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Well played, Harvard, summa cum laude
Ron Fimrite
November 12, 1973
It is testimony to their, shall we say, sangfroid that Ivy Leaguers are not the least defensive about the mutually exclusive brand of football they play. While pigskin Philistines may protest that the Ivies are merely bush, the cloistered scholar-athletes of the northeastern seaboard will suggest in rebuttal that it is not so much how you play the game as how it comes out. Or something like that.
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November 12, 1973

Well Played, Harvard, Summa Cum Laude

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It was the sort of seesaw, now-we've-got-'em-now-we-don't contest that the Ivies dismiss as routine. It is doubtful that either of these teams could have crossed the 50-yard line against, say, Ohio State, but that is missing the point. The Ivy Leaguers are not in that league and they do not wish to be. They limit their schedule to only nine games, seven of which they play against each other; they eschew spring football and they do not demand of their players that they devote hours better spent absorbing Hegelian dialectic to reviewing game films or committing playbooks to rote. What they mainly offer is close, spirited competition, flavored occasionally by the performances of some athletes, like Clune, who are topflight. Ivy Leaguers can make it as pros—witness Calvin Hill, Yale '69, and Ed Marinaro, Cornell '72. It is only the Ivy philosophy that confines them.

"There are some very good athletes in this league," says Penn's Gamble, "but if they had to put in the practice time the big-time football schools require, they wouldn't survive academically. Our players are highly respected by the faculty on campus because they are carrying the full academic load and participating in football besides. That requires a good deal of character."

St. Pierre, who as Harvard's 100th football captain follows in some hallowed cleat marks—Henry R. Grant (1874), Hamilton Fish (1909), Charlie Brickley (1914), Eddie Mahan (1915)—pursues a demanding pre-medical course and yet plays not only football but baseball as well. And so does Stoeckel, an economics major. They would not have it otherwise.

"I'm not in sports to be able to walk around campus and be recognized," says St. Pierre, a good-looking, quietly intense 21-year-old. "I'm in it because I feel I have an innate talent that I want to match with somebody else's. It's fun for me and I also realize it's important in the formation of character, in the development of self-discipline."

Character? Self-discipline? What manner of college student is this?

Stoeckel's motivations are not quite so high-flown. "To be honest with you," he said before the Penn game, "the most important part of my life is sports. But it is only a part of my life. I've applied for a Rhodes scholarship, but if I were to receive a professional baseball offer [at 175 pounds, he considers himself too small for pro football], I'd take it. But that's only one option. The Rhodes is another. Graduate school in business is a third. And making money and traveling is still another. Harvard has given me this."

Harvard Coach Joe Restic, who came to Cambridge from the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, whom he coached to a division championship in the Canadian Football League three years ago, is a gaunt, tough-looking ex-pro player who seems to be the antithesis of an Ivy League mentor. But he has a master's degree in education, is an accomplished teacher and feels keenly his responsibilities to the young savants in his charge. And he is not in the least frustrated as a football technician. With the talented Stoeckel at the controls, his team runs out of some 16 different offensive sets, including the spreads favored by the pros and the veers and Wishbones now so fashionable among the major league collegians. Still, he never loses sight of the forest.

"I want football to be an experience for these boys, not a life. I know that here I am coaching youngsters who will someday be leaders. If I can help them along the way, I've done my job."

Restic is a most generous coach. He awarded 54 varsity letters last season, and in this year's 57-0 rout of Columbia he used 84 players, the last of whom was a 5'6", 112-pound halfback named Henry (The Flea) Sandow. The Flea is also a last-string crew coxswain.

To some, all of this may smack of the sort of holier-than-thou superciliousness they have come to expect from the Ivy League. And yet even in these amoral times it seems to work. Purity is not always tedious.

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