Senior Q & A: Tristan Tahmaseb

Tahmaseb has two tackles for a loss this season (Gil Talbot).
Tahmaseb has two tackles for a loss this season (Gil Talbot).

"On and off the field, through constant effort and a great attitude, Tristan has quietly become a someone we can count on." -- Tim Murphy, The Thomas Stephenson Family Head Coach for Harvard Football 

Q: What is your concentration?

Q: What do you hope to do in life once football is finished?
I plan to focus on my career goals and hope to find a hobby that will fill the void of football. 

Q: Can you explain the nuances of your position and provide something for the casual fan to better understand what you're seeing on the field?
As a defensive end, it is my job to contain the edge or fill a hole in the box.  The box is essentially the front seven on each team closest to the ball.  To do my job, I have preset responses to whatever the offense throws at us.  These responses come down to quick reactions coupled with physicality. We will study an opponent all week to gain a tendency that will give us a tenth of a second advantage on the field. 

Q: What's your favorite Harvard team to watch as a fan? 
It's always a great time watching Harvard hockey. If you haven't checked out one of their games, go see one. They are electric. 

Q: What are the hardest parts of being a student-athlete at Harvard?
It is a grind to be a student-athlete at any school.  An important aspect of that grind is time management.  There's a certain balance you must strike between academics and athletics.  It can be tough.  Each of us handle it in our own way, and it is a skill set that is, unfortunately for my freshman year, best learned through experience. 

Q: What's the best part about a home football day?
Home football days are great, because I get to keep in my routine.  Also, home games usually mean that I get to spend some extra time hanging out with family. 

Q: Who do you like lining up against in practice?
Harvard has recruited top-notch O-Linemen.  It is hard to put a label on just one, but I have had the opportunity in challenging myself everyday over the years by going up against the likes of Cole Toner and Max Rich.

Q: Do you have a nickname and how did it come about?
Most on the team call me Tammy.  It started my freshman year with my position coach needing something that rolled off the tongue a little easier.  So, Tahmaseb became Tammy.  

Q: How has playing football at Harvard better prepared you for life? 
I am a firm believer in football's ability to teach and train you for what life will throw at you.  We have a word that Murph loves to preach, adversity. In football, overcoming adversity is a constant. It can be as simple as shrugging off a missed assignment or as arduous as bouncing back from a serious injury.  Each day you are tested and each day you have to make a decision.  A decision that is going to reflect who you are and will be.  I love that aspect of the sport, and it translates directly to life.  Life is a constant battle of responding to adversity. 

Q: What do you think of when you hear Harvard's mission statement, "Education Through Athletics?"
I think of everything I have learned during my tenure on the field.  Athletics has played a crucial role in my character development.  I realize I would not be who I am without this program and that I would not have been able to learn what I have in any classroom setting.

Q: When you leave Harvard, what do you want your legacy to be? 
I want to be remembered as one that left everything for his teammates.  Someone that could always be depended on when they were needed most.

Q: What is your favorite memory on the football field? 
The Dartmouth game my sophomore year is up there.  It was one of the greatest comebacks I have ever been a part of.  It felt surreal after the game. Though we were down and out late, there was never a doubt as to what the outcome would be.

Q: Best football movie of all-time? Why?
Easy, it has to be Friday Night Lights.  It is a classic.  Growing up in Alabama, high school football was a big deal.  The movie always seems to remind me of home.

Q: If you could go back, what's one piece of advice you would give yourself as a freshman?
Enjoy the ride.  There are going to be bumps along the way, but never get your head down.

Q: Your favorite "Murph"-ism (saying or quote from Coach Murphy)?
I mentioned adversity earlier, but another word that can always be heard if you spend enough time around Harvard football is grit.  Grit is an intangible factor that any great football team possesses.  It refers to that toughness or resilience when facing adversity. 

Q: Who is the best follow on Twitter from the team?
It isn't exactly a Twitter, but go send Ryan Antonellis a friend request.  The kid crushes Facebook.