The Beloit Bomber

Grin and Barrett

Bob Ferry and Monroe Trout led the Crimson to a comeback win over Merrimack on Saturday, but the real hero of the day way a lanky ex-bench warmer from Beloit College in Wisconsin.

Clay Neville stole the show at half-time, when he stepped casually to the mid-court line, took a deep breath, and then heaved a 50-ft. overhand banker into the bucket--good for two points and a three-day trip for two to Bermuda.

During every Harvard home game, spectators may enter a half-court shooting contest sponsored by Crimson Travel. Mr. Henry Zimmerman '25, Harvard's widely recognized Most Loyal Fan of the Century, chooses three names from a cardboard box, and three people usually embarrass themselves by tossing airballs.

The Bermuda Shoot is part of what makes Harvard basketball games the homey, fun-for-the-whole-family get-togethers that they are. It's one of the things that reminds the partisans to take the sport a little less than too seriously. The IAB, the ragtag Harvard band, and the pack of little kids who play bumper cars at the foot of the grandstand serve the same purpose.

How, you may ask, did a handsome 6-ft., 5-in. biology major from a small Midwest school get mixed up in this charming scene? Well, the story is almost too cute to be true.


Clay Neville visited Cambridge over the weekend ("My first time East, ever!") to see his girl friend Nancy Wilson, a Winthrop House sophomore. They took the required tour--Fogg Art Museum, John Hancock Building, Faneuil Hall--and then decided to catch a little Harvard hoop with some of Nancy's friends.

Someone thought it would be funny to enter Clay's name in the Bermuda Shoot contest. "None of us would have made it, and we knew Clay would have if they picked him," said Ken Wells, who later confessed to the fortuitous prank.

Before the game, Wells even asked Mr. Zimmerman (no one calls Mr.Zimmerman Henry) to pull Clay's name. A man far above petty favoritism, Mr. Zimmerman put the request out of his mind.

Yet, lo and behold, who should be the third person called from the stands to try his luck with the roundball, but Clay Neville--his entire cheering section, and especially his sweetheart, screeching in anticipation.

When ball careemed off the back board, slammed into the front of the rim, and then dropped cleanly through the twines, the crowd could not restrain itself. Even the Merrimackians leapt to their feet and bellowed their admiration for this titan from the wheat belt. Nancy catapulted from her seat to give the conqueror a well-deserved victory embrace.

"We do that stuff (half-court heaving) all the time at school," said Clay after the second half had begun and attention was again focused on the Crimson's struggle.

Humble, polite, and obviusly thrilled at having done his woman proud in front of her friends, he analyzed the strategy of long-distance trick shooting: "I saw the other people trying to push it with two hands, so I just decided to go overhand."

Despite his status as the second Bermuda Shoot winner--as fast as Mr. Zimmerman can remember, anyway--Clay has no plans to return to his second-string forwards's spot for the Beloit Buccaneers. He quit just two weeks ago because, Nancy cuts in, "They were just making him practice too much." The Buccaneers' loss is apparently the botany lab's gain.

And who would we the lucky person to accompany Clay on his dream weekend? He and Nancy just started deeply; from somewhere the sound of violins...ah, to be young and on your way to the Caribbean.

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