The First Alabama-Auburn Game! The Great Rivalry is Born, 1893

January 11, 1893, Monday – Birmingham Weekly


Auburn and Tuskaloosa to Meet in the Arena


On the Birthday of the Great and Good George Washington

Auburn, Jan. 6.— (Special Correspondence.) —The great foot ball match to be played between Auburn and Tuskaloosa, on February 22, is all the talk now in athletic circles here. Enthusiasm runs high and there is a fixed determination to down the university boys. The strength of the “varsity” eleven is not underrated, but they will certainly have a lively tilt for the wreath of laurel.

The combatants are worthy foes—Greek meets Greek. Worthy sons of Alabama meet other worthy sons to re-enact the days of the Olympic Games of Greece, or when the young Roman, stripped and oiled, heaved the discus in rivalry with his fellows.

So far the Tuskaloosa team is an unknown quantity in the foot ball arena. This is their first year, but report comes of excellent practice games and the Auburn boys are bracing for a heavy fight. Forewarned, forearmed.

Last year the Auburn team won a brilliant battle from the University of Georgia team in Atlanta. The scene was inspiring. All Georgia, as it were, had its heart set on the university. The affair became one of the leading society events. The old alumni, gray headed statesmen, mature matrons and lovely girls, all came in multitudes. A more brilliant assemblage has never witnessed an athletic contest in the south. The score stood 10 to 0 in favor of Auburn, and it goes without saying the Auburn boys enjoyed their spoils.

This year the Auburn team has played three games, losing two. As to these two defeats, it may be said, that it was absolutely impossible to do anything with the North Carolina team. They are descendants of Goliath. There is not a team in the south that they will not bowl down like ten pins. Indeed they have done it, and are the champions of the south. The game with Trinity was brilliant while Auburn defeated the “Techs” with a much heavier score (26 to 0) than did Vanderbilt. So Birmingham will see a lively tussle on the 22d of February.

All New York goes out on Thanksgiving day to see Princeton and Yale pursue the flying sphere across the checkered field. All Birmingham will go to see Auburn and Tuskaloosa on the anniversary of great and good George Washington’s birthday. The immortal hero, indeed, may be forgotten in the exhilarating, contagious fun of the generous contest between the brawn and muscle of the sister institutions.

As a matter of fact, the Magic City will witness a contest that for pluck and dash, excitement, rare and glorious pleasure, is altogether unequalled by aught that has yet come within her borders.

A few of her citizens have already seen something this fall of foot ball; but beyond doubt, the impending contest will eclipse all previous exhibitions. Tuskaloosa boys will be there. Auburn boys will surely be there; and the encircling hills of old Jefferson will ring with such shouts as have never been heard before.

It is sincerely to be hoped that the public spirited citizens of Birmingham, (the progressive spirits, indeed, of our commonwealth) will rally to the patronage of this, the first effort at intercollegiate foot ball in the state.

The game is generally unknown. But once understood it will come to stay. It is a manly game, and recommends itself to every lover of outdoor sports.

Nothing is better for the physical development of the boy than the training preparatory for a contest. Regular diet, according to the most scientific principles of physiology; regular hours; total abstinence from all tobacco, and from all alcoholic beverages—these are only a few of the good points that commend the game from the standpoint of morals and health.

Then, the game itself is a splendid mental discipline. A fool cannot play successful football. Mere fat does not count. Skill, coolness, pluck, endurance, and all those qualities that are necessary for the real battle of life come into play on the foot ball ground.

Let us have foot ball. Away with the fossiliferous idea that men must stalk about in a staid, solemn, stilted, “Sir Oracle” fashion in order to play at being learned and wise. A sound mind in a sound body is the old reliable maxim, and in these days of increasing competition the sounder one’s body the more probable one’s success. From time immemorial the foot ball field has been the great nursery of health and vigor in the English public schools. Wellington is said to have learned to fight Waterloo on the ball fields of Eton.

And as a matter of fun, foot ball is “par excellence.” It can’t be beat. All Birmingham, of course, knows base ball. Base ball is child’s play to foot ball. Instead of one or two men batting and running, imagine twenty-two stout, knotted frames struggling, swaying, pushing, pulling at one great leather ball with all the vim and fury of twenty-two tigers. The excitement is hair-raising, nerve-thrilling, side-splitting—in a word, magnificent.

On with foot ball! Let us all be there, and give the great sport such a reception as will insure its permanent establishment in our state.

From “The Lost Century of American

[Spelling of “Tuskaloosa” is from the original publication.]


“Football of Today” 119 Years Ago, Nov. 7, 1892

November 7, 1892, MondayThe Herald: Syracuse, New York


Development of the Game Into a Strategic Battle


Mind of More Account Than Matter, but Both Play Their Part in Modern Football

If the weather is at all pleasant next Wednesday it is quite probable that a large majority of the 5,000 people who have been sent invitations will go down to Star park to witness the game of foot ball between the Syracuse Athletic Association and the Syracuse University teams.

Although foot ball as it is played to-day is after a careful comparison with other out door sports conceded to be the brainiest and manliest of them all comparatively few people have been able to master the mysteries of the game for the simple reason that if one is unfamiliar with the rules and reasons of play and the scientific variations which a crafty captain will signal to his team under varying conditions, it all looks like a shoving match between eleven men with an occasional run or kick to relieve the monotony.

But when once the spectator is able to put himself mentally in the place of the captain and reason why this or that play is feasible, whether one man or another should at such a time choose to hurl himself through the opposing eleven or try to run around them, the game becomes as interesting as a strategic battle between two armies. It becomes not an individual “scrapping” match between eleven men to advance the ball to one goal or the other, but a battle of brains between two captains, backed by the brawn and instant obedience of the team as a whole.

There was a day when individual playing was much thought of. Now-a-days team work is what wins, unless the disparity in weight is so great as to utterly demolish an opposing line.

The game of to-day as it is played in Syracuse is by no means the game that was played last year or the year before. Fastidious folk who were shocked by accounts of fistic encounters that went by the name of foot ball games will see nothing of the sort in the games that are played at Star park this season.

So far there has not been a single “slugging” match and games are conducted in scientific and gentlemanly fashion.

To be sure, the game is rough, but then it must be remembered that the players are all in the finest muscular trim by long and severe training and by the most exemplary habits of living, and that they are protected from injury by heavily padded jackets and pants, and by nose and shin guards and rubber bands.

From “The Lost Century of American Football

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.

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