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John Ballantyne happens to be the most self-confident Crimson football player this year. "I mean what else do you have going for you when you're as small as I am?" John said.
Ballantyne (5' 9" . 165 Ibs.) is a starting halfback on the Crimson squad this season and potentially the most explosive weapon in the Crimson backfield. Along with his self-confidence, John has a knack for finding small gaps in the defense and darting through them for sizeable gains. While playing for Harvard. John has averaged a little over six yards a carry.
Both these ingredients have also proven to be John's stumbling blocks. In high school, John was a quarterback, and he got used to running the team. "Once you've played quarterback, you just don't want to play any other position. So when I started to play football here. I naturally wanted to play that position. Quarterbacks my size in college are rare occurrences." John said.
However. John did try to play quarterback at Harvard three times. "I'd come back after a summer and figure I'd try to play quarterback but then I'd be moved back to halfback and would have to learn the position all over again." John explained.
John decided to stay at halfback permanently last fall. This year he is a starter. "I was confident that I'd start, but I just had to wait." he said.
John began his football career twelve years ago. as a 4'7' fifth grader. Just before he entered high school, John grew a few inches and put on some weight. So he decided to participate in some athleties at Paul D. Schreiber High School in Port Washington, New York. By the time he graduated. he had won three letters each in football, baseball, and basketball. In his senior year. all three teams finished first. and the football team was undefeated.
After high school. John attended Lawrenceville for a year, where he played tailback in a single wing offense. In nine games. John amassed 1800 yards total offense, running for 14 touchdowns and passing for another 10. "I guess that's where I got my reputation as a running back." he said.
John happens to be a sort of Harvard anachronism-he is a full-fledged jock. "I place equal importance on academics and athletics. I have no time for radical politics or social involvement. And I don't mind being called a jock." he said.
As a jock. John participates in all sorts of sports during the off-season. He learned to box early in his career and during the summer he keeps in shape by beating a tackling dummy senseless with lead-padded lacrosse gloves. "Three or four rounds of that is about as strenuous as a football game." he said.
He can also be found on the golf course during the summer months. but usually not playing golf. "I put on heavy construction boots and run around the course for a while."he said. In the spring. John plays second base for the varsity baseball team.
John also happens to be a pretty fair painter. "By the time we get our room decorated there should be about 25 Ballantynes on the walls." John said. "My style is reminiscent of Picasso." he added sheepishly.
During the football season. John never smokes and only occasionally will he let liquor pass his lips. He never touches pot. "Personally. I'd rather eat a lollipop." he said.
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