A Sparkling Vintage Life

football umich

Game day fashion, University of Michigan, 1920s

With gridiron season upon us, let us not neglect our manners.

Rooting Without Rudeness

It is unsportsmanlike for the friends of a team to try to rattle players on the other side by booing or shouting personal remarks. Hurling criticism at the referee is both useless and crude. Enthusiasm for your side is a fine thing, but don’t let it carry you to bumptiousness.

The members of a visiting team are your guests. Treat them like friendly enemies, and show them the courtesies you would like to have shown to your team on a return visit. When a player is hurt, forget sides. Give him a cheer and all the assistance he needs.

Back up your cheerleaders. Some stirring Rah! Rah’s and choruses at the right time are not an affront to the opposing team, and they put heart into the schoolmates you have chosen to arouse school spirit.

(from This Way Please by Eleanor Boykin, 1940)

And from Seventeen magazine in 1971:

“Lots of words have been written on the subject, but good sportsmanship still depends on how you play the game, no matter what game you’re playing. Whether you cheat on an exam or on a court, it’s equally dishonest and distasteful to others. Whatever the game, follow the three “Be’s.” BE fair. BE a good loser. BE quick to congratulate winners.”

tailgate partyOf course, nothing beats an epic tailgate party, which takes place in the relatively neutral ground of a parking lot or field. Typical picnic fare–burgers, brats, sandwiches, potato salad–is served up from the tailgates of vehicles in a spirit of good sportsmanship. But it can be fancier. One suggested tailgate luncheon menu in Lexington, Virginia, cookbook included baby mint juleps, cheese lace, cold sour-cherry soup, cold fillet of beef with sour cream, rice salad, hot rolls, and banana bourbon cake with bourbon creme anglaise!