One student's countdown to The Game: Gear, off-field face-offs and more
When you hear something described as “The + Noun” spoken in reverent tones, with an awkward emphasis on the first word, you know it is big: i.e., The Big Cheese, The Big Bang, The Internet, The Beatles. And perhaps the most important for Yalies all over the world this weekend: The Game.
With seconds ticking down until the much-anticipated yearly battle of the Harvard-Yale football teams (you can watch the countdown on The Yale-Harvard Football Gallery), we students are mentally preparing in order to burst our lungs cheering on our Bulldogs.
Here’s a countdown of seven things to look forward to this special weekend of Crimson conquering:
7. Gear and rivalry
If there ever was a time to forget about your laundry, it is now. Campus has become the breeding grounds for a whole slew of savvy t-shirt-selling entrepreneurs. From last year’s vuvuzelas to Harvard’s despised thundersticks, the merchandise for The Game is always fun to see. (My own personal gear favorite is a t-shirt that reads: “Harvard killed the dinosaurs.”) The rivalry also lends itself to (sometimes risqué) productions and puns, with the short film at http://www.harvardstillsucks.com, a take-off on the Yale admissions film “That’s Why I Chose Yale,” being a student favorite of this year.
6. Off the field face-offs
Crimsons and Yalies take to good-natured competition leading up to and around The Game. Highlights include the joint Harvard/Yale Glee Club Concert (Nov. 18, 8 p.m., at Woolsey Hall) followed by the DJ Battle (Nov. 18, 10:30 p.m., Commons) at the Yale-organized The Game party. While not exactly a face-off, we definitely win at tailgates preceding The Game too.
5. Rhodes woes
Not in recent memory has the spotlight been on a quarterback, no matter the jersey color, who had to make the hardest decision of his academic and football career — choosing between the possibility of a Rhodes Scholarship and leading his team in the biggest event of his college football career. Patrick Witt ‘12 ultimately chose to forego his Rhodes Scholarship interview in favor of playing The Game. Students and fans are divided in their opinions on the issue, but one truth shines through: It’s pretty clear where his allegiance lies. The camaraderie that is the part of The Game is what I personally look forward to the most.
4. Actual football-ness
The motto “My Hatred for Harvard Outweighs My Apathy for Football” applies to me, so I would be a terrible judge of Yale’s chances of winning The Game. (Hockey, anyone?) Students could be setting ourselves up for some terrible institutional memory if we encounter yet another loss. (Seniors of yester-year actually experienced a victory.) When it comes to the question of what this weekend is really about — at those moments counting down to halftime, when people are spilling soda and grabbing strangers’ hair in panic — it really is about the sport and about The Game’s origins as one of the first football competitions those 127 years ago.
3. Celebrity sighting
No, not one of the “50 Sexiest Men” — just one ridiculously good-looking slobbery mascot. Handsome Dan places one paw forward in his much-anticipated entrance and even the most jaded alums start humming “Bow, wow, wow.” Also keep an eye out for other notable celebrities — including the Yale College Den conducting the Yale Precision Marching Band (YPMB) at some point. Definitely a warm reminder in the cold temperature of just how down-to-earth — and musical — our administrators can be.
2. Drumroll, please
And while I’m on the topic, the YPMB is definitely worth celebrating. You have to be at The Game to experience the glory that is the half-time show, the product of a whole week’s worth of mad preparation in the bowels of band room in Hendrie Hall. These gentle men and women are fierce when it comes to formations and fitting music to an elaborate storyline, a production known as the überprop, which they keep under wraps until halftime during The Game. They take no prisoners — while staying in tune. As we say, the band always wins.
1. ’Tis the season
It’s more than a simple football game. The Game represents the coming together of multiple generations of Yalies, of families (both in blood and in residential college), in sports teams and section-mates — all connected by their common bond within this great institution we’ve come to know as home. It’s an opportunity for us to come together, poke fun at our rivals and appreciate the good company of friends on a sunny Saturday afternoon, every year. Have a happy Thanksgiving.
Sophomore Kerri Lu has been writing about her experiences as a Yale student since her freshman year.