Q&A: Harvard Football's Adam Chrissis

Adam Chrissis dives into the end zone without his helmet against Brown on Sept. 23, 2011 (Gil Talbot)
Adam Chrissis dives into the end zone without his helmet against Brown on Sept. 23, 2011 (Gil Talbot)

Adam Chrissis is a senior wide receiver on the football team. As a freshman, the Pittsburgh, Pa. took the first reception of his collegiate career 67 yards for a touchdown on a screen pass and has been off and running ever since.

"Adam is a very smart, tough, versatile wide receiver who can play all the positions," says Tim Murphy, the Thomas Stephenson Family Head Coach for Harvard Football. "He knows our system better than anyone in the receiving corp."

Q: What is your concentration?
A: Applied mathematics with a specialization in operations research

Q: What do you hope to do in life once football is finished?
A: I would love to go back to Pittsburgh and live the small town, "Friday Night Lights" life with my buddies from home but I am more concerned with enjoying the ride of life, wherever it takes me.

Q: What's your favorite Harvard team to watch as a fan?
A: I can't say just one team but I do really enjoy watching both the men's and women's basketball games. The guys are fun to watch because the games are a high-energy environment where everyone is jumping around, yelling and screaming. The student section is great. The women's games are great because you get to watch some really good basketball and sit floor-level and just enjoy the game. There is a good group of my teammates that go to all home (and some away) games, which makes it that much better.

Q: What are the best parts of being a student athlete at Harvard?
A: The quality and diversity of the people here is unbelievable. Having access to the best academics and Division I athletics is the best of both worlds and I've tried to take full advantage of the opportunities that I have set in front of me.

Q: What are the hardest parts of being a student athlete at Harvard?
A:  It's been a hard realization that there are only 24 hours in the day so budgeting my time has been the hardest and most rewarding thing about being a student athlete here.  There is no substitute for hard work but I have definitely learned that there are many ways to be time efficient. Most require admitting to others and to me that I could use some help.

Q: Who do you most enjoy lining up against in practices?
A:  Dan Minamide and Matt Hanson. I definitely have a love/hate relationship with both of these guys because we all know the offensive and defensive plays (and the audibles) so most of the time we know what the other person is going to do. These two love to compete and it doesn't matter if we tell each other what we are going to do on a certain play because you have to fight for every inch, which makes you that much better as a player.

Q: What's the best part about a home football day?
A: I really enjoy the routine of everything that goes with pregame at home but I always look forward to everything that happens after the game. It's great to see everyone's families and hang out instead of having to hop on the bus for a ride home. It's also nice to be able to chill out and watch football the rest of the day too – but there is something to be said about greasing up some classic movies to watch with the guys on the ride back after a road game.

Q: Do you have any interesting/funny game day habits or traditions?
A: I always get tapped by the same athletic trainer. It isn't out of superstition and to be honest I really don't know how I came to always go to him but Dr. Gary Geissler knows that only he can tape me on game day. "G" is the man and there isn't anyone that enjoys being around the game more!

Q: Choose one of each: The song you are most proud of, and least proud of, on your iPod.
A: This is a tough question because I am a pretty simple music guy: I like mainstream top 40 stuff and have gotten into Country music recently but my iPod is jam-packed with 90's music. I am not sure if proud is the right word but a real strong amount of my music is by Third Eye Blind, Sugar Ray, Goo Goo Dolls, Matchbox Twenty, or Vertical Horizon. I can't get enough of them. I can't think of a song that I am not proud of but I can say that, when I first started putting music on my iPod, my sister, brother and I put every CD that we owned into our music library. There aren't many "NOW" CDs that we are missing from our collection so I have quite a few songs on my iPod that I would be embarrassed to listen to even if no one was around.

Q: Who has the best nickname on the team and why?
A: There are a few guys in mind but my roommate and fellow wide receiver Hunter Thornton has some pretty good ones. Hunter has been called "Gimli" (stemming from Chris Lorditch being called "Lord of the Rings" which evolved to "Gandalf") and Gimli fits Hunter very well – he is fierce, stubborn, and uses his body like an axe when he cuts down defensive backs! My favorite nickname for Hunter though is "Tweeter." Hunter does use twitter a lot, but the name comes from his resemblance to Scott Caan in Varsity Blues. Check out his individual picture in the players section of the program!

Q: What do you think of when you hear Harvard's mission statement of "Education through Athletics?"
A: I think it hits the nail on the head. You learn so much more when you are thrown into the fire and have to dig yourself out of a tough spot which happens everyday when you play a sport. There are a lot of ups and downs that come with putting this much time and effort into something, but people are defined by how they deal with adversity. There's no better practice for dealing with adversity than through athletics.

Q: How has playing football at Harvard better prepared you for life?
A: I've learned a lot in the classroom during my time here but I think the real nitty-gritty qualities that define me as a person I got through playing football. Early mornings, long days of being sore, and times where I wonder how I can do it all over the next day have really made me mentally stronger as a person. It has definitely been a "labor of love" where sometimes it's more labor than love but it has made me into the person that I am today.

Q: What is your best moment on the football field?
A: I've been fortunate to have many great memories on the field but my strongest memories were from my first start during my freshman year. I scored on my first catch, which was my second play and had another touchdown on a reverse before halftime. We won a big Ivy League game and I could not think of a better way for the game to go for me personally. The game was also televised so my family and friends from home were able to watch which made it even more special.

Q: What is your best moment off the football field as a Harvard student?
A: Coming home for Thanksgiving my freshman year. I was so happy to get some home cooked food, sleep in my bed and see my friends from home. Being away from home was hard for me so I was very excited. Now whenever I go home after a couple days I am itching to come back up to campus!

Q: What is the best facility in which you have played?
A: Playing at Yale is the best if I can't play at home. The H-Y rivalry is awesome and the amount of fans that come out for that game on top of the intensity of that rivalry is very, very special. My favorite part is the walk from their locker room through their fans to the field – I love the hostility and it really gets me excited to play in The Game.

Q: Where are your favorite places to eat in the square?
A: If someone would have asked me my freshman year I would definitely say Pinocchio's. I would get Noch's every weekend and it got to the point that me and teammate Kevin Murphy would just walk in and they would ask us if we wanted "the usual." Since freshman year I don't know if I've had their pizza more than five (well maybe ten) times. I've matured a lot since midnight pizza runs when I was a young freshman so now I would say a sloppy, drippy double cheeseburger from Charlie's Kitchen is more my thing. I "discovered" Charlie's during a summer that I was up here and their burgers are fantastic.

Q: If you could do anything for a day without any cost considerations, what would it be?
A: I would rent a lake house for a day and have my family, friends, and anyone I could think of down for a day of barbeque, tubing and water skiing in the sun. I also would make sure that we had a wake boat so that my younger brother and sister could get some air and do tricks with their wakeboard, they are really good!

Q: Best football movie of all-time?
A:  My favorite is Friday Night Lights. It's not one of those movies that I can watch that often but I really think they did a good job with it. If they wanted to make that movie perfect, they would have used a high school in the Midwest though!