In Celebration of The Game
The 129 year strong Harvard/Yale Rivalry
Memories of piling into the backseats of Jeep Cherokees, clutching tartan blankets and yelling fight songs while passing thermoses of hot cider back and forth. Handing letterman’s jackets to the girls as they settle down on the chilly bleachers not yet warmed by the sun. Cheering not only for Harvard or Yale, but the very idea of belonging to something greater than yourself – a rivalry that has spanned centuries and generations.
It’s for these reasons and more a seemingly petty football match has taken on a life of its own and become an entity unto itself. For current students and spectators filling seats in droves or alumni eager to return to the quads and buildings of their youth – “the game” stands for more than the final score or lines of trophies gleaming in a case.
Giving life to the archetypal football game since 1875, the Harvard-Yale rivalry takes place every year in late November, and as of publication the Harvard Crimson and Yale Bulldogs have met on the field 128 times. On November 19th, 2012 the 129th game will take place at Harvard – ushering in another year of fun-spirited pranks and long-standing traditions that remain unshaken.
Among the traditions involved are ideas such as “the little red pennant”, a crimson flag placed in the capable hands of Harvard’s most loyal fan. It began with Frederick Plummer, class of 1888, who attended the Harvard-Yale game 59 times between 1884 and his death in 1948. Yalie traditions include erupting into a rendition of ‘Bull Dog’ written be Cole Porter, and lest we forgot MIT’s attempts to interrupt the game. Their past pranks include attempting to streak across the field before being intercepted by security, and switching out the “VE-RI-TAS” insignia on the Harvard stadium scoreboard with an insignia that read “HU-GE-EGO”. Oh, those tech-friendly scamps.
Even as the years pass and some traditions fade and are replaced, the pageantry and all-around enthusiasm is a universal feeling that we can all look forward to and reminisce about for years to come. Belonging again to the rush and thrill of the crowd becomes as much a part of autumn as apple picking excursions, and tossing around the pigskin while piling burgers and dogs on the grill becomes as necessary as layering to fight the autumnal chill.
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