Is it time for a new November tradition?
That has been the question on every Yalie’s mind as the reports about Harvard’s 2006 tailgates get sadder and sadder. In 2004, the ban on kegs and U-Hauls, though it seemed outrageous at the time, turned out merely to foreshadow the disappointments to come. The next year, when it was the Cantabs’ turn to come down to New Haven, Yale gave the appearance, at least, of tightening its own tailgate restrictions to keep up with its safety-minded rival. The 2005 Game, it is generally agreed, struck an acceptable balance between safety and good, clean, drunken fun.
Since Harvard’s decision to escalate the battle against drinking this year, the news has gotten steadily worse. It’s apparently not enough that we not allowed to bring booze into the tailgate at all; now, we must buy from Harvard what we do consume. It’s not enough that drinkers will be fenced off from the rest of the tailgates; now, Harvard has cut two-thirds of the spots available to Yale student groups. It’s not enough to drive three hours to get to Cambridge; now, we must pay $60 for a round-trip ticket.
Admittedly, this last point is not directly Harvard’s fault, but it is a good example of how differently everyone is viewing The Game this year. Perhaps because of the extra restrictions — or the perception that student interest dropped off because of said restrictions — the Council of Masters no longer finds it necessary to encourage students to make the trip.
Much has been made of the idea that the Harvard administration’s draconian policies are eroding one of the great Ivy League traditions. But while this may be true, students don’t have to take a passive role. By rejecting Harvard’s feeble excuse for a Game, we can send a clear message that, next year, Yale should not blindly follow Harvard’s example. We commend Harvard’s houses for making an effort to increase the number of parties the night before The Game, but this is not enough.
Princeton doesn’t matter, as the saying goes. But in light of our traditional rival’s constant attempts to put a damper on fun, it may be time to re-evaluate the truth of this statement. Many student groups that didn’t apply for a spot at Harvard are instead staging their main tailgate at Saturday’s game against Princeton. We can think of no better way to express our dissatisfaction with Harvard’s policies than spurning their hospitality in favor of treating our visitors from New Jersey to a real party.
The importance of the Princeton game for our Ivy title hopes is fitting. We call on our fellow Elis to come out en masse on Saturday — not only to support the team, but also to make a statement about what a tailgate and a game should be. Sure, you can pay your $60 bus fee to get to and from Cambridge next week, but this weekend, go out and drink that spiked hot chocolate while watching Yale beat Princeton.
Yes, it is time for a new November tradition. Perhaps Harvard will see the light one of these days, but tomorrow, at least, we’ll see you at the Bowl.