"The bear," says the encyclopedia, "is relatively slow on its feet and has little coordination when running at top speed."
The Brown Bear, or at least the tennis-playing species, follows this pattern pretty well. The Bruins haven't shown much speed, strength, or ability in losing three of their first four matches, and they are overwhelmingly favored to lose a fourth when they face the Crimson netmen in Providence today.
It will be pretty surprising if the Bruins win even one match today; in fact it will be surprising if any of the Brown players wins a set from his Harvard opponent.
After all, Bruin players lost every set against Penn, and the Crimson whipped Penn, 5-4. Brown didn't win a set from Navy, and Harvard knocked off the Middies 7-2.
Only a serious letdown after two tough matches last weekend might halt a Crimson sweep. The team is riding the crest of a five-game winning streak and is undefeated in three Eastern Intercollegiate Tennis League Matches.
Almost everyone on the team has been in top form in recent matches. Coach Jack Barnaby singled out Captain and number one player Paul Sullivan as the hero of last weekend's two matches. "Sully played his best match in years against Penn," Barnaby said, "and he ran his man off the court at Columbia, too. He played excellently all weekend."
Sullivan's win over John Reese at Penn was especially impressive. Reese was unbeaten at number one this year and had beaten Lee Pekary of Navy, who beat Sullivan three weeks ago. But Sully easily whipped Reese, 6-4, 6-2.
The team's next three matches all should be easy. Cornell comes to Cambridge Saturday boasting a fine number one player in Jerry Levin and very little else.
Next Thursday the Crimson faces Williams in its last warm-up for the Princeton match. Harvard squeaked past the Ephmen 5-4 last year although three of the top six players did not participate in the match; the Crimson should have little more trouble this year.
So if everyone keeps playing well the team should stay unbeaten at least until they play Princeton May 4. The Tigers have lost only number one man Drayton Nabers and one other player from the team that won the EITL championship and beat Harvard 9-0 last year.
Herb Fitzgibbon, probably the best college player in the East, fills the top spot more than adequately, and the Tigers are still fearsome. If the Crimson beats them it would certainly be an upset, but in this case an upset is possible.