Q&A: Harvard Football's Dan Minamide

Dan Minamide is a senior defensive back for the football team. The Escondido, Calif. native has played both safety and cornerback over the past two years and, entering Saturday, paces a Harvard secondary that leads the Ivy League in interceptions. 

"By virtue of a tremendous work ethic, Danny has developed into an outstanding All-Ivy caliber defensive back," says Tim Murphy, the Thomas Stephenson Family Head Coach for Harvard Football. "With the size, speed and skill to play corner or safety we expect big things from Dan in the last half of the season."

Q: What is your concentration?
A:  Sociology with a secondary in economics

Q: What do you hope to do in life once football is finished?
A:  I hope to remain in Boston and work in finance for a few years. With the experience that I gain, I will return to California and open Dan's Tank Top Shop on the beach. I'm a big fan of tank tops.

Q: What's your favorite Harvard team to watch as a fan?
A: I love going to our Men's Basketball games. The football team shows up in full force and we get pretty hyped.

Q: If you could play for another team at Harvard, which would it be?
A: I would play for the Women's Soccer team. I've always wanted to play soccer and I'm convinced I would make the team if they would let me try out.

Q: What are the best parts of being a student athlete at Harvard?
A: The best part of being a student athlete at Harvard is that we are constantly surrounded by goal-oriented and driven people. For instance, I am driven to find time to play video games.

Q: What are the hardest parts of being a student athlete at Harvard?
A:  The hardest part of being a student athlete at Harvard is keeping up with your sleep. Between class, practice, morning lifts, and homework there are not many hours left in the day to sleep.

Q: Who do you most enjoy lining up against in practices?
A: Alex Sarkisian without a doubt. In addition to being an unbelievable athlete, Sark is ridiculously good looking. Sometimes when I try to defend him, he'll flash that classic smile and I freeze, enthralled. Then he's gone, running down the sideline with the ball.

Q: What's the best part about a home football day?
A: The best part about playing at home is that we get to play in one of the most historic stadiums in the world. Two years ago I saw a player from an opposing team take out a camera and take pictures of our stadium during pregame warm up. He must have felt so lucky to be here! Then we crushed his team.

Q: Choose one of each: The song you are most proud of, and least proud of, on your iPod.
A: I'm most proud of "I Can't Stop" by Flux Pavillion; it has become sort of a theme song for our weight room. I'm least proud of my extensive collection of Owl City. It was a phase…

Q: Who has the best nickname on the team and why?
A: "Sweet Baby Rey" Kirton has the best nickname on the team. First of all, who doesn't like Sweet Baby Ray's BBQ sauce? And second, his nickname is fitting because he plays just like his daddy, Jonathan Mason.

Q: If you could choose your own nickname, what would it be and why?
A:  Maybe Half-Asian Persuasion. I have heard that one on occasion. It would be a cool nickname to have in case of an alien invasion, in which case I'd practice my evasion.

Q: What do you think of when you hear Harvard's mission statement of "Education through Athletics?"
A: I think there are plenty of lessons to be learned through athletics, especially in college when the level of stress is inherently higher. The "education" rests in the discovery that we can actually handle more stress than we think and athletics trains us to manage that stress and to better ourselves through it.

Q: How has playing football at Harvard better prepared you for life?
A: I came to Harvard never having played a down of defense in my life. The first year was a humbling experience, but I absolutely needed it. With the right mentality, great coaching and incredible teammates around me, I went from knowing nothing to being a fulltime starter. I feel as though I can take what I learned at Harvard with me after I graduate.

Q: What is your best moment on the football field?
A: My best moment on the football field was right after my interception against Brown in the end zone earlier this season. I was running off the field, rain hitting my face, laughing and screaming like a little boy. That was the purest joy I have felt since playing Zelda: Ocarina of Time for the first time on Nintendo 64. 

Q: What is your best moment off the football field while a Harvard student?
A: I spent a summer mentoring a group of 8th grade boys at a middle school in Cambridge. It was one of the most fun and rewarding experiences of my life. Eighth grade is such a magical time.

Q: What facility do you enjoy playing in?
A: Lafayette has done a nice job with its best facilities. They have a great scoreboard and cool alternating colored turf.

Q: Where are your favorite places to eat in the square?
A: You can't go wrong with some late night Chinese food from Yenching. Every time I pick up my order, the manager says, "You want soy sauce? Try it without, it's good the way it is!" A metaphor for life using Chow Foon noodles, I totally respect that. 

Q: If you could be anyone for a day, who would it be and why?
A: I would be Hope Solo. Then I would fly to Daniel Minamide's most recent location and leave him a note. The note would read: Dear Daniel, this is Hope Solo. Will you marry me? Not kidding. Love, Hope.

Q: If you could do anything for a day without any cost considerations, what would it be?
A: I would go stream fishing in Alaska with my fellow Crimson Fishermen Alex Gedeon and Matt Lunati. Matt said he would teach me how to fly fish and I'm going to hold him to that.

Q: Best and worst football movies of all-time?
A: I don't scratch my head unless it itches and I don't dance unless I hear some music, I will not be intimidated by this question. Remember the Titans is the best football movie of all time. The worst football movie has to be The Replacements.

Q: Of your teammates, who is most like to 1) become President of the United State, 2) join the front office of a major sports franchise 3) join the circus 4) fall off the face of the earth? Why?
A: 1) Hunter Thornton because he's the hero the U.S. deserves 2) Chris Lorditch because he's already a great (fantasy football) manager 3) Bizi Ezekoye, Ray Kirton and Demani Wilson because those goons would actually do it 4) Will Whitman because he's been a starter all year and I still haven't heard him speak.