Sunday, April 13, 2014

Theodore Roosevelt on Athletics, Study and Character

From a letter labeled “A Preaching letter”
to his son Kermit; Oct 2, 1903
    “I was very glad to get your letter. Am glad [sic.] you are playing football. I should be very sorry to see either you or Ted devoting most of your attention to athletics, and I haven't got any special ambition to see you shine overmuch in athletics at college, at least (if you go there), because I think it tends to take up too much time; but I do like to feel that you are manly and able to hold your own in rough hardy sports. I would rather have a boy of mine stand high in his studies than high in athletics, but I could a great deal rather have him show true manliness of character than show either intellectual or physical prowess; and I believe you and Ted both bid fair to develop just such character." 

image source: Wikimedia Commons

Bonus: as a reminder, this is PRESIDENT Roosevelt writing these letters.

From a letter labeled “Japanese Wrestling”
To his son Kermit; March 5, 1904
    I am wrestling with two Japanese wrestlers three times a week. I am not the age or the build one would think to whirled lightly over an opponent's head and batted down on a mattress without damage. But they are so skilful that I have not been hurt at all. My throat is a little sore, because once when one of them had a strangle hold I also go hold of his windpipe and thought I could perhaps choke him off before he could choke me. However, he got ahead.”

To his son Ted, April 9, 1904
    “I am very glad I have been doing this Japanese wrestling, but when I am through with it this time a am not at all sure I shall ever try it again while I am so busy with other work as I am now. Often by the time I get to five o'clock In the afternoon, I will be feeling like a stewed owl, after eight hours' grapple with Senators, Congressmen, etc. ' then I find the wrestling a trifle too vehement for mere rest. My right ankle and my left wrist and one thumb and both great toes are swollen sufficiently to more or less impair their usefulness, and I am well mottled with bruises elsewhere. Still I have made good progress, and since you left they have taught me three new throws that are perfect corkers.”

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