Football players pose for Vanity Fair

by Michael A> Posey | 8/6/96 5:00am

Before the season has even begun, the Big Green football team and its outstanding players are once again in the news and spotlight.

Five members of the Dartmouth football team were invited to participate in a photo-shoot sponsored by Vanity Fair, a women's magazine, this past weekend in Los Angeles.

The five students -- Mark Abel '97, Scott Hapgood '97, Brian Larsen '97, Lloyd Lee '98 and Zach Walz '98 -- are all members of the pre-season All-Ivy First Team, and they were invited with other Ancient Eight first-teamers to participate in the Vanity Fair photo spread slated for an October release.

This spread will be the first for both Ivy League football players and the magazine.

When Vanity Fair initially asked if Dartmouth would participate, according to Walz, most of the team members declined because of the exorbinant costs associated with the excursion.

"Later, the magazine agreed to pay for travel and students were asked to pay for lodging and meals," Walz said.

Vanity Fair also treated the Dartmouth players with stretch limousine service from The Hanover Inn to Lebanon Airport for Thursday morning's flight to Los Angeles.

The photo shoot began early Friday morning around 8 a.m. and lasted throughout most of the day.

Most of the Big Green gridironers were critical of the photo-shoot, and many said they were unprepared for what was to transpire during the shoot.

"It was less football," Walz remarked. Instead, the players were asked to pose wearing "cheesy outfits" and the whole shoot felt like a joke.

"We didn't wear our uniforms for the pictures," Hapgood said. "They dressed us up in silly outfits and made us do silly poses."

"It was pretty different from what we expected. I thought we would just take a couple of pictures of all of us in pads and be done but we ended up taking a lot of fashion pictures and other things," Lee wrote in an e-mail message.

The students were asked to bring their pads, uniforms and helmets, but hardly any pictures taken with players in uniform, Walz said.

It seemed more like a costume party than a football shoot, he said.

Although a group photo was never taken, Vanity Fair photographer Peggy Sirota assured everyone that they would be in the October issue.

Walz said that for a photographer who has taken pictures of such mega-stars as Michael Jordan and Tom Cruise, "it was apparent that she didn't know anything about football or the Ivy League."

Sirota continually questioned the students about football, Walz said.

Thousands of pictures were taken and students posed in a myriad of shots and poses.

Walz said that the motif surrounding the shoot was that of a vintage football player with a leather helmet and a sweatshirt.

Despite the criticism of the photo shoot, both Lee and Walz said they enjoyed the trip

"We met all the other guys from around the league and went out to the restaurants and such," Walz said. "It was just a great time meeting the other players and hanging out with them. Although the other guys were really serious about football, they were also down to earth and easy to get along with."

"The best part about the trip was just having the chance to meet all the players before we play them this season," Lee wrote.

After the photo shoot, students were given the night off and encouraged to go siteseeing.

"Overall, I had a good time," Walz said. "I'm glad that I went."

"It was nice to meet my opponents at the dinner table rather than screaming at them on the gridiron," he said.

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