From Alte Achter to the Rude and Smooth

The Harvard Entries

School spirit can be awfully hard to find at Harvard. The length of your next paper, not Saturday's football game dominates dinner-table conversations.

Tomorrow, with a few gin and tonics sloshing around your system, you'll have an opportunity to cheer for your fellow student-athletes. And what's the harm in a few healthy huzzas for the Harvard and Radcliffe eights?

Easy enough to do, anyway. Just find the two shells as they go by and give them each a big cheer.

Unfortunately for the once-a-year rowing fan, rooting for Harvard isn't that easy. But don't despair, there'll be numerous opportunities to egg on both the Crimson and the Black & White.

The Harvard and Radcliffe crews will of course be out flexing their muscles, entering a total of 15 boats in the various divisions.

But if you're committed to cheering for Harvard crews, don't stop there. Look a little deeper.

Among the hundreds of club boats entered in the Head each year are several crews with grander connections to Harvard. Some are made up in part or entirely by ex-Harvard rowers. Others, such as the Business School boat, maintain direct ties with the University.

This year, three such special "other" Harvard boats are entered in the Head: the Business School crew, the "Alte Achter" and the "Rude and Smooth."

These club crews serve all kinds of rowers--from former Olympians dedicated to maintaining their skills to less proficient but equally fanatic oarsmen who simply want to relive some of the excitement of their college careers.

While these boats probably won't grab any headlines by winning races, they're deserving of a second look because of their unique backgrounds.

Take the Harvard Business School boat, for starters. It's the easiest one to spot--just look for the dollar signs on the oars.

The B-School Boat Club is a fixture of the Head, having competed in the last eight. The Club is entered in the men's lightweight eight division and is seeded 38th.

Everyone in Captain Wally Obermeyer's boat is an experienced oarsman, among its members are products of the Harvard, Yale and Princeton rowing programs.

According to Obermeyer, "We miss college rowing. We're all experienced oarsmen and women who love rowing and want to continue it in graduate school."

As one would expect from a team of businessmen, the eight rowers had to survive a selection process to earn a seat on the boat. "It was sort of a natural selection," Obermeyer said. "There's a growing interest in rowing at the Business School, so many people wanted to be on this boat."