The ladies who serve and prepare the food at Currier House all have crushes on senior Mike Corbat.
The woman who checks off the names--the one sitting at the desk--smiles and winks at him. Then the greyish, plump one who serves the french onion dip giggles, when Corbat quips something that's not-so-funny. And during lunch, a man who also works in the dining room--he's the aged guy, with a slightly arched back who stands around in his red coat--comes over to Corbat and gives him some present all wrapped up in tinfoil. The guy in the red coat paternally pats him on the shoulder and walks away.
"I just give them tickets to some of the games," he explains.
You see, Mike Corbat is a 6-ft, 3-m, 230 pound dear.
"He was always outgoing and good natured as a child," Corbat's mother. Mrs. Deanne Corbat, said of her son. "He was always doing something. He never watched television."
Whatever the case. Corbat--an all-Ivy offensive guard on the Harvard football team--may be a dear to the people who work in the dining hall, but he certainly isn't dear to his opponents. People who are dears on the field don't get contacted by at least a half-dozen teams informing him of the possibilities of his playing in the National Football League.
"They [NFL scouts] feel that if I put on a good 20 to 25 pounds, then I'd stand a good shot at playing," Corbat said. "Right now, playing in the NFL, would only be the icing on the cake. If football had always been my main goal then I would have gone to some scholarship school I could have gotten more exposure there."
Corbat doesn't emphasize the prospects of playing professional football. It doesn't seem to be that important to him. "If I were drafted in the top eight rounds, then I would seriously consider playing. But I don't forsee that as a likelihood. If I was [drafted up high], then it would mean that those teams [Oakland, San Francisco, Tampa Bay, Dallas, Seattle and the New York Jets] are serious enough about me to make me serious about them. I'm just not psyched to be somebody's piece of meat somewhere."
Next year, Corbat intends to be involved in investment banking. Presently, he is an economics major. Corbat considers pursuing a graduate school career, but that would be "a few years off from now."
One of the most striking things about Mike Corbat is his reluctance to talk about himself for any extended length of time. It would be easy for Corbat to dwell on his personal accomplishments: there have been enough of them which have occured on the gridiron. But Corbat seems to brush aside his being an All-Ivy team member. And he seems almost embarrassed to expound on being recognized by NFL scouts.
Satisfaction comes to Corbat when he can contribute to a team effort. To him, everything revolves around the team.
In the Harvard football program, it is exceedingly difficult for a sophomore to receive substantial playing time. Even if that sophomore more is a Mike Corbat.
"Athletically, my sophomore year was very frustrating for me. It was frustrating to be on the sidelines and not being able to be a contributing factor to the team. It was like my hands were tied." Corbat said. "Everyone is important in their own way, but when you're in the game and a part of it, that day, you know you made a contribution."
The typical football fan doesn't recognize or appreciate the accomplishments of an offensive guard. He doesn't cheer for the line man when a hole is created so Scottie McCabe can slip through for 15. He applauds only when he witnesses a Donnie Allard TD toss or a Jim Villenueava 42-yd field goal.
"True, there's not much glory in being an offensive guard, but it has always been that way for me, and I like what I do, Every game. I try 'o play so I am happy for myself. You can't help a team without being self motivated," Corbat said.