Freshman football coach George Walter expressed belief this week that the material graduating into Lawrence Varsity ranks is some of the best to turn up in the college’s history.
The frosh mentor, in a review of the junior Vike’s six week season, gave particularly high praise to the 47 promising gridders for the fine squad spirit they developed in that brief time. Their two game schedule was climaxed November 3 by a 14-0 win over Carroll freshmen. They had tied earlier with Ripon, 7-7.
Coach Walter declared that, “If the fellows on this year’s freshman team continue their interest in football, the great majority of them will, at some time in their college careers, play on the varsity.”
“Some with extraordinary ability, of course, will play on the first team sooner than others.” He listed several of these: Chuck Knoedler, Dick Ristau, Phil Haas, Bob McCabe, Don Exner, Bob Sorenson, Don Helgeson, Fred Harker, Dar Vriesman, Hub Moody, Jim Polivka, D’Arcy Leck, Denney Seymour, Chuck Williams, George Stone, and Allan Hallock.
Several Linemen, because of the large squad and only two games, did not have a real opportunity to reveal their possibilities. Many are expected to play some fine football before graduation.
Many are expected to play some fine football before graduation.
These include: Pete Green, Jim Cochrane, Andy Anderson, Don Haack, Wendell Johnson, Pat Curtin, Al Doepker, Chet Oberg, Tom Hollenbeck, Duane Tober, Josh Wood, Gene Silmon, Jim Johnson, Don Churchill, Dave Duffy, John Friedm Les Badenock, Fred Locke, Ken Lutz, Bob Polzin, Fred Smith, and Bill Warner.
Today, it is a given that all of Lawrence’s students can participate on Lawrence’s numerous varsity sports teams. This however, has not always been the case. At numerous times through Lawrence’s history, first year students have been excluded from varsity athletic competition.
Historically, this choice has been made in order to smooth the transition from high school to college. It has been argued that rather than focusing on athletics, first year students should focus on learning how to be successful in a college environment before taking on the additional time commitment and responsibility of membership on a varsity team.
On the face of it, this argument makes a degree of sense. Why not try to give freshmen the best possible shot at getting their college career off to a good start? Enough freshman struggle with the jump to college that a bit of help in prioritizing might be of great value.
While this may be the case for some, the benefits of athletics far outweigh the costs, even for first year students. While it may be true that some people struggle in their first year of college, this is not the case for all. All freshman should not be limited because a few experience hiccups in the transition. On top of this, athletic participation helps some people focus in other areas of their lives. Many athletes find that when they are in season, they are able to manage their time better, and be more productive than when they are out of season.
Today, freshman play alongside sophomores, juniors, and seniors on Lawrence’s varsity teams. While this is taken for granted by many, it is important not to forget that this has not always been the case.