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It -was great last year. Harvard was undefeated, they were playing Dowling's Invincible the next afternoon, and the Harvard Band was there at Dillon Field House to salute the squad when it came out for its final practice. George Lalich's father had come all the way from Chicago with gangster hats that read RUB OUT YALE, and was passing them out.
Everyone wanted a piece of the Crimson football team one year ago. But yesterday you couldn't give it away. No one is interested in a loser, unless he loses in style, as the Mets used to. Harvard has been losing regularly, and now no one really cares any more. Harvard does not lose very colorfully.
It was cold outside Dillon Field House yesterday afternoon. It was after five o'clock, and it was quite dark. The Crimson, under the direction of veteran coach John Yovicsin, was practicing on a field near the track bubble, and the turf was so wet, slippery, and sponge-like it really didn't seem worth it.
Yovicsin was pacing back and forth with a white towel around his neck, supervising the action. His assistant coaches were running their individual segments of the squad through drills, and there were running their individual segments of the squad through drills, and there were a few managers cleaning off balls and attending to various necessities. There was no one else around. The Band hadn't come down. The undergraduates who had been buzzing around Dillon last year were not there this time. But George Lalich's father was, and it was all pretty sad.
Mr. Lalich burst into the Crimson locker room with a get-with-it attitude. This is not exactly the way to score heavily with the Harvard varsity this fall.
"All right you guys," he hollered. "What the hell's the matter here. With the talent you got, there's no reason why you should be like this. Just because a quarterback quits on you, it wrecks your season. Let's have a little spirit."
Mr. Lalich began handing out GET WITH IT buttons, and it was all very clear that he still thinks that it is 1968 all over again. It isn't, and Lalich was sadly mistaken if he thinks that all that is missing is a little old school spirit.
Spirit will win you a ball game that you wouldn't otherwise win, but you have to play a fairly solid brand of football in the process. Harvard hasn't, and only the most uninitiated observer of the Harvard team this fall has failed to notice it.
Harvard can win at the Bowl tomorrow, but it must play a game that it has not played yet this fall. It will not have to play a super game, because Yale is not a super team. But Yale is damn good, and there is no way that it could have forgotten its humiliation at Cambridge last fall. Brad Lee, the Eli whose fumble of Harvard's on side kick kept the Crimson alive last fall, will be starting at right guard tomorrow, and he hasn't forgotten.
If Yale coach Carmen Cozza is able, he will never let up tomorrow. He did last year, and Yale kicked away the game. Harvard must beat Yale to win, for the Bulldogs will not beat themselves.
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