1915 physical fitness standards: Do you measure up?

While scanning old newspapers for the library, I came across this Monrovia Daily News article from August 23, 1915. The University of California announced its standards for its incoming freshmen in terms of their physical fitness and abilities. But it’s more than being fit — the word “moral” appears throughout the article, and it is emphasized as if obvious that being physically fit leads to moral fiber as well. Wow!

At any rate, I was amused to discover that the *only* items on the list that I would be able to perform are two of the swimming ones: to swim 50 yards (note there is no time limit specified) and to dive from a height of five feet. The others are well beyond my physical ability.

On the other hand, if they had been imposed as requirements at some point, maybe I would have worked to achieve them!

So, do you measure up? Can you imagine if this were required of freshmen today?

2 of 2 people learned something from this entry.

  1. Terran said,

    February 3, 2013 at 4:19 am

    (Learned something new!)

    Wow. That’s impressive. But it looks very much to me like they’re envisioning sending these kids into the military. I mean, wrestling or jiujutsu? For real? And the running/dive to ground/roll to feet trick? That totally sounds like a military obstacle course kind of thing.

    For myself, I know the jiujutsu and rolling part (the latter by virtue of the former). I could probably swim 50 yards (with no time limit). But the rest would be a lost cause for me. I have never in my life been able to chin up, and running and I don’t get along. :-P

    “Red blooded man”… As opposed to blue bloods? Or Vulcans?

  2. Umaa said,

    February 3, 2013 at 11:49 am

    (Learned something new!)

    As a parent who’s appalled at the decline of physical education in the public school system, this is a really interesting read. While the linkage between morality and a fit body is archaic at this point, I do think they were on to something. I believe there are studies that show a correlation between physical and mental fitness. I certainly notice it in myself. Another nice thing about this list is that it’s partly mandated to equip people save lives (the swimming with another person, first-aid, etc), which probably ties with the morality bit.

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