News’ View: Bladderball can and should stay

The column on this page by Yale’s residential college deans and masters raises many important concerns about bladderball.

They are correct that the game, as it was played on Saturday, was unnecessarily dangerous. Anybody who saw students darting in front of cars to chase the rainbow-colored ball had an immediate appreciation for President Giamatti’s decision to ban the game in 1982.

But, as our predecessors wrote in this space 27 years ago, there are ways to play bladderball safely.

For starters, the game should be contained to Old Campus, where gates can be closed and where car traffic is not a concern. This could have happened over the weekend, but Yale officials did not take seriously the rumors that bladderball would return.

Students, too, can help make bladderball less chaotic. The event should not be an occasion for “drunken hysteria, boundless aggression and thoughtless violence,” as the editors of this paper wrote in the year the ban was instituted. Instead, as it was this past weekend, bladderball should be an occasion for the community to come together once each year and enjoy a fun Yale tradition.

Nobody has to play bladderball, which is as it should be. But if students next year want to chase a big ball around Old Campus, they should be given another chance.


  • Read History

    YDN, read the history in your own newspaper. Bladderball was banned by President Giamatti after many rules had been established and many efforts were made to shut the gates to Old Campus and contain the game there. Inevitably, the ball always got out, no matter the rules. The final ban was put in place after the equivalent of the YCC and the administration had agreed on a whole set of rules, including that the ball would remain within Old Campus. This rule was immediately broken (it’s hard to contain such a big object and once it’s out, it;s out). Three students ended up in the hospital. That’s when the ban was issued.

  • Streever

    What a poorly done column.

    “Yale officials did not take seriously the rumors” entirely dismisses the issue of the students taking the game into elm street, damaging local residents cars & causing a nightmare for our police.

    “Students, too, can help”–right. They could have helped by approaching the Administration seriously, and asking for this, instead of by performing a ridiculous stunt.

    The anonymous writer of this column should put money where their mouth is and approach the Administration and request permission to play Bladderball in an enclosed location. Do you honestly expect the University to reach out to you & offer to do this?

    “Students, too, can help”