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Left Guard Gilbert by Ralph Henry Barbour

And then I said 'You've played football


"I

think I can read in the faces I see here tonight a great deal of that same spirit, and if the team has it and you fellows behind the team have it, why, I wouldn't give a last year's plug-hat for Claflin's chances next Saturday!

"Football," continued Doctor Proctor presently, "is a fine game. It's fun to play and it's a wonderful thing to train a fellow's body and mind. I've heard lots of folks object to it on various scores, but I've never heard an objection yet that carried any weight. More often than not those who run football down don't know the game. Why, if it did no more than teach us obedience and discipline it would be worth while. But it does far more than that. It gives us strong, dependable bodies, it teaches us to think--and think quick, and it gives us courage, physical and moral. I'm going to tell you of an incident that I witnessed only a few weeks since if you'll let me. I fear I'm taking up too much time----"

There were cries of "No, no!" and "Go ahead!"

"I'll try to be brief. Last Fall I was travelling on a train out my way, to be exact some eighty miles west of Cincinnati, when we had an accident. A freight train was slow about taking a side track and we came along and banged into it. It was about five o'clock in the morning and most of the passengers were asleep. A wreck's a nasty thing in any case, but when it happens at night or before it is light enough

to see it is worse. The forward cars of our train and the freight caught fire from the engines, and there was a good deal of loose steam around, and things were pretty messy for awhile. There happened to be another doctor on the train and, as soon as we got our bearings, we started a first-aid camp alongside the track. Some of the passengers, mostly in the day coaches up front, were badly burned and we had our hands full.

"There is always more or less confusion in an affair of that sort and it was some minutes after the accident before the rescue work got under way. But one of the first rescuers I noticed was a young chap, a boy in fact, probably about seventeen years old. He didn't have a great deal on, I remember, but he was certainly Johnny-on-the-spot that morning! It was he who brought the first patient to me, a little dried-up Hebrew peddler I judged him, who had been caught under some wreckage in the forward day-coach. He had a broken forearm and while I was busy with him I saw this young chap climbing in and out of windows and wading through wreckage and always coming out again with someone. How many folks he pulled away from the flames and the scalding steam I don't know, but I never saw anyone work harder or more--more efficiently. Yes, efficiently is just the word I want! And I said to myself at the time: 'That fellow is a football man! And I'll bet he's a good one!' You see, it wasn't only that he had courage to risk himself, but he had the ability to see what was to be done and to do it, and do it quick! Why, he was pulling injured women and children and men from those burning, overturned cars before a grown-up man had sensed what had happened! And later on, when we'd done what we could for the burned and scalded bodies and limbs, I got hold of the boy for a moment. I asked him his name and he told it, and then I said: 'You've played football, haven't you?' And he said he had, a little. He wasn't much of a talker, and when some of us said some nice things about what he had done he got horribly fussed and tried to get away. But someone wanted to shake hands with him, and he wouldn't, and I saw that his own hand was burned all inside the palm, deep and nasty. 'How did you do that?' I asked him as I dressed it. Oh, he didn't know. He thought he'd got his hand caught between some beams or something; couldn't get it out for a minute. It wasn't much of a burn! Well, the wrecking train and a hospital train came along about then and I lost sight of that chap, and I didn't see him again.


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