‘The Game’

When Thanksgiving is incipient, there are familiar sights and sounds in our area: brightly-colored leaves swirling about, the whiff of fireplaces ablaze in the morning, and our oven is baking fruit crisps and pies.

I also sometimes remember some great memories from college: the Harvard-Yale football game, hyperbolically known as The Game. It’s the one day in the year when athletics mattered at scale on campus. The stadium was jammed, the crowds were raucous, and it was a happy time. By tradition, The Game is the beginning of a week-long Thanksgiving break. So, everyone is at ease.

Yale is divided into 12 “residential colleges.” Think of each of them as its own “house,” with its own administrators, intramural teams, flags, dining halls and rituals. Most important, starting on Day 1 in college, it gave you a community right away.

At The Game, you sit with your residential college, and each has its own traditions. I was in Saybrook, (in)famous for its Saybrook Strip. There were never enough seats, and so, people sat on each other’s laps, as they yelled themselves silly and sang college fight songs.

Yale has openly and consciously de-emphasized athletic recruiting (more here). The school has greatly reduced the number of legacies and athletes in order to target more low-income students. The endowment continues to do very well, and so, that insulates the school somewhat from needing capital gifts from alumni.

I’m all for that pivot, frankly. But, it means that the college’s sports teams have not done as well. So, every win on the field is precious.

Last Saturday, the Bulldogs were underdogs by a 12.5 point spread. With tenacity and luck, they won.

Up top (or, click here), are scenes from the field. The best part starts at minute 5:34 during the winning touchdown drive. Absolute bedlam. (Ignore the fact that the Yale crowd is cheering loudly during the final touchdown drive, making it hard for their team to hear signal calls!).

A happy and safe start to everyone’s Thanksgiving holiday, particularly if you’re traveling.

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