Saturday’s New York York Times and college football blog, The Quad, are mostly fixated on today’s Harvard/Yale clash to determine the ’07 winner of the Ivy League title. Crimson FB Noah Van Niel (above) — profiled elsewhere in the paper for his operatic skills — attempts to explain to the rest of us mere peasants how he & his teammates go thru oh-so-much “because we™ve been granted the honor and privilege of representing this storied institution on the field.”
It™s mornings which feel more like evenings; mornings that are earlier than you ever thought mornings could be. It™s mornings when the moon is still wide awake. It™s the Bridge. That bridge is the meanest man-made structure in Cambridge, Mass., when you™re a Harvard football player. For reasons I™m sure our science guys could explain, the wind whipping up from the Charles River seems to hit right on the crest of JFK street, where Cambridge turns to Allston and the switch is thrown from student to athlete. Imagine negative wind-chills ripping through your exposed skin, while you try to mentally prepare yourself to squat, bench, clean and run suicides before everyone else on campus has even woken up. It™s so early that everyone on the team has a story of running into their non-football playing roommate on his way home from a night out while they™re on the way off to practice.
It™s academics worthy of the greatest university in the world. It™s writing a paper or working on a problem set until midnight, and getting up at 5 all with the hopes of satisfying some of the most demanding professors in the world.
It™s sacrifices. It™s picking up another job in the off-season so you can help pay the 40 grand of tuition. It™s spending the summer in Boston instead of back home so you can suffer through the oppressive humidity of New England in July, with no air conditioning, just to work out with the guys. It™s not visiting home for over a year because you have to get bigger, stronger, faster.
Indeed, the level of selflessness is off the charts. The Elias Koteas Sports Bureau is working on a spreadsheet that compares the average annual income of a football playing Harvard alumnus with the per capita personal income of Mississippi residents, and I’m sure we’ll be blown away to learn who is really raking it in.