“Usually, yes,” answered Remsen. “Of course, there are boys, and men too, for that matter, who are incapable of occupying their minds with two distinct interests. That kind should leave athletics alone. And there are others who are naturally—I guess I mean-unnaturally—stupid, and who, should they attempt to sandwich football or baseball into their school life, would simply make a mess of both study and recreation. But they need not enter into the question of the harm or benefit of athletics, since at every well-conducted school or college those boys are not allowed to take up with athletics. Yes, generally speaking, the boy who comes to school to study can afford to play football, train for football, and think football, because instead of interfering with his studies it really helps him with them. It makes him healthy, strong, wide-awake, self-reliant, and clearheaded. Some time I shall be glad to show you a whole stack of careful statistics which prove that football men, at least, rather than being backward with studies, are nearly always above the average in class standing. March, you’re a hard-worked football enthusiast, and I understand that you’re keeping well up with your lessons. Do you have trouble to attend to both? Do you have to skimp your studies? I know you give full attention to the pigskin.”
“I’m hard put some days to find time for everything,” answered Joel, “but I always manage to make it somehow, and I have all the sleep I want or need. Perhaps if I gave up football I might get higher marks in recitations, but I’d not feel so well, and it’s possible that I’d only get lower marks. I agree with you, Mr. Remsen, that athletics, or at least football, is far more likely to benefit a chap than to hurt him, because a fellow can’t study well unless he is in good health and spirits.”
“Are you convinced, Digbee?” asked Remsen. Digbee shook his head smilingly.
“I don’t believe I am, quite. But you know more about such things than I do. In fact, it’s cheeky for me to argue about them. Why, I’ve never played anything but tennis, and never did even that well.”
“You know the ground you argue from, and because I have overwhelmed you with talk it does not necessarily follow that I am right,” responded his host courteously. “But enough of such dull themes. There’s West most asleep.—March, have you heard from your mother lately?”
“Yes, I received a letter from her yesterday morning. She writes that she’s glad the relationship is settled finally; says she’s certain that any kin of the Maine Remsens is a person of good, strong moral character.” When the laugh had subsided, Remsen turned to West.
“Have you ever heard of Tommy Collingwood?”
“Wasn’t he baseball captain a good many years ago?”