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Soaking Up the Bennies

A Little Too Young?

By Bennett H. Beach

I'm sick and tired of hearing about Frank Champi. I'd imagine that even Frank Champi is tired of hearing about Frank Champi. But I would like to add an opinionated footnote to the Champi ease.

The day that Boston writers and broadcasters breathed down John Yovicsin's neck to get his words of wisdom on the quitting of the quarterback. the Harvard coach made an interesting statement which was heard on the late news that night. I'm not referring to his comment that quitting is likely to hurt Frank more than the team. Near the end of the long tape, Yovicsin said. "I know that Frank is 21 years old, but I think he's still too young to make such a big decision."

Yes, Harvard football is pretty big. But I think that Yovicsin considers it to be a lot bigger and more important than it really is. Of course. if Champi were indispensable to the team. then the decision would have been more crucial. but I don't think anyone who was really informed ever felt that his departure would deal a crushing blow to Harvard's chances for success. Smith had shown himself to be of about the same ability as Champi early in the season. So how big a decision was it. Yovicsin referred to it as "such a big decision." But I think he's carried away with Harvard football. and I'm sure Champi has made bigger decisions in his life.

The really surprising part of Yovicsin's statement, however. is the suggestion that Champi is too young to arrive at a conclusion on such a vital issue. How old must one be to decide to quit football. Harvard football. that is? I don't think such a decision requires the wisdom of one beyond Champi's age.

Maybe Yovicsin felt that he. as coach, was in a position to determine whether or not his quarterback should continue to play even when he did not enjoy the sport anymore. Champi thought for a long time about quitting. and he said that everyone he discussed it with agreed that it was a sound decision since football was no longer fun. So the question remains. if Yovicsin does not feel that Champi is old enough to make a decision about a facet of his own life. whom does he recommend as the person to make the decision for Champi?

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