Jock Talk: What's Ahead, John Harvard?

-Good afternoon, sports fans. Hugh Callem here, bringing you another season of Harvard sports. Today we're high stop Harvard stadium waiting for the kick-off to another excitement-packed year as the Crimson plunges into another sports campaign. And now I'd like to introduce my colleague. Anex Starr, former record-setting running back in the NFL. Anex will be doing the color commentary for our broadcasts this year.

"Anex, welcome abroad. You know, this is the time of year when the air is full of predictions. It seems that everyone is preoccupied with speculations about their favorite Harvard teams players and coaches, and are wondering how they will be doing in the months ahead. This early in the season there have to be a lot of uncertainties though so why don't you give the folks at home a little indepth analysis on the possibilities for the upcoming season? Give us some idea what is in store for us this year."

"You bet, Hung. Every year at this time the air is just flying with predictions. And there are a lot of things to keep people wondering after what happened last year."

"Like what, Anex?"

"Well, people who know are wondering if Joe Restic's wide-open offense is going to open up the action on the gridiron this year. Last season, after a big training-camp build-up, it really bogged down when the money was on the line. There were a lot of complaints that the only thing that his new system opened up were the mouths of yawning fans who were bored to death up in the stadium Saturday after Saturday.

"And then there's the basketball situation Hugh. That's really up in the air right now. There are rumors flying that there is dissension brewing between Bob Harrison and some of his squad. Last year's 15-11 record disappointed a lot of people especially when you've got talent like Brown. Fitzsimmons. Jenkins and Lewis. A close watch is going to be on Harvard's cagers this year to see whether they can put together the kind of season that everyone thinks they're capable of. And right along with that people are wondering if the basketball program up at Radcliffe is going to improve on last year's showing. It looked a little bleak up there at times last winter and Perla Hewes's squad while blessed with a lot of height, couldn't put it all together. Radcliffe fans are going to be carefully scrutinizing this year's, performance for improvement."

"That's right. Anex, you never know from one year to the next what's going to happen. There looks like there's some action down on the field. Yes...the Harvard band is coming out to do another of its risque pre-game shows. Let's listen for a while and talk some more about what folks can expect from Harvard this year."

"You bet, Hugh. Let's see....Another big question has to be Don Gambril's ability to overcome a sparse him of some of his best prospects. When all those swimming standouts that he'd lined up to build his East Coast empire decided not to come to Harvard after all, his plans to make the Crimson the class of Eastern swimming were given a pretty stiff shove backwards. Now the big question is whether or not he can overcome this setback and get a better season out of his high-geared swim program than last year's 5-4 record."

"Right you are. Anex. What kind of dope have you got on Harvard hockey?"

"Oh...that's good topic to bring up, Hugh. You know, strangely enough, hockey at Harvard is similar in some ways to track at Harvard--at least in the problems that the teams must face this year. Both Billy Cleary and Bill McCurdy are coming off sub-par seasons--at least by their standards--and folks are wondering whether they'll be able to come back. After last year, Cleary and McCurdy must have spent a lot of time sitting around wondering who pulled the rug out. The hockey squad that tore up the Eastern league during the first hall of last season wilted down the stretch especially when they got to the playoffs. And you know, McCurdy's thinclads had one injury after another last year. That had a real debilitating effect on Crimson chances. McCurdy just couldn't get all his horses together last year and as a result, his squad had its poorest showing in some time.

"And then there's Bruce Munro's lacrosse squad. Last spring, they had a pretty frustrating season, winning only three matches while dropping eight. The Crimson laxmen could manage but one win in the Ivies, an overtime triumph against Dartmouth Munro and a lot of other people are going to keep their eyes on what the laxmen do this spring. There is a lot of room for change if things don't shape up better than a year ago."

"Thanks, Anex. There seems to be some activity down on the looks like its time for the loss of the coin. They're introducing the captains. It looks like we're just about to get under way. There's the toss...and Harvard wins it. The Crimson chooses to receive and Harvard will defend the goalpost in the open end of the stadium. Anex while we've got a minute, let's look at some of the areas where the Crimson figure to be strong this year. You've given us a good look at the weaknesses, but let's examine what we could call Harvard's strengths."

You bet. Hugh. Once again the Crimson figures to be very strong in soccer and baseball. And Radcliffe looks powerful in field hockey. Over the years Harvard has put together really strong programs in these areas and it doesn't look like they will have much trouble keeping up the pace this year. In fact, the success that they have had in the past is the biggest thing going against them. If they don't measure up to the outstanding seasons they they've put together the last couple of year folks will say that they don't have even if they've put together good performances by other teams standards. What everybody is Cambridge is wondering is just how this year's performances will measure up to the glories of other years."

"It will be hard for the Crimson 'booters to match last year's success story that carried Harvard all the way to the NCAA soccer semifinals before knocking them out. Once again Harvard will tackle an 11 game schedule, and, from here, it doesn't look like anyone on it can match Bruce Munroe's powerful squad. Another Ivy League title seems to be coming toward Cambridge.

"In baseball. Loyal Park doesn't seem to have many woes either. He generally gets the pick of Boston area diamond stars to go with some pretty classy performers from the rest of the country. Last spring Harvard won the Eastern League title. Prospects for this year look at least that good, and with a pitcher of Roz Brayton's calibre. Park is in pretty good shape for the coming season.