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Steve Snavely: In the Center of Things


Steve Snavely likes to be in the center of things.

"I'd rather go out and do things than sit around and theorize." Snavely explained last week. "I really like to go out and have a good time, although sometimes I guess I get a little out of hand."

Indeed he has been raucus on occasions. When Snavely was a freshman, he participated in several infamous parties in Thayer Hall, some of which resulted in considerable damage to his room.

And as a sophomore, the College reprimanded him for throwing frash cans from lofty vantage points in the Yard dorms.

Fortunately, no one was hurt by one of Steve's plummeting missiles. He, himself, has had a relatively injury-free life. His first and only football casualty struck him this year, an ankle sprain which caused him to miss most of the Cornell game.

However, he has managed to get injured at Harvard off the gridiron.

One weekend evening during Steve's turbulent sophomore year, he decided that he wanted to visit a friend in Kirkland House. But instead of conventionally walking up the stairs and knocking on the door, Snavely chose the Shakespearean route--he climbed the wall to enter through the window.

"I got up two stories and then I just felt," he recouted with a laugh. "I ended up landing in "the bushes feet-first and spraining both my ankles."

Slithering up walls is clearly not Snavely's forte, and although he passionately hates slinky reptiles, he answers to the monicker "Snake." Steve picked up the nickname in high school from the cartoon strip "Snake Snavely," and it's been his ever since.

Happy Youth

Snavely's hometown is Pittsburgh, where he attended Thomas Jefferson High School and starred in football as well as being president of his senior class. He admits that his happiest moments were then, when he led his team to the Pennsylvania state grid championship.

Steve says that his Harvard experience "hasn't been all that great" mainly due to major setbacks in his athletic career. In freshmen football, Snavely never broke into the regular line-up, and as a sophomore he abandoned his grid career completely because he didn't want to play under John Yovicson's coaching staff.

But the arrival of Restic & Co. helped him to decide to pursue football again. In his junior year, he was a second-string center, and now, after beating out strong competition. Snavely is the Crimson's starting snapper.

He loves the position and says he dreams about scoring his first touchdown.

Snavely's greatest thrill this season was his fumble recovery in the Cornell game. "I touch the ball every play, but it's a lot different when it's rolling out there in the open," he says. "I saw the thing and I didn't know what to do for a second. I just couldn't believe it was there for me to get. I just let out a week yell 'AAAHHH!' and then I pounced on it. Recovering that fumble really made me feel great."

Steve's favorite love has long been hitting the open road to appreciate the beauty of nature. "When I was in high school, I had a pick-up truck and I used to drive it to West Virginia--that's beautiful country. I seriously thought about buying 70 acres of that land near a lake, but I didn't because the price was too high."

"I used to go there alone quite a bit," he recalls. "During the day I'd just walk for hours gazing at the country; then at night. I'd lie in my sleeping bag wondering about things. It was so quiet the only things I'd hear were me and the crickets--God, was that great."

Snavely likes to see all kinds of scenery, and he says that viewing the East Coast has been great for that. But also his weekend jaunts have served to case the pressures of Harvard.

"I find one of the best things about this college is leaving it," he explained. "It's really nice to get away, and to top it off, the country's great out on the coast."

Traveling informally is the finest way to go, Steve says, and at the end of this year, he plans to wander across the U.S. for two months with Harvard hockey player Doug Elliott.

"Maybe we'll go down to Mexico and up through Canada," he said. "We'll just roam around, stay a week at each place. And whenever we're on the read and feel like stopping and goofing around, we'll do it."

Steve's ultimate plan is to enter the world of small business, and his involvement in his father's six-man run wholesale lumber company really stimulated his fascination in sales.

A good understanding of the principles of economics is helpful to the successful management of small business, Snavely believes, and since this will be his field, economics is his major at Harvard. The close involvement with people in a tiny company is "the great kind of contact that you can't get so totally in a big industry," Steve thinks. "You got to week really closely with all types of people--that's what makes this would so great."

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