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He is six feet tall, weighs 180 pounds, has broad shoulders and a stocky build. Sounds like the perfect guy you would want on your squad in House football action, right? Well, true to his description, he claims the position of quarterback for the Quincy House football team. Something else, however, should be mentioned about this man.
He is 52 years old.
David Aloian '49, master of Quincy House, wants to play ball, and, in fact, he is going to. Aloian played quarterback on the Harvard freshman football team in 1945 and will return to the gridiron once again this Thursday afternoon when Q-World takes on Eliot.
In actuality, Aloian intends to guide Quincy for only a few plays Thursday, leaving the bulk of responsibility to starting quarterback Terry Wilson. Nevertheless, his participation is an unprecedented event in House football history.
Aloian explained his involvement, "There's a little bit of Walter Mitty in all of us." He added, "Sometimes we take our work too seriously. I think it is good to do a zany thing once in a while."
In addition to being master at Quincy House, Aloian is executive director of Associated Harvard Alumni. He was headmaster at the Concord Academy from 1962 to 1970 and headmaster of the Belmont Hill School from 1971 to 1978.
Steve Nicholas, head coach of the Q-World pigskin squad, is determined to use Aloian in the game. "We're going to play him, and if we're ahead we may put him in for more than a series of downs. The amount of playing time Aloian will see depends entirely on what the score is."
"We're happy to have him, and we seriously think he's going to be all right since he has played football in the past," Nicholas added.
The 52-year-old quarterback hopes that the Eliot defensive line will treat him with "utmost respect," but what if E-House decides to assert some aggressiveness? After all, as any spectator of House football knows, the possibility certainly exists that things could get a little rough out there.
"God, I hope not," Aloian said. Well, what about that, Eliot?
"I think, speaking only for myself, that I would be a little afraid to hit and hurt a 52-year-old housemaster," said Eliot defensive lineman Doug Coatesworth. "But, we're not going to let up on the rush."
Coatesworth added, "I don't think that they [the Eliot defensive line] will be any rougher than they normally would be. But, I'm not sure that they'll be any easier, either."
"We've got some big boys," Coatesworth warned. "I'm not sure that if one of them hit him had, he wouldn't get hurt. We are still going to try and get to him."
"I would just like to remind the Eliot team that I have a wife and three children," Aloian said.
Quincy offensive right tackle Jeff Levey does not foresee the possibility of Aloian confronting an oncoming 240-pound Eliot linesman. "He is safe with us, because we are the best in the league. He needs no insurance."
Aloian said the Quincy football squad has no grievances about his participation. "I asked a lot of them and they were enthusiastic about it. I would not play if they thought my involvement was going to be in any way bad."
"Besides," said Levey, "He can only be an asset since he has played Harvard football."
Quincy tight end Art O'Keefe knew Aloian when he attended the Belmont Hill School. "I think that he wants to show his interest in the House in as many ways as he can. At Belmont, he went to as many sports event as possible to show enthusiasm for the school."
O'Keefe said he supports Aloian's plan because "he is going out on a limb, risking his body for the House."
Aloian is unsure whether he will pursue his career as back-up quarterback for any significant length of time. "I'll take one game at a time, and if I avoid disaster, I'll play again. But we'll see."
Still, Aloian is not worried. "I am in fair shape for someone who is 52 years old. I play tennis twice a week."
Rough 'em up, David.
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