Losing, in Three Parts (continued)

Published by Mark J. Chiusano on March 16, 2011 at 3:11AM

Crimson FM Chair Mark J. Chiusano offers the fan's perspective on last Saturday's loss to Princeton.

II.

Sometime in the first half, there is a play when Brandyn Curry, one of the explosive, intensely shouldered guards who has what is called fast-twitch muscles, finds himself hopscotched in the corner, surrounded by Princeton fans all in orange. You can’t see him from the Harvard stands but you can see the Princeton players beginning to collapse on him, sensing fear, and then you see him muscle the ball towards the hoop on a line with one hand, and Kyle Casey is there in midair above the prized Princeton center slamming it in, and at this point it puts Harvard up by five.

There is a tall boy in the stands who looks like he would be a senior, or someone recently graduated. He’s wearing a velvet suit jacket dyed crimson and a flared white dress shirt and a crimson bowtie. He has a menagerie of signs, including one that says “Cornell West doesn’t publish,” another, “Eating Clubs: Still Misogynist.” A reporter from Bloomberg News comes over at halftime to ask to see the signs and I think about asking her if she worked for Bloomberg News, as a means of entry into conversation. I hold one of the signs up so she can take a picture of it, and when the tall boy who made the signs comes back I try to tell him a Bloomberg News reporter took a picture of the signs, but he thinks I’m complimenting him on his bowtie, and he straightens it and gives me a thumbs up.

Number 33 on Princeton is their point guard, and while he’s not as fast or athletic as the Harvard guards, he does have a nice jumper, and he gets around picks at the top of the key well. Everyone knows that his mother was on “Baywatch” in 1996, and perhaps he has his mothers’ looks, although a bit of a pretty boy for a basketball court. This goes for much of the Princeton team, which seems prettier and more homegrown than should be possible. Harvard looks hungrier, younger and more scraggly. They have facial hair, for instance. I remember that someone once did a study on stereotypes that people have when they watch teams wearing black. Harvard has its away uniforms on, and the crimson lettering reflects in the black. Number 33 has dirty blond hair and sticks out among the black uniforms when he is surrounded by traps in the corners. The Harvard fans chant “‘Baywatch’” when he has the ball, and it seems to bother him. Once he hits a three and puts a finger to his lips as if for quiet. Later he airballs a shot and then whenever he gets the ball the Harvard crowd chants “Airball, airball.”

At halftime the ESPN reporter, Schaap on ESPN, starts to do a little spot, for his couple seconds on national TV. The student crowds on both sides try to surge sideways a bit to get in the background. When he finishes his cameraman tries to get away too quickly, and the cord rips the microphone out of Schaap’s hand.