In a new weekly feature, The Crimson will be tracking the successes (and potential failures) of some of Harvard’s most successful graduates not to use their Harvard degrees. While a tour through professional sports is not exactly a who’s who of Harvard alumni, a few athletes have taken their game to the next level. From Jeremy Lin to Ryan Fitzpatrick, the Crimson maintains a presence outside of the labs and law offices of the world.
Ryan Fitzpatrick ’05:
Fitzpatrick completed on 17 of his 25 pass attempts for 208 yards and four scores on Sunday, as the Harvard grad’s Buffalo Bills (1-0) routed the Kansas City Chiefs (0-1) on the road, 41-7.
In a day that made Fitzpatrick’s fantasy owners rejoice, the Bills' quarterback took apart a depleted Kansas City secondary that was lacking the services of hard-hitting safety Eric Berry.
Fitzpatrick wasted little time finding his rhythm, connecting with Scott Chandler from four yards out after the Chiefs fumbled on the opening kickoff. From there on out, Buffalo dominated, and Fitzpatrick looked a whole lot like another current Boston-area quarterback, never seeming to be in a hurry when delivering the football.
Sunday’s rout of last year’s AFC West division champs was a cathartic performance for both Buffalo and its Harvard-educated quarterback. For a team that hasn’t had a winning season in a decade, Bills fans have a glimmer of hope, in large part thanks to the man ESPN analyst Merril Hoge called “the most underrated quarterback in the National Football League.”
Each Thursday, The Crimson will compile a series of unique statistics about Harvard's sports scene. Welcome to the Magic of Numbers—without the problem sets. We'll do the math for you.
MEN'S SOCCER, FIELD HOCKEY ENJOY EARLY-SEASON SUCCESS
3: The number of saves senior men’s soccer goalie Austin Harms made during the Crimson's 1-0 season opening win against Northeastern.
29: The number of shots the Harvard women’s soccer team took against Elon during the Crimson's 2-1 win Sunday—almost triple the Phoenix’s 11.
2: The number of goals Ivy League field hockey Rookie of the Week Sydney Jenkins has in as many games. Both of her goals have contributed to victories for Harvard.
38: Overall number of shots that the Crimson field hockey team has taken this season.
3: The number of goals scored by the Harvard women’s soccer team during its two games this year.
12: The number of shots the Crimson men’s soccer squad took against Huskies.
School’s back in session, and so are a bunch of Ivy sports. Others–like football–will have to wait a little while before opening the book on the 2011 campaign. With no intra-league contests this week, some of the biggest Ivy news was made in a place where few Ancient Eight athletes venture: the sphere of professional sports. We’ll sort out what’s going on in another edition of Around the Water Cooler.
Ivy Leaguers have famously made a habit of dominating many fields. Sadly, professional sports just isn’t one of them.
The NFL is evidence of that: other than a few notable exceptions (See Matt Birk '98 and Ryan Fitzpatrick '05), the league has been harsh to Ancient Eight grads.
Two former Crimson men’s soccer standouts currently playing in Major League Soccer—Michael Fucito ’09 and Andre Akpan ’10—are making their presences felt as the 2011 MLS season continues into the late regular season and into the CONCACAF Champions League Group Stage.
On Aug. 16, former Crimson midfielder Fucito scored two goals for the Seattle Sounders in the team's 4-1 Champions League victory against Guatemalan side Comunicaciones. While a day later, former Harvard forward Andre Akpan had a goal and an assist to lead the Colorado Rapids to a 3-2 comeback win over the El Salvadoran club Metapán. On Aug. 27, Fucito scored the fourth goal in the Sounders’ 6-2 demolition of the Columbus Crew.
Fucito, who has been receiving more playing time with the Sounders as of late, has appeared in 17 games and started in 10 so far in 2011. Out of his 17 appearances, 13 have come in regular-season MLS play, with his remaining appearances shared between the U.S. Open Cup and during continental club play in the 2011 CONCACAF Champions League.
At 13-5-9 on the year, Fucito and the Sounders currently hold the second-best record in MLS and stand in second in the Western Conference with 48 points, four points behind the LA Galaxy.
During his time at Harvard, Fucito completed his collegiate career ranked fourth in scoring in Crimson soccer annals with 32 career goals. He also boasts 24 assists despite playing injured in his final two seasons.
In just his second year in the MLS, Akpan has similarly been featured in many of the Colorado Rapids games this season. In his 12 game appearances, Akpan has started in five. During his time at Harvard, Akpan scored 47 goals and added 33 assists to finish his collegiate career as the Crimson’s all-time leading scorer.
At 10-7-11, the Rapids currently stand in fifth in the Western Conference with 41 points.
College is all about time management. With only 24 precious hours each day, we are constantly making choices about how to plan our schedules so that we can pass our classes and still make room for life’s important things: racking up kill streaks in Call of Duty, sinking jumpers at the MAC, and complaining about Ron and Sam’s dysfunctional relationship.
When all the day’s hours are finally divvied up, I’m going to take a wild guess and say that, for most students, not much time is left over for attending Harvard sporting events. (If this doesn’t apply to you then you should probably comp The Crimson’s sports board this semester).
For those of you who are only planning to make the trip across the river a few times this fall, we at The Back Page are here to help out. We’ve compiled a list of the top five Harvard sporting events to attend this fall so you can be a Crimson Crazy without spending too much time away from video games (or the library).
No. 5: Football vs. Penn. Nov. 12, 12 p.m.
“The Game” may get all the hype, but if the past two seasons are any indication, the Harvard-Penn matchup will be the one that decides who takes home the Ivy League title. This year appears to be no different, as the Quakers and Crimson enter the 2011 season predicted to finish first and second, respectively, in the Ancient Eight by the members of the media. This time around, Harvard will have home-field advantage, as the two-time defending champs will travel to Harvard Stadium in November.
No. 4: Men’s soccer vs. Northeastern. Sept. 4, 7 p.m.
Fans looking to get in a few games before classes start to heat up should take a trip to the Soldiers Field Soccer/Lacrosse Stadium this Sunday for the men’s soccer team’s season opener. The lights will be on as the Crimson take the pitch against cross-town rival Northeastern.
No. 3: Women’s soccer vs. Penn. Sept. 23, 6 p.m.
Talk about jumping right into the thick of things. The Harvard women’s soccer team kicks off its conference schedule against the reigning Ivy champions. And with only seven Ancient Eight matchups, an early loss would be disastrous for a Crimson squad seeking its third title in the last four years.
No. 2: Head of the Charles. Oct. 22-23.
While it’s not exactly clear how one should actually watch a crew race (are you supposed to run with the boats along the banks of the river or just sit there and watch for a few seconds as they pass by?), the Head of the Charles is not to be missed. The world’s largest two-day regatta will be back in Cambridge once again this October. If rowing doesn’t excite you, never fear. There should be enough free ice cream and popcorn in the tents set up along the river to keep you happy.
No. 1: Football at Yale. Nov. 19, 12:00 p.m.
I don’t think this one needs much explanation, but being in the stands (or parking lot) for “The Game” is well worth the trip to New Haven. The stakes could be even higher than usual when the two squads meet for the season finale this year, as both squads boast championship-caliber rosters.