Quote: “The game fit perfectly with an increasingly militarizing nation”

This quote summarized the overall purpose that Swanson has in the first two chapters. Roosevelt is regarded as a man of the people and this is complete shown through his approach to sports in the beginning of the 20th century. The nation was unknowingly about to enter a phase of War and hardship that would require a new identity for the American male. Roosevelt was a hard-nosed, rough around the edges, mans’ man and this was reflected in the way he led the country and the lifestyle he promoted. Roosevelt showed this through attending the Army-Navy football game. Roosevelt loved football and saw it as an opportunity to toughen up the next generation of the American man. With his attendance to the game, Roosevelt did something that no other president had ever done. Roosevelt saw the team building, strategy, strength, and challenge that was presented in the game of football and knew this was the perfect stepping stone for young men who would eventually join the US military. Roosevelt wanted to have a disciplined military to compete with the rest of the world who was at this point, becoming increasingly militarized.

Football at the turn of the 20th century is not as it is today. Football was more similar to rugby at that time and was a game more focused on defense. The game was pressed on holding a heavily fortified line to protect the quarter back or the “Field General” so that he and the other offensive players could use this shield of teammates to move the ball towards the opposing teams end zone. The defense was focused on breaking the offensive line and prohibiting for the other team from pressing their line and more importantly the ball from advancing. It is obvious to see the comparison between the game of football at the time and warfare. Roosevelt saw this and knew it was a way to keep young men physically fit all while preparing them unknowingly for the future service they would do for their country. Football was promoted to boost the national military in the long run. Roosevelt felt if he could push young men to live the lifestyle that he lived, the “strenuous” lifestyle, that eventually football would create a masterfully tough and strategic group of men who would be well on their way to useful soldiers.

The Army-Navy Game, Attended by Roosevelt, is still played to this day and is even referred to as “America’s Game”.