Every year at this time a huge hot air mass rises out of Princeton, N.J. It has a curious origin. It's not one of Mother Nature's little whims brought on by margarine commercials and you'll never see it on any weather map. This annual phenomenon originates in the delusions of Princeton's lightweight oarsmen, a group of pseudo-masochists who secretly harbor the belief that someday they will beat Harvard in lightweight crew.
And so, when Harvard, Princeton and Yale meet this Saturday to vie for the Goldthwaite Cup on the Housatonic River in Derby, Conn., the boys from Old Nassau will once again be making a grab for a real live Harvard jersey.
You see, the impressionable young girls of Princeton aren't buying the store-bought Harvard T-Shirts (Coop, $2.95) that the Tiger lightweights have been passing off as real the last 15 years. The Tigers want the real McCoy this time.
Same Ole Story
This year it's the same ole story. Princeton wins its first three races and starts talking about beating Harvard. Well, Harvard hasn't lost to Princeton since 1957, and if the sentiment around Newell Boat House is any indication, there isn't about to be a change in that trend.
That's not to say that Princeton is a patsy. Far from it. This year's Tiger lightweight eight is a pretty damn tough unit. Last year's Princeton freshman boat was one of the fastest lightweight contingents ever to be assembled at the freshman level in the East. Add to that the departure of Princeton lightweight mentor, Woody Fischer (perennial second-placer to Harvard in his tenure at Old Nassau), and the advancement of last year's freshman coach Guy Kirkpatrick to the varsity level, and the Tigers are sitting pretty.
Princeton has looked good this year, no mistake about it. But Harvard has looked equally good (margin of victory times are dead even) and in a race such as this, tradition is a big plus to have on your side.
Crimson coach John Higginson, tactfully noncommittal about the race, said last night that the Tigers have "really been moving along" against common opponents, but added (allowing himself an unusual degree of prognosticating liberty) "we're not in any way underdogs. They may be even with us, but they're not better."
Higginson described practice this week as "very good, a good tough week." The lightweights have been working out with the freshman heavyweights and Harry Parker's varsity. Higginson feels that Saturday's race will be tight all the way.
Higginson will go with the same lineup that has carried him through the first three races this year. Peter Huntsman will row bow, followed by Crimson captain Andy Narva at two, Tim Hackert at three, Roger Bohn at four, Todd Howard at five, Linc Lyman at six, George Host at seven and Rick Grogan at stroke. John Bowie will cox.