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

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