Another Tough Loss

Published:April 26, 2012 by Brendan Wolfe

University of Virginia Football Game No. 1 and No. 2 (1919). Virginia vs. Vanderbilt, Lambeth Field, Charlottesville, 1919. (Holsinger Studio Collection, Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library, University of Virginia)

According to the College Football Reference, the game was played on November 15, and Virginia lost 10–6. The Cavaliers ended the season 2–5–2, their only wins coming against Randolph-Macon College and the Virginia Military Institute. Although football has always had many fans, the former Confederate ranger John Singleton Mosby was not one of them, apparently. The deaths of students resulting from football injuries at the University of Virginia prompted him in 1909 to write authorities at his old school, protesting that football was “murder.” According to a Mosby biographer, the aging veteran wrote two letters and sent them to newspapers.

To him this was a continuation of his lifetime conflict with bullies and bruisers and reflected his disapproval of sports in general. “I had not taste for athletics and have never seen a ball game,” he wrote, reflecting on his youth. He denied that brute force had anything to do with heroic masculinity. “My idea of manhood is a sense of honor and courage; such qualities may exist in a weak body.”

And when you’re done reflecting on the qualities of heroic manhood, check out gorgeous Lambeth Field. It was built in 1911 (by a dude whose name—mostly—was Robert E. Lee) and named for the university’s athletic director. Read more at Albemarle + Charlottesville History.