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Soaking Up the Bennies

By Bennett H. Beach

Last fall when he was elected captain of the 1969 football team, John Cramer said, "We should be very good next year, especially on offense." Cramer cannot legitimately be criticized for naivete because the outlook really was good. Nor is it appropriate to throw any more barbs at a beleaguered team. But it is interesting to note that while people were throwing about cheery predictions for the football team last fall and even this fall, almost nothing was heard about what might become of the cross country or soccer teams. As it turns out, both finished regular season play undefeated, highly ranked nationally, and the soccer team may even win a national title.

Of course. the soccer team went through some of the same motions last year as the football squad has during the past few months. No one would argue that the 1968 booters suffered from a lack of talent. There were some bad injuries, but not enough to explain the team's collapse. After going through the first eight games without a loss, the booters crumbled to finish 2-3-2 in the Ivy League and barely escape the cellar. "It has been a disappointing season." coach Bruce Munro said at the time. Meanwhile, Munro wasn't earning much praise from those who followed soccer in those dismal days. And at that time. everyone loved coach John Yovicsin and his miracle team which won in spite of itself.

As the World Turns

It's easy to see how that situation has switched this fall. Munro really seems to have worked some psychological wonders with his team, and after some uninspiring early-season play, the players themselves opted in favor of teamwork. They have been up for games. The football squad's predicament speaks for itself, unfortunately. It would be a great relief to Harvard people who care about such things if next year Yovicsin could produce the same sort of psychological therapy as Munro has this fall. But, then again, the two men are very different from each other. Maybe captain Gary Farneti can effect some changes in the level of team spirit.

And year after year, the cross country team is winning dual meet after dual meet. No one thinks in terms of a winning or losing season; he thinks in terms of being undefeated. The harriers completed their third such season a few weeks ago, and at least a few people noticed. They were less than awe-inspiring in the important national meets just held. so they haven't always performed at the high levels they are able to. but it was only on two days. With talent, work, and a real unity they did prove themselves to be among the top few teams in the country before the discouraging finales.

Who Knows?

Yet how many people knew about it? Most observers are under the impression that it has been a most discouraging fall for Harvard in sports. They have those thoughts because day after day they read about, and hear about, the football team and its tragedies. The Boston newspapers run stories almost daily about the upcoming football game, and then on Sunday there is a gigantic story on it. The most mention the soccer team usually gets is a score in a column with other soccer scores.

News and Views of Harvard Sports ran a big article on our 24-10 loss to Dartmouth on page one, with a little box in the top right corner saying. "Cross Country, Soccer Remain Unbeaten (See pages 6, 7)." Things have changed a bit recently, but it is still amazing that such accomplished athletes can go so unpublicized.

It will be interesting to see what happens in the fall of 1970, The cross country and soccer teams will again be loaded with talent. They will have little to gain and much to lose. The football team, and coach Yovicsin, will have an opportunity to produce and show that 1969 was just one of those years, if it was.

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