Sports on Sunday a Sin in 1874 — Oops, We Changed Our Mind!

October 23, 1874, Friday – The Bulletin, Cairo, Illinois

The weather permitting there will be another game of base ball played in the Fifth ward on next Sunday; and also a game of foot ball. The whole to be concluded by a rousing fight. These kind of amusements are becoming very fashionable; and yet our good Christian people do nothing to prevent them. They ought to pray for a change. This is not, we are sure, asking too much of them. We do not wish to trouble them, but really this matter ought to be attended to, and it seems to us they are the people to attend to it.

October 24, 1874, Saturday – The Bulletin, Cairo, Illinois

It seems that we have been misunderstood. Several sinners have called upon us and remarked that base ball is not a sin and that foot ball is a virtue; that therefore it is not a sin to play these games on Sunday. This we admit. In our belief Sunday is a day of recreation, and if recreation can be had at base ball or foot ball or any other kind of ball, we have no objections to urge. We do however maintain that pugilistic encounters should not be put down upon the list of recreations.

Several Christians also called upon us to say that they had prayed for the reformation of base ball men, but to little effect. They seem to be of the opinion that neither prayer nor salt will save these men; that they are all on the highway to the bad place, and like the journey. Our Christian friends, however, do not intend to weary of well doing and will go on praying.

From ebook: “The First Decade of College Football: 300 Published Reports of American Football from 1869 to 1879


Football 159 Years Ago Today

October 18, 1852, Monday – The New-York Times


In almost every University in America there is some contest to decide the strength and agility of the Freshman and Sophomore classes. In Yale, it is the Foot-ball Game.

On Wednesday, 13th inst., at 4 o’clock, P.M., the rival classes met for the purpose of contesting five games. Each class numbers 114 youths; and this year, their apparent strength was so nearly equal, that it was generally conceded that if the Sophomores conquered, as is usually the result, it would be through artifice.

The Freshmen gave the first kick, and then a general rush was made for the ball, around which they formed a dense crowd for 15 minutes, each class striving to their utmost ability without gaining a single rod. At this crisis the ball was kicked from the crowd, over the side bounds, where any one who could get it has the right to one kick. A Sophomore obtained this right, but, not being expert himself, he communicated the ball to the leader of his class, a powerful fellow, who ran several rods with it, when he was overtaken by a more athletic Freshman, but succeeded in throwing the ball nearly over the goal. One or two more kicks, and the umpires decided that the Sophomores had won the first game.

After contesting the second game for nearly an hour, the umpires finally decided that one of the Freshmen, having caught the ball, was entitled to a kick at it. This the Sophomores were unwilling to allow, but claimed a victory, and challenged the Freshmen to commence the third game. The Freshmen determined to abide by the decision of the umpires, and refused to commence the third game until their second was fairly (as they claimed) ended.

It is but justice to the Sophomores to say that one of the umpires decided the second game in their favor. Darkness here ended the fierce conflict.

The Freshmen have since challenged their rivals to play the remaining four games. But the Sophomores are determined not to play again unless the Freshmen will commence at the third. Here the matter will probably rest, as neither party is disposed to compromise.

Hundreds of spectators witnessed this trial of strength, in which the combatants manifested as much interest and invincible courage as was ever exercised upon the plains of Mexico by the American soldiers; and it is also worthy of note that in this contest also, one brave hero fainted, and was borne bleeding from the field.

From: “The Lost Century of American Football

Football Artist Frederic Remington born 150 years ago today

Frederic Remington football art, Harper's Weekly cover, 1887

Some of the greatest football art of the 19th century was created by Frederic Remington, born October 4, 1861, 150 years ago today. Remington was Walter Camp’s teammate at Yale. For more of his images:

125 Years Ago from the Father of American Football

October, 1886 – Outing Magazine

By Walter C. Camp

Division of labor has been so thoroughly and successfully carried out on the football field that a player nowadays must train for a particular position as much as he would on a ball nine. There is, however, the same call for a general preparation which is met with in all athletic contests.

During the summer it is well to take a few preliminary steps toward the more active work of the real football season. Half-backs and backs ought to practice kicking some daily throughout the summer, while rushers need only take any kind of exercise which shall improve their wind.

With the beginning of August men who have been smoking during the summer should begin to forego some of their pleasure. Let this be done gradually, so that by September the man is fit to go without the weed altogether. With September the real work commences.

The first day or two will prove hard—particularly so in case of the heat holding on late. When this happens it is advisable to begin playing as late in the afternoon as possible and take extra care to have repeated intermissions. As soon as a cool day comes a regular game should be played of two three-quarters, and this will make every man feel the need of training.

If a man has never played the game before he should certainly read the rules and spend a few days in watching the men, so that he shall have a fair idea of the meaning of the terms.

The few cardinal points to be noted are that the ball must not be batted with the hand or thrown forward; that if it has been last touched by one of your own side behind you, you are off side and cannot touch it; that you cannot tackle an opponent unless he has the ball, and that if you are fairly held with the ball you must say, “Down.” You can “heel” a ball caught on the fly from a kick, or throw forward, or bat, by an opponent, or from a “punt out” by one of your own side.

Remembering these facts will keep you busy the first few days. Every player should begin his course in the rusher line. It is there that he will learn most quickly what to do, and, particularly, what not to do. For the first few days you will go home utterly worn out and discouraged, and yet before ten days have passed you will be able to stand fifteen or twenty minutes’ rushing with comparative ease. When this point is reached it is time to decide for what position you are best fitted.

First 444 words of 7,211 word article.
Entire article: “The Lost Century of American Football
Ebook: “11 Classic Football Articles by Walter Camp