Did you know that Jay C. Hormel played football? The only reason I know this is because we have two photos identifying him as part of a team in 1903. I have been searching for more information about his involvement, but haven’t found anything relevant to him in the papers. Was he a player, a manager, or just an enthusiast? We may not ever know what his role was on the field, but during my research I found scores and recaps and a friendly bit about an Austin-Lanesboro match up.
From the Mower County Transcript, Nov. 25, 1903:
“The Austin High School football team went over to Lanesboro Saturday to play the final game of the season and defeated the team of that place by the score of 15 to 11. This is considered a very creditable victory inasmuch as Lanesboro has won every game this year and were the champions of Fillmore County. The Austin team took a brace in the last 15 minutes of play and gave their best exhibition this year. In the evening the boys went up to the Lanesboro H.S. building to a reception. Refreshments were served and games were played, the music being furnished by the town orchestra.”
Because I have two sons who choose to play football, I am a fan of the sport. Of course I am concerned about safety, but I see the value of teamwork, player camaraderie, and analytic problem solving as beneficial to the developing of young people. The debate over the pros and cons of football is not new. On October 7, 1903, John H. Skinner, Editor and Proprietor of the Austin Daily Herald expressed his view on the positives of football. His comments gave praise to the team and espoused that the competitive nature of football can lead to a strong spirit.
“There is something wholesome in athletic sport. It is active, at any rate, and eliminates the element of idleness which is, of all things, most destructive to the mental and moral growth.
Our football team deserves no little credit. For instance, our boys have this year faced college teams, knowing there was no hope of victory, but they went into the fight showing a courage, which is in itself commendable. The hardier virtue of which our pioneer forefathers were so abundantly possessed, are developed by the rough game of football. We trust that it is not the ambition of our High School to have the banner football team of the state, but rather a team that plays a good game, shows pluck, is a credit to the high school and deserves consideration and honor.”
Regardless of Jay Hormel’s involvement in the game, I am confident that he, who valued the strong character of a man, found value in what the sport of football could teach.
Monday, September 10
History Happy Hour-Traveling History Bus
5:30 p.m. Social ~ 6:00 pm Program
Free for members of the HHH, Mower County Historical Society, and Friends of the Library.
$5 for nonmembers.
All are invited to enjoy free snacks and a cash bar.
Thursday, September 13
Autism Event/Training for Daycares and Caregivers
6:15 p.m. FREE
CEU’s available. Please register by calling 507-433-4243.
Saturday, September 15
Harvest Fest Participant-Packed With Protein Event
10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
FREE for all
Presentations for all ages by Jen Haugen, R.D., at
Hormel Historic Home
208 4th Ave. NW
Austin, MN 55912