Public Papers and Letters of Oliver Max Gardner: Governor of North Carolina, 1929-1933

By Edwin Gill; David Leroy Corbitt | Go to book overview

public spectacle which will be commercially profitable, then we may well pause to consider again the fundamental purpose of all sport, which is the development of healthy, happy, properly-poised human beings. The one great principle by which we must constantly be guided is that the game exists for the players and students and the interests of these are not to be subordinated to the game or to a spectacle-loving public. I think, however, as I have already indicated, that football, particularly in the South, is on an essentially sound and wholesome basis and this is perhaps the greatest tribute that I can pay to the group of men assembled here tonight.

An interesting parallel might be traced between the growing athletic prestige of the South and the economic development and growth of the section. Thirty years ago Southern football was at a low ebb. There were few intersectional contests, and in these--always staged at the beginning of the season--the South usually made a poor showing indeed. There was always the hope that Carolina, for example, would score against Harvard. Usually, however, we came away with a zero and from the Northern point of view the game was of course a preliminary practice match in which was involved some feeble recognition that since the war was over, some sort of relationship ought to be maintained with a section which, theoretically at least, was again a part of the Union. Our Northern friends were wellmannered and tactful, but an examination of the scores of those years will reveal that the relationship was more diplomatic than competitive.

Gradually, however--and it is tremendously significant that whenever you scratch the surface of twentieth century progress in the South you always come upon this--a great change was coming about in the basic economic life of the section. The men on the farm still tilled their acres, did it more and more intelligently

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