Steven Tammariello, associate professor of biological sciences, plays football for the semi-professional Cortland Bulldogs.
Question: What position do you play?
Answer: I am the kicker, long-snapper on punts and backup quarterback. My wife and friends think I’m crazy playing with guys in their 20s, but I love it. I hope to play two more years, until I’m 45.
Q: What’s best, the game or the camaraderie?
A: Both are wonderful. Football is an incredible sport that requires speed, strength and intelligence. Academics often consider it a barbaric game played by muscle-bound lunkheads. Most players will never figure out how to produce room-temperature superconductors, but each player has multiple assignments on every play and must adapt quickly to the opposition.
As for camaraderie, there is nothing like a game in Boston or Montreal, where we get on the bus at 10 a.m., arrive around 4 p.m., play at 7 p.m. and get back on the bus at midnight with icepacks all over our bodies. I’ve gotten to know a lot of characters.
Q: Any games that stand out?
A: In one, we were losing by 9 points with a minute left. I kicked a 46-yard field goal to pull us within 6, then attempted an onside kick and recovered it myself. Our team drove down the field and scored a touchdown with 8 seconds left to tie the game, and my extra point won it for us. I’ve also lost a few games by clanking field-goal tries off the uprights.
Q: Is the team active year-round?
A: I see most of my teammates during the season. I have a family, while most of them are just out of college or prison and living the crazy single life. I used to be the only player with a PhD, but one of our defensive linemen earned his doctorate in organic chemistry from Cornell, so I have some company.
Steven Tammariello has developed a DNA test that can help evaluate the racing potential of Thoroughbreds. Read about it here.