THE HATE OF A RIVAL
The day following was one of intense, almost complicated routine.
There were books and supplies to be drawn for the new academic year. There were uniforms and other articles of apparel to be drawn. The sections were detailed and section marchers to be appointed. There were details of military organization to be announced. Some of the young men had to go up for physical examination, even if only of the eyes.
At the afternoon recreation hour Hepson led the big football squad out to the field. Hundreds of midshsipmen went there to see how the Navy would show up in the vitally important tests. At the outset Hepson was everywhere, like a buzzing, excitable wasp. Nor did he prove to be minus a sting at times.
“I think, sir,” suggested Hepson, going over to Lieutenant-Commander Havens, the head coach, “that it would be well for us to know something about the running speed of every candidate.”
“Very good, Mr. Hepson; try out any man that you’re curious about,” replied the officer.
“Darrin, Dalzell, Page, Farley, White, Bryant,” called the captain of the Navy team. “Each of you pick up a ball. Line up at this goal-line, Joyce, will you take a stop-watch and go over to the other goal-line? Adams, go along and assist Joyce. I want a record of the time it takes each man to cover the distance, running as fast as he can with the ball.”
The men designated took their places.
“I’ll run you first, Darrin,” announced the captain. “Go like a streak, if you can. If you fall down it counts zero. Start when I say ‘go.’ Are you ready?”
At the word Dave sped away like a shot, Hepson giving a hand signal as he uttered the starting word, that the time-keeper at the other end might know when to release the watch. Dave’s time was noted. Then Dan took a try, covering the distance in only two fifths of a second more time than Darrin had required. Farley was a second and three fifths behind Darrin’s time; Page, a full two seconds behind. White and Bryant then ran, but only succeeded in about tying Page’s work.
Then six more men were called to the line and tried out. After that a third squad. By this time Midshipman Hepson had his mind about made up as to the relative speeds of some of the most likely men for the final Navy team.
“Get out for some kicks, now!” called Hepson.
“When are you going to play football?” growled one man.
Midshipman Hepson turned on him like a flash.
“Jetson, there’s a substitute captain in the squad, but you’re not the man. Neither are you one of the coaches.”
“Oh, you make me—” began Jetson, but Midshipman Hepson cut him short with:
“If you can’t keep silence when you’ve nothing to say, your absence from the field will be considered a favor to the whole squad.”