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Soccer Fullback Gray Embarrassed, But Not by Crimson's Shutout Streak

By Robert W. Gerlach

"Yes, I'm from the CRIMSON, and I'd like to get some information for a profile on you," I began.

Bob Gray's laughter immediately answered at the other end of the phone. "Me? I'm not worth a profile. Besides, I'd just be embarrassed," he argued. "Can't you call someone else?"

Not worth a profile? Bob Gray, senior fullback of the varsity soccer team, was wrong. Now he is embarrassed.

Why do people think that profiles have to uncover the fact that your local jock captained three high school sports, played in All-State Orchestra, was valedictorian of his class, and spends his summers mountain climbing in Nepal?

Never in Nepal

I've met enough guys like that at Harvard, and all that information does is let me answer someone when he says, "Say, who is that guy over there?" So next time the guy on your side nudges you and says, "Who's number 28?", you can answer, "Gray, but he never was in Nepal."

Bob comes from Dedham, Mass., a town Sacco and Vanzetti and not the Gray's put on the maps. At Noble and Greenough he played hockey and baseball besides captaining what he recalls was "a very lousy soccer team."

Every amateur soccer player knows that fullback is the worst position in the world to play. In intramurals, the best booters rush to the front line positions and then tell the shy beginners to "give it a try at fullback." Ten seconds later the semi-pros are charging down the field with the ball, smiling greedily as they spot their innocent prey attempting to stop them.

The situation is even worse for a varsity fullback. What are you trying to do as a fullback? Either kick the ball out of bounds or boom it as far away from the goal as possible. Neither move brings oohs or ahhhs from the crowd because of fancy footwork.

If a foreign exchange student with a 90 m. ph. kick is coming at you, you have the glorious assignment of standing there. Few players look graceful when a ball smashes off their shins.

Another factor enters the situation-failure. When the fullback, running back wards, fails to stop the lineman speeding forward, there is no one behind him but the two-foot wide goalie and what looks like a net 100 yards wide.

In commenting on his own play, Bob carefully selected his adjectives and answered, "nothing spectacular." How spectacular can trying to get hit by a ball be? In commenting on Gray's play coach Bruce Munro said, "He's had his ups and downs. He's played some real good games and he's had some lapses." Roughly translated, that means he sometimes gets hit with the ball.

Who Else?

But Harvard's defense had a string of 22 scoreless periods going into yesterday's Dartmouth game. Asked whether or not that was an indication of the fullback play, Munro replied, "Who else could be doing it if not the fullbacks?"

Gray emphasized his role as a contributor to the team when questioned about his individual play. "In practice I try to concentrate on learning to anticipate the moves of the guys I play with," Bob said.

Still preoccupied with team coordination, Gray added, 'It's also important that the fullbacks keep up a steady communication between the goalie and the halfbacks."

ROTC Obligations

After the soccer season you might call Gray a conscientious student. You might call him that, but actually he just doesn't have any other outside activities during the year. Bob's only post-graduate plans are a three-year stint in the Navy to fulfill his ROTC obligations and then further studies toward a master's degree in social relations.

Bob mentions that he may someday teach, but he is far from definite. Like a lot of people, Gray just doesn't have any specific plans to carve a legend for himself in Harvard's annals.

Bob Gray is like a lot of people, except now he is embarrassed.

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