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If You Can't Get a Rhodes, There's Still Hope

Savoir-Faire on Grad School

By Michael K. Savit

You already know about the biggies. Rhodes, Marshall, Fulbright, Rotary, take your pick. Only the country and amount of money is changed to prevent too many Harvard people from running into each other.

And then there are the traditional grad schools. Harvard this, Harvard that, Columbia this, Yale that, "I can't wait until Thursday morning to read the weekly happenings at the OCS-OCL."

Which brings us to the point, because next September a new opportunity will spring forth that most seniors are currently unaware of. Now don't worry, applications aren't due for two weeks yet so there's still plenty of time, and the lone requirement is the ability to guzzle a six-pack while watching the Gong Show.

And even if you aren't all that interested in the Floyd S. Wilson Graduate School of Intramural Athletics, at least keep reading a little further, because remember, you have to keep those options open.

There is one senior at the university, however who is not only aware of this opportunity but who applied to the school, appropriately named after Floyd S. Wilson, the Director of Intramural Athletics at Harvard, early decision.

Bob Bowman has yet to hear whether or not he has been accepted, but if Bowman is refused entrance, then there's no hope for any of us.

Just who is Bob Bowman? In addition to being a senior, a Winthrop House resident and an economics major, activities that consume at most three hours time each week, Bowman is the Winthrop House Athletic Secretary, a position that he has held since last spring.

Unlike some extracurricular activities, which are all talk and good for grad school applications but no work whatsoever, Bowman's position is both physically and mentally demanding.

"What exactly does this position require of you?" Bowman was asked in his C-entry penthouse suite yesterday afternoon (editor's note-Bowman had to be woken up for the interview).

"Nothing."

"Could you expand?"

"Not very much."

Bowman, though, has a reputation around the campus for being modest. When prodded, the modesty wore off and the truth emerged.

"Actually," he said, "the athletic secretaries from all the houses have a weekly meeting except for the three times a month when something else comes up. Attendance is not encouraged, and we meet for from five to eight minutes."

When otherwise engaged (currently playing in Boston), Bowman's schedule truly portrays a Renaissance man. Name the intramural sport and he has either played it, coached it or partied after it.

If Harvard ever doubted the merits of its "Athletics For All" philosophy, Bob Bowman stands as a sterling example of why this philosophy should be maintained.

Without intramural athletics, Bowman, and others like him, would be like an alcoholic without a Father's Six. For Bowman, intramurals represent not an extracurricular but the only curricular activity. "I'd say that I spend about 110 per cent of my time involved with intramurals," Bowman said yesterday afternoon (which was really morning for him). When questioned as to what he does the other 20 per cent of the time, Bowman refused to comment.

In addition to the obvious benefits to be derived from such an intramural life, there are financial ones for people like Bowman who rise in the hierarchy to the position of athletic secretary.

For one thing, there's $250 a term in varsity money. "But most of that usually goes to signing big-name athletes to play for Winthrop House" Bowman said while doing his best George Steinbrenner imitation. "Why, I had to give Mullen $60 to play hockey."

Under Bowman's leadership, Winthrop House captured the coveted Strauss Cup last year, awarded annually to the house which garners the most points in intramural competition.

This entire subject of intramural sports, of course, is an extremely touchy one around the upper echelons of the university. Questions of space and monetary allocations for non-varsity athletes rank right up there with the DNA controversy, but as far as Bowman is concerned, there shouldn't be any questions whatsoever.

"Just look at the benefits of intramural athletics" he shouted into his sweatshirt. "They provide opportunities to work off the beer from the party the night before and they get you out of bed before dinner."

This last consideration, of course, is especially appropriate during reading period, when intramurals rage on as if exams were just a figment of some admissions officer's imagination.

And then to make his point, Bowman emphasized how many people benefit from the intramural program. "On the one hand," he said, "there are studs like me, and on the other, people like you."

With such credentials, it is more than surprising that Bowman wasn't accepted into the Floyd S. Wilson Graduate School of Intramural Athletics as soon as he sent in a postcard requesting an application.

After all, he's got the geographical distribution (Milwaukee), the connections (he knows Wilson) and the drinking capacity. And besides, at last count, there was no one else applying.

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