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When Andy Puopolo came to Harvard, despite an outstanding high school career at Boston Latin, there were many who thought, and told him so, that he was too small to play Ivy League football. An on-again, off-again freshman season, a sophomore year spent mostly on the bench, and a painful and continually aggravated knee injury, would doubtless have been enough to convince almost anyone else to abandon their hopes for football stardom. But that wouldn't have been in character for Andy Puopolo. And it was this dedication, this will to persevere, and a quiet, unassuming, but ever-present sense of confidence in himself, which enabled him to emerge this year, not only as a starter at cornerback, but as a standout, a team leader in tackles, and a winner of player of the week honors. But Andy Puopolo was more than a football player. More even than a serious student who planned to attend medical school in the fall. He was the epitome of devotion, to his family, to his friends, and to his home community of Jamaica Plain.
Before the Yale game, at the final team dinner of the season, when Puopolo rose to make his statement to the team, as is the custom for each senior, he said that winning the Yale game would be for him merely frosting on the cake. The cake itself, he said, was simply playing on the team. From someone else it might have been no more than a lofty phrase, a platitude. But for Andy Puopolo, as anyone who knew him could testify, it was the simple truth.
It is hard to draw lessons from Andy Puopolo's death; its senselessness and brutality need no further clarification. But it is not at all hard to draw lessons from his life, for he was a beacon of light and optimism for all who had the fortune just to come into contact with him. To his family, and to all who mourn him, The Crimson extends its deep sympathy, and expresses its conviction that all whose lives he touched are better for having known him.
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