Since the National Football League (NFL) started its games on Sept. 10, there have been almost three weeks of games. There has been a lot of support for football since then, but if one were to go back in history, they would find that a lot of people have supported football since its beginning. Some students at Elizabethtown College are no exception. With that being said, it might come as a bit of surprise to know that Etown once had a football team.
Back in the 1920s, they were known as the “Brutal 13.” There is mention of the Etown football team on campus on a t-shirt that says, “Undefeated since 1929,” but that is not the case. According to Director of Special Programs and Prestigious Scholarships & Fellowships, Jean-Paul Benowitz who co-authored a paper about the history of the school, “The football team lost every single game on the field.” That, along with the team’s 1929 season being cancelled, could be the reason the shirt says “Elizabethtown College Football Team: Undefeated since 1929.”
The 1920s were a very different time, and there were not many African American athletes playing on many collegiate teams. With that being said, there was actually an African American athlete on the football team. His name was W. Miller Barbour. According to Reference Librarian and Archivist Emeritus Peter DePuydt another historian who worked with Benowitz on the history of Etown, Barbour was the only African American player on the team.
The fact that there was only one African American football player on the team isn’t the only interesting fact: they have been undefeated since 1929 because the football season was cancelled for the second season. The school decided to cancel the season because football was very expensive, and Etown did not have a lot of money in the 1920s. The official reason they gave, however, had nothing to do with finances. They instead said the school did not support competition among other schools. So, the football team met in secret. However, it was not a secret, because people knew exactly what was going on – they would go to the games and support the team.
Another interesting fact is the school cancelled the football team because they did not support the team playing against other schools, but they still supported the collegiate debate team. The question is which is more dangerous: exchanging tackles or ideas. Whichever is more dangerous, Etown has not had a football team since then. We only have one picture which remains as a constant reminder that the Etown football team has not been completely lost to history.
Credit: Source link