April 18th, 2013 at 2:20 PM ^

the stupid shit we did during practice.

Barwis has really come a long way, from "ruffage" to just keeping the animals in lieu of eating them!

Why on earth would anyone write on that document with a red marker?


April 18th, 2013 at 2:34 PM ^

Alright I'll be honest, it wasn't until I finished reading the letter that I realized it was the letter that was found in the attic, not the player.

But that's really interesting. Any ideas who Walter is?

April 18th, 2013 at 2:38 PM ^

If this Walter made the team, then the internet's formost authority on facts says

  1. ^ Walter B. Freihofer, born May 26, 2012 at Albany, New York. He grew up in Indianapolis and attended Shortridge High School. He served in the U.S. Army in Europe during WWII. He practiced law in Grand Rpaids for over 50 years. He was also Kentwood City Attorney for over 20 years. He died May 26, 2012.


April 18th, 2013 at 3:27 PM ^

I highly doubt if this was to a freshman, because it sort of reads like a letter to someone who had, in the previous year, really had a lousy spring and embarassed himself with poor physical condition. It reads like the coach knew he was a drinker and smoker, and he liked to stay up till 1 or 2 AM on the regular.


April 18th, 2013 at 2:52 PM ^

then I looked at the born date and died date...May 26, 2012 for both.  Had to check for myself and low and behold Mr. Freihofer was born August 28, 1922.  His obituary had this little gem in it as well:

"Walter proceeded to the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, where he played football under legendary coach Fritz Crisler and made many life-long friends"


Sextus Empiricus

April 18th, 2013 at 2:39 PM ^

Thanks for sharing... these are treasures.  Usually I see this kind of stuff @ MVictors but this is a pleasent surprise - almost didn't open this thread due to the title.


April 18th, 2013 at 2:49 PM ^

Everybody knows that alcohol isn't a stimulant.

I love the part about diving headlong with your arms stretched out taking the full brunt of the impact on your chest, and then being advised to find some grass or sand first. That would suck on pavement.

And how in God's name does a cold shower after situps improve your conditioning?

Seriously, this stuff seems really quaint now, especially for a coach who was regarded as a true innovator.

oriental andrew

April 18th, 2013 at 3:01 PM ^

To be fair, he said cold bath, not cold shower.  I assumed by "setting up exercises," he meant a variety of warmup exercises (situps, squats, pushups, running in place, etc.), but perhaps that was the vernacular at the time for sit ups. 

Also, many athletes do ice baths or cold baths after workouts.  They say it helps with injury prevention and recovery.  According to wikipedia, it's controversial, but this stuff has been going on for a while.


April 18th, 2013 at 5:50 PM ^

As the key to any strength and conditioning program lies in the heart of recovery, cold showers or baths are a useful tool.  Athletes in the Eastern Bloc were very fond of the contrast bath method, where they would submerge themselves in hot water for one minute and transfer immediately afterwards to a tub of cold water, repeating the cycle as necessary.  Crazy, but it works.  This is also why many D1 football players take ice baths after practice.  The sooner, the better.

Unfiltered Manball

April 18th, 2013 at 3:35 PM ^

Thanks for posting.

Makes you wonder though.  How out-of-shape must some of the recruits been for Fritz to have to send this out in advance?  No doubt it was for the recruits benefit and Crisler wanting to see them perform well, but wow.  Pretty detailed list of requirements.  

Diving onto the ground, landing on your chest?  I would break every bone on the front of my body.


April 18th, 2013 at 5:26 PM ^

It's amusing to read this letter and compare this suggested regimen to what players do now to keep fit essentially throughout the year. I can only imagine getting this letter a few weeks before you were supposed to actually try out and running outside to start that moment. Actually, it makes me feel a little guilty about this pizza I have - I think I will start with the walking and crabbing.

Seriously though, thanks for sharing this!


April 18th, 2013 at 6:15 PM ^

it's startling how few of them are in what we would today regard as top-level physical condition. Very few of them look like they've ever lifted weights, their upper bodies and arms are pretty slender, and few of them look like they'd be ready to compete for high school football teams of today. Crisler's regimen seems to fit that era perfectly.

Having said that, they were plenty fit enough to fight and win a world war fought all over the globe against two fanatical and well-armed adversaries.


April 18th, 2013 at 6:49 PM ^

tremendous number of young men who were medically deferred due to the consequences of chronic malnutrition. The pictures taken in the recruiting depots, during physical exams or during basic all reflect that. This is where the scrubbed, healthy farmboy meme was born - farmers worked hard, and ate well for the time.