"Concordia Sports - The First One Hundred Years"Next Section
by Vernon Finn Grinaker
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Chapter 1 - In the Beginning

Brief History of the College  | Developing the Total Person  | Student Participation in a Variety of Activities  |

Students Participate in a Variety of Activities

In the early years of the college, activity other than the usual sports of baseball and basketball was engaged in by the students. One half hour of supervised play was scheduled each evening except Sunday and extra play was permitted on Saturdays. During play hours, the students played simple games such as London Bridge and Pig in the Parlor and ended the hour with a grand march with the boys escorting their partner to the Ladies' Hall. These play hours were first held in Commercial Hall (now part of the cafeteria), in the Old Main gymnasium and then in the new gymnasium. When college students outnumbered the teen-age academy students, the play hour was discontinued.

Play hours were dropped when Hans Aaker replaced I. F. Grose as principal in 1893. He thought play hours were unbecoming of a Christian institution. The faculty reinstated play time as they thought it kept the students from going places where they might meet undesirable companions.

Working out with Indian clubs was quite popular in the early 1900's. Usually the participants stood in formation and performed exercises with their clubs in time to music or to a cadence. This activity was more popular with the women than with the men.

The Crescent in 1911 reported that Miss Bertina Thompson has been encouraging the young ladies to take long walks. She divided them into two classes and trudges them into the free and open country south from the campus. Nothing can be of greater benefit to a young woman who spends most of her time indoors than to go out and enjoy the fresh invigorating air.(7)

The Concordia Banner reported that the students have not spent their time in sports so common in many schools but have been industrious and faithful in the pursuit of their studies and they as well as their parents and friends have the assurance and satisfaction that their time and money have been profitably spent at the college.(8)

Student-initiated activities troubled college officials. They wanted to encourage physical activities because they believed it promoted health and welfare. College officials worried when the baseball club was organized in 1903 that some students would neglect their studies. Consequently baseball was placed under faculty control and students whose averages fell below 75 percent (later 85 percent) were banned from participation.(9)

An article appeared in the Crescent in 1913 that cast a negative feeling on the idea that sports develop school spirit:

Rah rah whoorah, Hoop di chichachau zingaboom er ah! ! ! ! Nobody needs to be told what such vociferations indicate. On every college campus in this great country of ours, whenever there are any contest games being played these are much in evidence. They betoken a hearty feeling of sympathy and confidence in the participants and spur them on to redoubled efforts. They unite the student body in one common feeling and expression of support to their representatives.

Those contemplating attending some school often decide for or against this or that institution according as it excels or is weak in this respect. Outsiders look to the school for spirit and not finding these popular outbursts imagine that there is a decided lack of that quality. We however would look deeper into the thing than this and inquire whether this is the desired college spirit or not.

It is the experience of everyone, who has had with college athletics to do, that previous to these contests it is necessary to hold a meeting somewhat resembling an oldtime revival, to work up enthusiasm.

It certainly is not our intention to cast water on, or dampen in any way, the feeling of loyalty and support which the students think it is their duty to extend to their representatives; but we would distinguish between those who earnestly desire to see the school prosper in every channel of activity and those whose only individualistic accomplishment is to ride the popular band wagon. The latter are not the kind who have established reputations for the schools they have been inconsiderate enough to attend. Princeton, Harvard and the other great universities never became famous through the agency of these persons who so splendidly exemplify college spirit. It is the former we look to for solid support in every line of endeavor. They are the ones who assiduously devote themselves to the ofttimes irksome routine work of the school, who labor faithfully and unnoticed, carefully assimilating the heavy facts to be gotten from the text books; who sacrifice time, pleasure and energy to keep the standard of scholarship up. This is the spirit that builds up the school and gives it that prominence and character which it should have.(10)

In these early years the college did encourage athletic activities despite the lack of facilities and finances and from this early beginning the groundwork was laid for a century of success in both the men's and women's programs.

Chapter 1

1. Concordia College Record, June 1919.


3. Crescent, December 1910.

4. Crescent, February 1913.

5. Concordia Banner, June 1898.

6. Concordia Banner, July 1901.

7. Crescent, November 1911.

8. Concordia Banner, December 1906.

9. Engelhardt, page 47.

10. Crescent, April 1913.

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