For better or worse, sports is an unequal field of endeavor. There are poor players, mediocre players and good players. And then there are great players.
It takes a number of players to make a team and win a game. It takes only one great player or one spectacular play to get a crowd on its feet.
The following is a list of players to look for in the upcoming fall season. These players have the potential to inspire a crowd to madness. Or, at least, to mad cheering.
Tom Yohe: Okay, okay so Yohe, the Crimson's junior quarterback, still has a question mark emblazoned over his jesey number. Last year, he played spectacularly--compiling over 100 yards both rushing and passing against Dartmouth. And he played poorly--in the Princeton game, he fumbled on the third play from scrimmage, setting a bleak tone for the contest.
Yohe is even capable of being great and something less than great in a single game. In a preseason scrimmage against Brown, he threw for two touch-downs and two interceptions.
Yohe's potential for greatness is exceeded only by his potential for inconsistency. No matter, he remains someone to watch.
Derek Mills: Mills is the epitome of college soccer. He owns great speed, a wicked shot and a charming Scottish accent. Last year, he didn't mill around, recording a team-high 14 goals in only 11 games. If it hadn't been for All-Everything Jon Catliff, Mills would have been the Crimson's clear-cut superstar. This year, Catliff is gone and Mills is the man to look for.
Leelee Groome: Who says all excitement happens on the offensive end? Groome, a senior sweeper on the field hockey team, makes playing defense as thrilling--and dangerous--as parachuting with an umbrella. If the ball is heading toward the Harvard goal, you can bet Groome will be charging after it. And if she gets a hold of the ball with her stick, beware. It will either go a mile on the ground, or fly into the air in wicked line-drive fashion, daring an opposing forward to stand in its way.
Her dashing defensive talents aside, Groome is a potent offensive force. Last year, as the sharp shooter on the Crimson penalty corner crew, she banged in a pair of goals and added an assist, finishing fourth on the team scoring chart.
The water polo team: This may be the most strenous sport since rollerball. The supposed object: to toss the ball into the net. The secret agenda: to drown the opponent. Perhaps this is overestimating the vicious nature of the game, but water polo is the most under-appreciated sport around. It falls somewhere between ballet and bull-riding in the gracefulness department, and has more scoring than field hockey and soccer combined.
The reason water polo is so misunderstood--and, therefore, so ignored--is that half the game takes place under water, out of sight of the 50 or so people who turn out for each game. The ball is flung around on the surface, but don't think the players use their legs merely to stay afloat. There are secret (if not always legal) tricks to the treading trade.
Tracee Whitley: You want defense, you got defense. Dive left, jump right, stop the ball. Get the jersey dirty. But for Tracee Whitley, the senior goalie on the Harvard women's soccer team, a dirty jersey means a clean goals-against average. Last year, Whitley finished with a .56 g.a.a., the lowest such average for any goalie at Harvard. She is a two-time All-America.
Any rugby player: If the field's wet, the field hockey and soccer games are called off and the fans go home disappointed. If the field's wet, the rugby game takes place as scheduled and the fans are delighted. If rugby wasn't called rugby it would be called mud. These guys don't let a little sloppy earth stand in the way of their fun.
The wetter, the better.