Unfortunate “Tradition”
by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Editor, the Weekly

It seems to me a pity that the Alumni Weekly and the Press Club keep harping on the “tradition” that a lineman shall captain Princeton football teams. It is not a very hoary or venerable tradition—as late as 1922 Halfback Gilroy was Captain-elect, and at any moment it might be necessary to honor it in the breach. There are fine linesmen whose nerves go to pieces under strain, and there are backs with temperaments as steady and imperturbable as sergeants of Marines—I need only men­tion Buell of Harvard and Mallory of Yale.

My point is that a star prep school back with quite justifiable ambi­tions for glory—say a born quarterback with a gift for leading and driv­ing—might read of this “tradition” and say to himself “What’s the use of bucking up against that kind of discrimination?” Imagine the effect of an annual boast that only outfielders could captain the nine, or that sprinters were too unreliable to lead a track team!

Why not put a” quietus on this “tradition” until it has the endorse­ment of at least a decade?

February 4, 1929.

Published in Princeton Alumni Weekly newspaper (XXIX, February 15, 1929, p. 562). Attributed to Fitzgerald on the basis of a clipping in his scrapbooks.

Not illustrated.