Milt Holt to Pat McInally; it changed my life.
And now after three years, I will tell all. Grab yourself a National Enquirer and some kleenex, and read on:
It was better than Ayds' reducing plan ("Lose twenty pounds in three weeks and be a new person"); winning the Massachusetts lottery did not match it.
See, it was another lonely Saturday afternoon in November, 1974. The sky was grey, and I sat by my television lamenting the fact that the Three Stooges were not on during the weekend.
I started watching this football game, they were calling it "THE GAME," and these two guys Holt and McInally were going gonzo for Harvard while their fans were jumping up and down and throwing empty bottles of Southern Comfort.
But the other team was keeping close, I think they were from somewhere in Connecticut. The game all came down to the closing minutes with McInally throwing a pass to this other guy Curry and Holt leading his charges downfield on a clutch drive and scoring the winning touchdown with sixteen seconds left.
It was awesome. I hadn't been so excited since they started showing the night version of Hollywood Squares.
What's the bottom line? I had been giving some thought to going to college the following year. Some of my friends had gone for a while and they said it was a lot of fun, that you did not have to turn in homework on time or even attend study halls.
So I said why not apply to this school, Harvard? Chris Schenkel had said that this guy McInally was going to play professional football so it seemed that the place had success in placing its graduates in good jobs.
What really sold me though was the halftime film they showed about the school. The television said that Henry Kissinger had gone there and then they showed this Harvard Yard just before a graduation, with luscious green grass and hot sun filtering through the trees. I knew it was the only place for me.
The rest is history. I was accepted the following April and I am no longer lonely. Now I have friends to sit and watch Spiderman reruns with me.
Typical story heard in the Union? Not so. And that is something that Jack Reardon and the rest of the people at 60 Boylston should keep in mind as they expand their efforts to make Harvard sports teams more competitive and remain in the bigtime.
Few people are going to come to Harvard because the team won the Ivy League or made three television appearances. In other words, the aim of recruiting, or "assessing athletic talent" as the women are calling the proposed travels of coaches, should not be to improve Harvard's prestige.
Don't get me wrong. I'm all for freshmen playing on varsity teams, and for coaches visiting players. I enjoy being able to cheer for a good team, and scream, "Screw B.U." on the subway all the way back from Boston Garden.
And why not have some good athletes here? Harvard prides itself on having a diverse and multi-talented student body. Recruiters visit high schools in search of student council presidents and support the band. No problem in keeping up with the other schools who are recruiting.
The point is that the athletic department should not lose track of the interests of the student. It is one thing to visit a prospective student and tell him what the school has to offer--a low pressure athletic program being one of the attractions. It would be a disaster if Harvard gets caught in high pressure recruiting and starts offering free weekends in Cambridge, free dinners, and a free and easy ride through four years at Harvard.
Also, it would be a shame if Harvard, which has now managed to get its sports program classified as bigtime, will start going the economy route of some of the big football powers and start dropping non-prestige minor sports from the program. Many freshman teams have already been dropped (soccer went to just two teams this fall) in recent years, a trend which should be reversed.
A strong interscholastic sports program is good, but only if students are still able to participate in and enjoy it.
Next week: Fish Tales on the true story behind the Fishnet bathing suit.
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