Author's note: This section is far from complete and much work is still to be done here.
Women's participation in sports and exercise was reported in the early years of the college's history. As early as 1905 a course in physical culture provided systematic training for the students. The aim was to develop the body as a basis for health and beauty.
A half hour of supervised play was scheduled each weekday evening for the men and women to receive some exercise.
The 1911 Crescent mentioned that the college encouraged the young ladies to take long walks and this they did into the free and open country south of the campus. An early chapter reported that the college offered a class in physical culture that taught such things as breath control, animation and purity of voice. Also gymnastics classes gave exercises for walking, running, flexing of joints, muscular development and grace and ease of movement.(1)
In 1901 a girls' basketball team was organized but no schedule nor results could be found.
Earlier in the book it was reported that: "No other institution can boast of such aggressive and wide-awake girls as Concordia College. They do not permit themselves to be outclassed by the boys in any school activity. They realize the importance of athletic training and have raised funds by candy sales on Saturday evenings for the purpose of getting gym mats."(2)
It was thought that gymnastics for girls was not necessarily entirely proper. "Our young maidens prize their physical condition far more than prudish refinement."(3)
In 1911 the girls fielded a basketball team for the first time. The only scores recorded were a double header played against Mayville Normal and Moorhead Normal. Mayville defeated Concordia 25 - 24. They also lost the second game but no score was reported.
Under the supervision of Miss Thompson, the physical culture teacher, the girls were taking cross country walks daily in 1912.
An article in the April 1920 Crescent commented that the various games usually included in the athletic program of schools provided both physical exercise and recreation. "They are of such a nature that they will appeal to young women as well as to young men. A game like football is, of course, too violent to be played by ladies, but volleyball, basketball and tennis are ideal sports for everybody."(4)
Through the enthusiasm of the girls and the efforts of Miss Hilda Loverud, girls' athletics were organized in the fall of 1920. No games were scheduled with other teams; the interest was centered on class games in basketball.
The following year, 1921, games were scheduled with the A.C. and Y.W.C.A. teams. The first game to be played was with the N.D.A.C. and resulted in a victory for the Concordia girls by a score of 27-19. The return game was played a week later and this time the A.C. won by a score of 34 - 23. The girls' basketball was new to the student body and the gym was packed with loyal Concordians. The cheering took on an aspect of a regular varsity contest. Letters were awarded to four players.
In the fall of 1922 Mrs. N.J. G. Wickey became the coach of girls' athletics. With a few exceptions the basketball enthusiasts of the preceding year turned out and among them was promising material from the freshmen class. The interclass games created much interest and brought out good material for the varsity team.
Only two games were played by the varsity -- both being played with the A.C. The first game was played on the A.C. floor and the return game on the home floor.
There was a great deal of enthusiasm for girls' athletics and participation in tennis was one of the popular sports. The arrangements for a new girls' gymnasium was a big incentive for promoting girls' athletics.
In the fall of 1925-1926 field hockey was introduced into the curriculum of the Girls' Physical Education Department. In the way of strenuous running, hitting and guarding the freshman class of that year came to the front, being hailed the winners at the close of the hockey season in November. Field hockey, as well as the other sports at Concordia, had a department in the Women's Athletic Association. At the head of this department was an officer who set practice periods, schedules, games, kept score and recorded the points made by the players on each team. One hundred points was given to any college girl chosen for the field hockey team and fifty points were awarded to the same girl if, after the tournament, she was chosen to the honorary position of representing her team on the varsity field hockey team. The sport grew in popularity and it had a definite place among the curricula of women's athletics at Concordia.
Soccer was introduced as a sport at Concordia in the fall of 1927. This outdoor activity was limited to the physical education classes under the able direction of Miss Hagen. Due to cold weather and snow only one real game was played, the sophomores defeating the freshmen by a score of 2 - 0. In spite of the wet feet, sprained ankles, bumped heads and bruised shins, the girls enjoyed these football scrimmages. Since this lively introduction, it was encouraged because it was one of the two outdoor sports which the girls of the college could engage in.
The soccer players are proud of and enthusiastic over the game for ultimate as well as immediate reasons, in that it calls for physical and mental effort -- hence real development along the path of lively and worthy womanhood.(5)
Agitation during the year for an athletic association for college women culminated in the establishment of such an organization. Its purpose was to establish a standard for merits of award. Honor points were given for the amount of work each member accomplished. A definite number of honor points were set, which, when attained, would entitle the holder to a letter.(6)
A Women's Athletic Association was organized at Concordia in 1926 with a large and active membership. The objective was to become a member of the National Women's Athletic Association which was accomplished in the school year 1931-1932. The charter members of the organization were required to earn 125 points in physical education. In order to become a member each person must have earned an equal number of points and then add 25 to this sum after being admitted to remain in the organization. Points were won by hiking, varsity basketball, class basketball, skating, perfect attendance in education classes and in various other sports. Each sport had its manager who kept a tabulated account of all points earned in that particular department by each girl. For anyone earning 300 points there was a local W.A.A. pin and for 500 points, the Concordia W.A.A. monogram.(7)
The 1929 Scout reported that although there are no active girls' varsity teams in any sport at Concordia, there is a real competitive interest in the class tournament held every school year. It was deemed an honor to be chosen on such a team. The girls of each class participating in the sport elect a captain and choose a varsity man to coach them in preparation for the class tournament. Besides these teams, there are also those representing the different girls' societies.(8)
Other sports in the girls' athletic curriculum were field hockey and soccer. Each fall, tryouts were held in the physical education classes and the teams were chosen from these participants by the physical education director. In the spring kittenball and tennis made up the sports program.
The first opportunity for the women of Concordia to obtain instruction in swimming was in 1931-1932, under the supervision of Mrs. A. Swiggum who was affiliated with the women's physical education department at North Dakota State College of Fargo. The course met once a week for ten weeks. As the membership was limited to senior women, only fourteen students enrolled. The lessons consisted of instruction in the fundamentals of swimming.
In 1932 a women's interclass volleyball tournament was held.
1. Crescent, November 1911.
2. Crescent, November 1911.
3. Crescent, November 1911.
4. Crescent, April 1920.
5. 1929 Scout, p. 207.
6. Concordian, April 22, 1927.
7. Scout, June 1929, p. 14.
8. Scout, June 1929, p. 21.
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