During the 1970s, when he had long hair, Larry Brown was walking ivy-covered halls after matriculating to Harvard. There was nothing easy about Harvard, says the Clark County Commissioner. The hardest thing might have been just getting in.
Brown soon would be "matriculating" the ball down the field - to use Hank Stram's contrived definition - with the Crimson football team. He was Harvard's starting quarterback for two years; he also was a starting pitcher on the baseball team. There wasn't much time for rowing sculls on the Charles.
"There's a sign when you walk into Harvard Yard that says: 'Enter to Grow in Wisdom,' " said Brown, who wore the brown, gold and burnt orange for the original Las Vegas Stars in 1983. "I grew in wisdom - and in a lot of other areas."
In other words, he got a lot of C-minuses. He didn't get his first A until his senior year - in urban politics.
Brown received a passing grade in football, mostly because he was a good passer.
Against Brown, he completed 15 of 22 passes for 349 yards and three touchdowns, a performance that stood as the Harvard standard for awhile. But in The Game - Harvard vs. Yale, bitter rivals who played for the first time in 1875 - he was 0-2.
And yet, "It was one of the greatest emotional experiences of my life," Brown said of playing in two Harvard-Yale games.
During 1978, his senior year, Harvard rallied from a huge deficit to pull within 35-28 in the fourth quarter.
It had been 10 years since the famous "Harvard Beats Yale, 29-29" tie (as the headline would read in The Crimson newspaper), 10 years since Harvard had scored 16 points in the game's frenetic final 42 seconds. Tommy Lee Jones, who started at guard for Harvard, and the rest of the '68 team had been deified again at halftime.
Would there be another miraculous Crimson comeback? Another famous headline? Another documentary in which lawyers and doctors and investment bankers spoke of their football exploits many years after the fact?
Nope. Yale managed to run out the clock.
There was an article about Brown in The Crimson. It was written by Bill Scheft - the same Bill Scheft who has been nominated for 15 Emmy Awards as a staff writer for David Letterman. After the Yale game, Brown recalls a front-page picture in the Boston Globe. Not of him but of Senator Ted Kennedy, a Harvard man, mourning the defeat.
When UNLV played Wyoming, I kept looking for the naked guy in the beer barrel. Not the same as seeking out a Kennedy.
On Saturday, Harvard and Yale met on the football field for the 129th time, at historic Harvard Stadium. Harvard won, 34-24.
Years from now, when they are CEOs and titans in their fields - when they are presidents and Presidents (eight Harvard men and five Elis have been U.S. president), county commissioners and family men - players from both sides will recall running from the darkened tunnel and into the sunlight on a crisp New England autumn afternoon.
And Larry Brown says they will get goosebumps when they remember how the old stadium rumbled.
■ UNLV vs. BYU: Now that the Rebels and Cougars will start playing football against one another again in 2014, fans of the schools' basketball teams are hopeful that rivalry also can continue. When reached in the south of France, where her husband, Lee Cummard, the ex-Brigham Young basketball ace, plays for Fos Ouest Provence Basket in the French B League, Sarah Cummard had no !@#$% comment.
■ Bob Blum Media Center: The press room at the Thomas & Mack Center was renamed in honor of the longtime Rebels broadcaster and Las Vegas sports icon before Saturday's game against Jacksonville State. Bob Blum was 91 when he died in July; a lot of media centers and press rooms around here still seem empty without him.
■ Pahranagat Valley football: The Panthers defeated Spring Mountain 26-14 on Saturday for their fifth consecutive eight-man state football title and 57th straight victory, proving that offensive tackles and an extra wide receiver are overrated.
■ Twinkies and cupcakes: A report Sunday said the popular Hostess snack treats probably would survive despite bankruptcy proceedings, which means UNLV can continue to play Southern Utah and Northern Arizona in football. But given how those games turned out, the Rebels probably should refrain from referring to Western Illinois as the Ding Dongs on next year's schedule.
■ Sheldon Adelson: For the $53 million he spent on Mitt Romney's failed campaign, the Las Vegas casino mogul could have built Cashman Field at Adelson Yards. Or he could have bought 53 million $1 beers on Thirsty Thursday against Sacramento, provided he signed up for a wristband.
■ Men of Troy: After beginning the season No. 1, Southern Cal has slipped to 7-4 and might be in the running for a MAACO Bowl Las Vegas berth. This is good for the MAACO Bowl Las Vegas. This is not so good for USC football.
Las Vegas Review-Journal sports columnist Ron Kantowski can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-0352. Follow him on Twitter: @ronkantowski.