Each new term at Yale is filled with novelties and uncertainties. The cares and concerns of returning students range from new classes and teachers to new friends and living arrangements. Although this is an exciting time for most, it can lead to anxieties about the unknown and worries about the future.
This year the football team is dealing with all of the above, and then some.
New teachers have come in the forms of newly appointed head coach Tom Williams and his hand-picked staff.
This 33rd coach of the Bulldogs brought with him what has been nothing short of a “new regime” for Yale football, ending the reign of previous head coach Jack Siedlecki after 12 years of service. Williams’ resume shines, all the way down to his hometown in the greatest state in the U.S. (Texas shout-out), and he has promised to revitalize the Bulldogs into Ivy League contenders. Go, Tom!
New classes include the completely revamped camp and preseason schedules.
As any football player will tell you, this year couldn’t be more different from years past. Instead of sporadic, long and allegedly poorly organized practices, the new regime boasts a dependable, fast-paced and efficient schedule. Preseason camp consisted of a daily schedule including morning meetings, lifts, practice and evening meetings with team meals in between. Trayless, no less.
New friendships have sprouted not only among teammates, but also between the football team and the greater Yale community.
The new regime has sought to improve the Bulldogs from within while increasing the team’s presence in campus activities. During preseason, the Bulldogs were visited by Yale football alumni and representatives from the local media in an attempt to elevate awareness and get the team more involved in campus life. Social events even included a field trip to the Yale Glee Club and a freshman skit night in which several members of the team showcased their hidden talents on stage. Oh, to be a fly on that wall.
New living arrangements saw all of the football players, regardless of class, living on Old Campus together for the duration of camp.
Although I’m sure all of the players with off-campus apartments were a little disappointed, hopefully they saw the immediate impact of the close quarters. That move should prove itself useful as the new season progresses. There is no way to escape Farnam without a little team bonding.
All of this novelty has been coupled with an invigorated sense of energy and intensity by both coaches and players.
As a former varsity athlete, I can attest to the fact that coaching changes, on any level, can be both nerve-wracking and exciting.
On one hand, new is scary. New coach-player dynamics and reworked schedules can be a source of anxiety and uncertainty for both sides. As the adage goes, no one likes change.
On the other hand, new is different. And the Bulldogs need different. After Yale posted an unimpressive 6-4 record last season, most of the players and spectators are expecting the new regime to rejuvenate what used to be an Ivy League powerhouse. Maybe change can be good after all.
Personally, I’m hopeful for this season. Although I’m not the biggest fan of change in general, I like this one.
It doesn’t take an expert eye to see that this Bulldog team was hurting for something different, and hopefully the new regime will be it.
Tracy Timm is a senior in Pierson College.