Football Days eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 400 pages of information about Football Days.

[Illustration:  CLOSE TO A THRILLER

Erwin of Pennsylvania Scoring Against Cornell.]

In the old days one official used to handle the entire game.  A man would even officiate in a game where his own college was a contestant.  This was true in the case of Walter Camp, Tracy Harris, and other heroes of the past.  Later the number of officials was increased.  Such a list records Wyllys Terry, Alex Moffat, Pa Corbin, Ray Tompkins, S. V. Coffin, Appleton and other men who protected the game in the early stages.

Within my recollection, for many years the two most prominent, as well as most efficient officials, whose names were always coupled, were McClung, Referee, and Dashiell, Umpire.  No two better officials ever worked together and there is as much necessity for team work in officiating as there is in playing.  Both graduated from Lehigh, and the prominent position that they took in football was a source of great satisfaction to their university.

Officials come and go.  These men have had their day, but no two ever contributed better work.  The game of Football was safe in their hands.

Paul Dashiell and Walter Camp are the only two survivors of the original Rules Committee.

Dashiell’s Reminiscences

“As an official, the first big game I umpired was in 1894 between Yale and Princeton, following this with nine consecutive years of umpiring the match,” writes Dashiell.  “After Harvard and Yale resumed relations, I umpired their games for six years running.  I officiated in practically all the Harvard-Penn’ games and Penn’-Cornell games during those years, as well as many of the minor games, having had practically every Saturday taken each fall during those twelve years, so I saw about all the football there was.  When I look back on those years and what they taught me I feel that I’d not be without them for the world.  They showed so much human nature, so many hundreds of plucky things, mingled with a lot of mean ones; such a show of manhood under pressure.  I learned to know so many wonderful chaps and some of my most valued friendships were formed at those times.  I liked the responsibility, too; although I knew that from one game to another I was walking on ice so thin that one bad mistake, however unintended, would break it.

“The rules were so incomplete that common sense was needed and, frequently, interpretation was simply by mutual consent.  Bitterness of feeling between the big colleges made my duties all the harder.  But it was an untold satisfaction when I could feel that I had done well, and as I said, the responsibility had its fascination and, in the main, was a great satisfaction.

“And then came the inevitable, a foul seen only by me, which called for an immediate penalty.  This led to scathing criticism and accusations of unfairness by many that did not understand the incident, altogether leaving a sting that will go down with me to my grave in spite of my happy recollections of the game.  I had always taken a great pride in the job, and in what the confidence of the big universities from one year to another meant.  I knew a little better than anybody else how conscientiously I had tried to be fair and to use sense and judgment, and the end of it all hurt a lot.

Project Gutenberg
Football Days from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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