Classics to Visit Austria and Denmark
Hoopsters Launch Fundraising Drive
Harvard's globe-trotting Classics basketball team will venture anew into foreign lands when they journey to Austria and Denmark in the upcoming spring break.
The trip, beginning March 26 and lasting until April 3, will take the team to Innsbruck, Salzburg, Vienna and Copenhagen. During their travels the team will compete in a three-day tournament in Salzburg, as well as play in four other games and participate in a basketball clinic, organized by the American embassy in Vienna, for prospective young Austrian b-ballers.
Fundraising efforts-which include sending letters to American firms in Austria asking for financial support-are nearly completed.
Paupers Despite these plans the team does not expect the individual "to make a killing," said Classic Wallie Rutecki '83. And most of the $833 per person cost will be fielded by the individual players."
The brief stop they will make in Copenhagen marks a return to an old stamping ground and brings back nothing but pleasant memories for the team. Hordes of eager young fans begged team members to autograph anything-even their arms-after the Classics' victory over the Danish national team last year.
With only one game remaining in its stateside season, the team has a 15-6 record and will finish up the campaign by playing the Somerville All-Stars later this month.
Despite their consistently impressive record, the Classics say they play for the sheer enjoyment of it. They practice once a week and play only a 20-game season, compared to the varsity hoopsters who play 26 games.
Ten of the 14 Classics were at one time varsity or J.V. hoopsters, said senior Joe Lauer, the squad's captain, but joined the Classics after being cut or because of demanding academic schedules. The Classics don't siphon talent away from the official Crimson squads. "We don't really represent a threat to the other teams because we have our tryouts long after they have theirs, "he added. Team members said that playing at the club level involves much less pressure and allows them to get more satisfaction from the sport. Their contests are much more low key than varsity matchups, allowing for little luxuries like showing up late for games on occasion, said Rutecki.
Since former coach John Harvey left Harvard two seasons ago the players have coached and managed themselves. Former Co-Captain Glenn Mills '82 volunteers his services part-time along with brother Wayne Mills. "Without Glenn the Classics would have been in big trouble," Lauer said.
Another former Classics player, Dave Kohn '82, is currently playing in England in an industrial league and also thinking of visiting Denmark in the near future to coach a local team.
The camaraderie of the club makes it very much of a social organization and the team's motto could almost be, as Lauer puts it, "Once a Classic always a Classic."
The team's good times sometimes change into anxiety, as in one pre-game practice at Walpole Prison. "A mass murderer came up and wanted to do a lay-up and nobody wanted to tell him he couldn't," remembers Lauer.