Games and the Manrnby Harold O.J. Brownrn”Remember thou, that it is better farrnTo puU a poor oar in the third boatrnThan to be captain of the basketball team.’rnSpoken by the editor of the Harvard Lampoon at freshmanrnorientation, those words had life-changing impact on a certifiablernhigh-school nerd from the far South. In the DarkrnAges, Harvard College required that every freshman be able tornswim 100 yards—not so hard for a Florida boy—and participaternin athletics a minimum of three days a week. Basketball—rnindeed, anything that required a ball and a fair amount of coordinationrn—^being very unpromising, the poem so dramaticallyrndelivered by John P.C. “Choo Choo” Train seemed to suggestrna better alternative. Unfortunately there was the dread “SteprnTest,” officially known as the Physical Efficiency Test, which requiredrnfreshmen to jump up and down on a bench for five minutes.rnThose who failed the test were sent, ingloriously, to thernIndoor Athletic Building to do Special Exercises until theyrncould pass it or graduated, whichever came first. This tookrnplace under the watchful eye of Norman Fradd, inventor ofrnFradd Ball, a kind of dodgeball played with a medicine ball forrncomic relief at the end of Special Exercises.rnHaving determined to try out for a seat in at least somernfreshman boat, I was subjected to the ignominy of being orderedrnto Special Exercises. Freshman crew was not consideredrnan acceptable substitute for one who had failed the Step Test,rnso my name was pulled from the check-in board at the NewellrnHarold O.]. Brown is director of The Rockford Institute Centerrnon Religion & Society and Forman Professor of Theology andrnEthics at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield,rnIllinois.rnBoat House and placed on the board in the Special ExercisesrnRoom. No, the Athletic Association had no objection to onernrowing in addition to Special Exercising. Of course, it wouldrnhave been highly embarrassing not to give one’s name to thernchecker at the boat house as all the other freshmen out for crewwererndoing. Fortunately, a kindly Mr. Getchell at the H.A.A.rnwas willing to place a duplicate name on the board at thernboat house, thereby tactfully concealing the fact that this candidaternwas officially involved in Special Exercises.rnThe balance of freshman year was a passed Step Test and arnseat in the not so glorious third boat. Sophomore year broughtrna seat in the first boat, a position that was jealously guardedrnthrough three varsitv years, one victory over both Yale andrnPrinceton (as well as one loss to each), and at least a secondrnplace in the Eastern Sprint Championships. Our coach inrnthose years was the legendary H.H. “Bert” Haines, who hadrnbeen a British sergeant-major in the Gallipoli campaign andrnwho never subjected his crews to any verbal affront more abusivernthan, “Oh dear, oh dear, what idiots I have to contendrnwith!” Bert once insisted on giving our racing shell to the visitingrnElis, saving “You wouldn’t want to win by taking unfair advantage.”rnWhether we would have or not (we would have), therntime that we gave them our shell was the one time we beat Yalernfor the Goldthwait Cup.rnFor me, this was the end of nerddom (to use a modern expressionrnnot in vogue at the time) and the beginning of a longrninvolvement in coaching: several entries in the Henley RoyalrnRegatta—two of them victorious—and even a couple of futilern20/CHRONICLESrnrnrn