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Notorious G.I.Z.

Life After Death

By Eduardo Perez-giz

I will always remember The Shot.

There were 44 seconds left, and Harvard had the ball and a tenuous one-point lead over Stanford. Everyone in the house thought the rock was going to Allison Feaster--and why not? All she did was score 35 points and pull down 13 rebounds that night.

But the Crimson fooled them all.

Feaster was double-teamed at the top of the key, so she gave the ball to point guard Lisa Kowal. It's the NCAA Tournament, you're playing live on ESPN, you're the No. 16 seed on the verge of making history by defeating the No. 1 seed and you give the ball to a freshman? But Kowal knew what to do.

She dribbled, she drove and she dished--dished to forward Suzie Miller at the three-point arc. Miller wasn't in the corner, but she wasn't quite on the wing either. She was somewhere in between, right were she needed to be.

She just caught and shot, with no hesitation and no doubts. Swish! And the bench went crazy. And Maples Pavilion fell silent. And Harvard slew the beast, 71-67.

My fingers quivered with excitement that night as I wrote my article.

I will always remember The Drive.

Harvard was down 21-16 after surrendering a touchdown to Yale with just 1:39 to play. It was over. For the ninth time in a 10-game season, the Crimson had found a way to lose.

But Fate had other plans.

Quarterback Vin Ferrara took the field--injured elbow and all--completed a 19-yard pass to tight end Andy Laurence and threw a five-yarder to tight end Adam Golla. But on the next play he overthrew tailback Eion Hu, and a Yale defender tipped the ball.

That's when Fate intervened. Fate guided the ball right into Golla's waiting lap for a 23-yard gain to Yale's 15-yard line.

Half the Yale Bowl fell silent, and the other half was deafening. All eyes were on Hu, Harvard's all-time leading rusher who ran for 175 yards that day. With 29 seconds left, those eyes saw Hu scamper into the end zone to steal a victory and redeem a season.

I stormed the field that day; I wrote two articles that night. I called Hu a "giant among men." Forgive me, I was only a freshman.

I sat in the crowd for the 112th Game because I wanted to experience it as a fan, not as a reporter. I hadn't realized yet that there was not much difference.

I had a great seat two years later at Stanford. When Miller hit her shot I jumped halfway to the ceiling and Sports Editor Jamal Greene '99 had to grab my arm and pull me down. We were, after all, supposed to be impartial journalists.

But then Jamal looked at me, his eyes grew wide and all he said was "Oh my God, Ed! Oh my God!" We always tried to remain objective when we wrote, but we were never objective when we watched.

I will always remember Jamal's writing.

He's the best writer The Crimson has had in four years; that's why he is graduating to a job at Sports Illustrated. If you're still not convinced, read his column in this issue.

I will always remember how difficult it was at times to remain unbiased.

We in The Crimson's sports department are Harvard's biggest fans. We always want the Crimson to put the biscuit in the basket, go yard and chalk up another 'W.' But it didn't always work out that way, and then it was our job to say that Harvard had messed up.

That was tough. But there are usually two ways to look at things. Maybe Harvard hadn't messed up; maybe the opponent was just too good that day. I always preferred the second explanation.

So I didn't always take a completely impartial position. I've never claimed to be an excellent journalist. Luckily, The Crimson is not a professional newspaper, although many editors here like to take themselves very seriously.

I just love to write, and I love sports. To combine the two only seemed logical. My time as a writer and editor and even the insane hours I put in as an Associate Sports Editor never seemed like a job--never mind that nobody ever gave me a paycheck.

Two weeks before my senior thesis was due I was still covering basketball games for the newspaper. Why? Because basketball and journalism gave me four years of pleasure. What had my thesis ever given me? Honors, schmonors.

The Crimson was a diversion from academic pressures, just like sports are a diversion for millions from life's daily grind, just like college is a diversion from reality. That's why I never wanted to write for the news department; the sports department is much more fun. I'm with the Piano Man--I'd rather laugh with the sinners than cry with the saints.

Not that it was always easy. There were long nights, seemingly endless road trips and annoying individuals. But as I look back, the good greatly outweighs the bad, and only the memories remain.

I will always remember the great people I worked with.

There was Jamal, his predecessor Becky Blaeser '98 and his successors Danny Habib '00 and Bryan Lee '00. I learned something different from each one.

I will always remember the athletes who made it special.

There were the superstars like Feaster and Hu, and then there were the ones who were never the stars, but who always bled Crimson. Most of the nation would consider bleeding Crimson laughable when compared to bleeding Carolina Blue, but I am graduating in Cambridge, not in Chapel Hill, N.C.

I will always remember the moments: Naomi Miller's playoff goal in 1997, Tasha Cupp's perfect game in 1998, Katie Gates's half-court buzzer beater in 1999.

There was women's hockey's national title in 1999, men's squash's national title in 1998, men's squash's national title in 1997 and men's squash's national title in 1996.

I will always remember watching my home-town Florida Marlins win the 1997 World Series and writing an article about it the next day.

Those were the perks of The Crimson. But there were obligations as well. My responsibility during the last four years has been to disseminate information about Harvard athletics. Whether or not I have done that well is for the readers to decide.

I know that what I wrote in my editorial columns was not always correct. However, I do hope that my writing has always been fair and positive.

I always wanted to make those readers who weren't at the games feel the excitement that those of us who were at the games felt. If I accomplished that, then I am happy.

My diversion is over, and now reality awaits. And when I arrive, like Roy Hobbs (in the movie, not the book), I plan to swing away.

But I will always remember The Shot.

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