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22 May 1859, Edinburgh M.D., Kt, KStJ, D.L., LL.D., Sportsman, Writer, Poet, Politician, Justicer, Spiritualist Crowborough, 7 July 1930

Conan Doyle on Athletics

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Conan Doyle on Athletics is an article first published in the Daily Mail and the South Wales Echo on 27 october 1899, quoting an excerpt of a speech by Arthur Conan Doyle during the Prize of Victoria Park Cricket Association.


Conan Doyle on Athletics (Daily Mail)

Daily Mail (27 october 1899, p. 6)

Last night Dr. A. Conan Doyle, in distributing the prizes to the successful clubs in the Victoria Park Cricket Association's competitions this season, said : "In times of national excitement like the present they were proud of the love of manly games which coursed through the veins of British subjects. Although they had been informed of the calling out of the Reserves in this country, he ventured to say that the real reserves had not yet been called upon for the latter were to be found among the athletes, the sportsmen, the yachtsmen, the men who rode to hounds, and the footballers of the country.

"Although there was no conscription in England, the State had a right to expect and even to compel every healthy man to keep himself in touch with some form of vigorous exercise, for the manliness which such recreation produced, taught them to stand little inconveniences, and to be warlike — a spirit which all well-wishers of the British Empire loved."

Conan Doyle on Athletics (South Wales Echo)

South Wales Echo (27 october 1899, p. 3)

Physical Fitness a Duty.

Dr. Conan Doyle presented the challenge cups and medals to the winning teams of the Victoria Park Cricket Association at the Champion Hotel, Aldersgate-street. At a time of national excitement like the present what a grand thing it was for England, he said, that her sons possessed the love of manly games that ran in their veins. Unlike the young men in countries where conscription prevailed, they were not compelled to do gymnastics, but it seas all the more their duty to make and keep themselves fit. (Cheers.) People talked of calling out the Reserves — why, they had not begun to touch the Reserves. The reserves of this country were the cricketers, the footballers, the hunting men ; when they were called out somebody would know it (Loud cheers.) If ever England got in a hole, it was the sporting men and the sporting spirit that world pull her ant of it. (Cheers.) The State had as much right to compel them to keep themselves in physical fitness as to insist on the necessity for education. It was only by such endeavours that England could continue a great nation. (Cheers.) An article had recently appeared in a French paper entitled. "The End of England." (Laughter.) The Old Country had not come near its end yet — (loud and prolonged cheers) — but when young, Englishmen began to shirks athletic sport then they might think of using such a heading. The whole justification of cricket was the manliness it produced, and as long as there was a chance of war Englishmen must keep themselves manly and warlike, or when war came they would find themselves in a hole. (Loud cheers.)