There’s a new book about the Harvard football team on the stands, and—surprisingly—it reveals that the some of the biggest guys on campus have a sensitive side. But the real surprise is that the author is only four years old.
Zachary Malott, who goes by “Zach”, was inspired to write his book, “I’m with the Team,” after checking out the Harvard stadium last year and watching the football team practice with his dad, a longtime Crimson fan.
Mike H. Malott, Zach’s father, remembers the first day that Zach stood with his sign reading, “please sign my football.”
“As they came out, every single one stopped, waited in a line backed up to sign my kid’s football,” says Malott, “I thought, ‘I can’t believe this!’”
From that day on, Zach, who struggles with autism, became a regular face at practice, becoming the team’s unofficial mascot and water boy throughout the summer and into the fall. According to Malott’s father, the experience was “the best therapy [Zach has] ever seen.”
“Zach never spoke until he was involved with the team,” his father says, “those guys are unbelievable. I can’t even explain it; it’s almost magical.”
According to Tim L. Murphy, head coach of the Harvard football team, the feeling was mutual. “He was just one of those kids that was easy to embrace,” says Murphy when asked about Zach, “because he was just an adorable child. Everyone on our team felt an attraction and empathy towards him naturally, like they would to any other child like him.”
Zach’s book, which made its debut in Cambridge and Boston bookstores on Valentine’s Day, highlights the youngster’s experience with the team, and includes fun facts about Harvard football from a four-year-old’s perspective. According to Ben E. Newcomer of the Harvard Bookstore, Zach’s book has garnered much interest among patrons, including notables such as President Faust.
Zach is probably the youngest author to write about Harvard’s football team and (sorry Sports page) he’s definitely the cutest.