Friday, March 12, 2010

Bravado on the Pages of The Milestone

Bravado is a hallmark of The Milestone yearbooks from the 1920s. In student-written summaries of varsity sports teams’ seasons, the language conjures high drama, heroic efforts, and memorable results. The 1924 Milestone yearbook entry for the Fall 2003 Varsity Football season is particularly colorful:

“Dummer Academy has a right to be proud of her football team of 1923 [shown below]. The eleven, captained by Everit B. Terhune, Jr., and coached by Walter A. Comerford, will rank among the foremost Dummer Football teams of all time. The team after a disastrous start overcame many obstacles and handicaps and finished the season among a blaze of glory.”

Within seven games, the team—Terhune, Boyd, Whalen, Casgrain, Stone, Kenny, Osgood, MacLeod, Hinds, Albertson, Walkley, Ferdinand, Capron, and Forsberg—battled inexperience (only three were return varsity players), “incompetent officiating,” injury, and even the coach being “insulted and assaulted by a mob of mill workers” at one game to end the season with a respectable 5-2 record.

“November 10, 1923, is a date that will live long in the football annals of the school. On that day the team of 1923 came into its own. What happened on this memorable day? Dummer Academy defeated the much tooted Allen-Chalmers eleven, 7 to 0. During the week Walkley joined the cripples [Albertson and Ferdinand were injured in previous games], Horr substituting for him, and Whalen was shifted into left tackle position. This change wrought a wondrous change in the whole line. The guards and tackles which had been very weak suddenly became impregnable. The result was that Allen never got a yard beyond our forty-yard line throughout the game. In fact the heavier and more powerful Allen team was played to a standstill by our light team into which Coach Comerford had instilled such a wonderful spirit. MacLeod scored a touchdown in the first quarter, and Captain Terhune kicked the goal. The team had two other chances to score, but failed. The whole team played wonderfully, and there were no individual stars. Everyone gave his best.”

In the last game of the season—a 13 to 0 win for Dummer over Powder Point—Dummer made a 60-yard march for a touchdown. Included in the 1924 Milestone are the following sketches depicting the yardage gains (and losses) from the game’s first- and second-half periods. The sketches are signed “L.M.F.Jr 24” for Leonard Munn Fowle, Jr., ’24, The Milestone’s Athletics Editor for that year.