Getting On The Team

Found in the 4th printing of the Boy Scouts of America Handbook


Getting On The Team

By Fielding H. Yost

Director Intercollegiate Athletics, Professor Physical Education, University of Michigan


Like a Scout, to make the Michigan team, you must be clean through and through. You must be above stooping to unfair and unsportmanlike practices. You must view the game not as an end in itself but as an opportunity to prepare for the bigger game of living.

You must get in the frame of mind where you are ready to go limitless sacrifices to win as a sportsman wins.

Physical condition is, of course, a great factor. There are training rules to be observed. You may eat certain things and there are things you must not eat. You must be abed at a certain hour. You must do nothing to weaken body or mind.

The moral aspect of getting on the team is important. No coach wants a man on his team, associating with other players, who is an unfit companion for them. No man given over to dissipation can stand the gaff. He is the type who usually lacks courage at the crucial moment. He cannot take punishment and come back smiling.

Let us take the Scout Law and show how it applies to athletics.

A Scout Is Trustworthy

Every man must work in harmony and sympathy with every other; a player must forego the opportunity of brilliant “grand stand” playing so that his team, as a unit, may function as a team and not as a collection of individual players.

A Scout Is Loyal

His loyalty must become a flame to light his brain, point out his road to gain or sacrifice and drive him on and on. It is a bulwark thrown up against life’s temptations.

A Scout is Helpful

Your true sportsman forgets self in helping his teammates. It is cooperation and cooperation only that make a TEAM.

A Scout Is Friendly

And so is your athlete. A team of men friendly to on another becomes fused into a unit far quicker than one composed of men always at cross purposes.

A Scout is Courteous

You have seen a football player help a member of the opposite team to his feet. You have seen a man protect an opponent from injury when he was down and out.

A Scout Is Kind

A man who learns how to be kind through his college years will graduate with the habit of being kind. He will be ready to overlook and forgive.

A Scout Is Obedient

Obedience to orders is an essential of winning games. There must be a directing head to everything. There must be someone to give orders or a team would become a mob.

A Scout is Cheerful

Be cheerful in the face of defeat and you will soon learn not to recognize defeat. When you do that, you will never loose.

A Scout Is Thrifty

Save your strength. Avoid aimless running around. Don’t tire yourself when it will do no good. Conserve your energy just as you save a reasonable portion of life’s goods.

A Scout Is Brave

Every athlete must wipe fear from his mind to win. Fear is your enemy.

A Scout Is Clean

No body but a clean one is sound. Keep clean in every way - physically, morally, mentally. Bodily laziness like mental laziness and moral indifference spells disaster for the athlete in capital letters. Keep clean in every way.

A Scout is Reverent

Reverence, as I interpret it, is a way of looking at the big, beautiful things of life. You revere honorable old age. You revere the Bible, your mother, your father. You honor and respect them all. You look up to them from the lower level of youth and inexperience with the world. To get the most from the team and your part in its success, look deep below the surface. There is your school. Perhaps it is just a small high school in a country village. But it is like the church in many ways. In this school of yours, you are taught to live a useful, happy, contented life. It is something of a shrine, this school of yours. Its teachers, who labor with you while you learn how to adapt yourself to a livelihood or further study, are our own missionaries. They sit back, out of the rushing stream of life and give their lives to Youth and you.

“What counts in getting on the Team?” I can sum it up in a sentence: “Be a Scout - a Good Scout - You must keep yourself physically fit - mentally awake and morally straight - if you wish to give yourself a fair chance to make the team.