walls of every educational institution there is now engraved beside the traditional "Scire est Regire" in clearer letters "Sano Mens in Corpore Sano."
Two years later the Tennis Association numbered eighty-five students---more than a third of the undergraduate population---and there existed on campus twelve tennis clubs with a combined membership of seventy active participants.(13) The growing popularity of tennis in the ten years since it had first been introduced into the Boston area was further attested by a comparable sudden rush of interest in the game on the rival campus in New Hampshire. It was inevitable that the first Andover-Exeter Tournament should then take place at Exeter in the fall of 1884. The Andover contestants were picked as the best players to emerge after a series of inter-school elimination tournaments conducted earlier in the term. Andover won the singles but lost the doubles and the match ended in a draw, although the Phillipian claimed a win for Andover in the belief that a faulty decision had been made about a deuce set in the doubles. Despite this somewhat sour overtone to the first contest, the third oldest athletic rivalry between the two schools had been born. With the exception of the year 1889, the Andover-Exeter tennis matches have continued, uninterrupted, ever since.
In the face of these newly acquired athletic interests, temporary or permanent, and in the light of continuing financial problems which Athletic Associations had to contend with to support all these activities, some solution had to be found if the program was to be upheld in the true Andover tradition. The resolution of the problem was achieved through a variety of devices to extract money from all available sources in a less painful way. The school and the students, as already noted, split the cost of the general-athletics teacher. To support the janitor in the gym, the Athletic Association charged the students $.50 annual dues to use the building and a fee of $1. per term for membership in the Association, which entitled the individual to free admission to the athletic contests. Associations which had a separate and special affiliation charged their members additional fees. All contestants in tournaments and performers in exhibitions paid separate entry fees for the privilege of competing or performing. The high point in the series of subtle extortions had a reverse twist and resulted from a minor scandal. It appeared that in November 1885 the Athletic Association was in debt once again, this time to the tune of two to three hundred dollars. The Phillipian implied that there had been some misappropriation of funds by the officers, that the situation was a blot on the honor of the school, and that those responsible should consult with the Faculty to determine the easiest way to discharge the obligation. The following January the Association put forth its annual plea for dues and membership fees. For whatever reason, within a week's time the incumbent Athletic Association was disbanded, and a new one was organized with different student management. Simultaneously with the announcement of the new board, there were published the football accounts for the years 1884 and 1885 ; both were in the black. More spectacularly, at a school meeting in June of that year the report of F. R. Shepherd, the Baseball treasurer, was published; it showed a credit balance of over $200.
Temporarily at least a solution to the financial woes of the athletic program had been found. The Baseball Association had charged admission to its games that spring. "We take the opportunity of complimenting those persons who originated the idea of an admission fee to our baseball games this spring and who carried it into effect." The plan had two strong features: the first would force students who wanted to see the games to join the Association, thereby increasing its membership; the second, more obvious advantage was to collect more money by charging "outsiders," including the Fem Sems, who heretofore had attended the various contests free of charge.
The policy of charging admission to certain games, established in the 1880's, has been followed consistently, but in varying degrees, up to the present time. Except for students and faculty of both institutions, for example, those attending the Andover-Exeter football game every fall must purchase tickets, either in advance or at the gate. At times, in the ensuing years since the tradition was established, the additional annual income from gate receipts became a significant budgetary item for the athletic department. The effect of the new device on the interscholastic aspect of athletics at Andover was immediately visible in the late 1880's. Prior to 1885 the school football team had averaged four outside games a year with opponents within easy traveling distance; the baseball team had averaged five. Between September of 1886 and June of 1890, the baseball team played seventy-eight outside opponents, an average of just under ten games per spring, and the football team had battled forty-four outside opponents, an average of slightly under nine games per fall. These game schedules today would be regarded as excessively heavy. But the proud Andoverians of that earlier time had been caught up in a dizzying craze of competition.
We have made our reputation. It is now incumbent upon us to take to it. Phillips has made a record of which she may well be proud.(14)