He’s been called “a terrible morning person” and dislikes flash photography. He raises thousands of dollars for charity and sets our hearts ablaze with Yale pride. He is, of course, Handsome Dan, and the campus’ biggest nonhuman celebrity crush has had a busy week.
For Dan XVII, whose given name is Sherman, the week preceding The Game is booked full of photoshoots and pep rallies to dinners and baths.
His owner, Chris Getman ’64, said that on game day, the bulldog, who “likes his bed,” will be up bright and early for once. He’ll wake up at 6 a.m. — an hour earlier than usual — to get to the tailgate by 10.
“He’ll be all set and ready to go, particularly because we have an antique car that we use to take him to games,” Getman said. “When he sees that thing coming out of the garage, he gets excited.”
After arriving to the assigned gate at the Yale Bowl (portal 27), Sherman and his owner will spend most of their time at Getman’s 60-person tailgate, Getman said. Though Getman will bring along biscuits for Sherman, the much-loved mascot won’t get too many treats; Bulldogs have delicate stomachs, Getman said. At the football game against the University of Pennsylvania on Oct. 24, Getman said, Sherman ate something off the ground that made him sick.
But despite the lack of biscuits, Sherman will bask in attention at the tailgate.
“He doesn’t mind crowds at all,” said Getman. “He likes the attention, and he’s learned to pose for pictures.”
Sherman also enjoys attention from his younger fans, including Getman’s grandchildren, Henry, 10, and Evie Pearson, 8 — or rather, “eight and a half,” as Evie was sure to specify.
“Sometimes he’s running really fast, and then right after it he gets tired,” Henry said. “Then my dog will just jump over him, and he’s like ‘what?’”
Henry said he and his sister will be hanging out with their canine friend at the tailgate.
“He plays soccer,” Henry said. “I’ll roll a ball, and he’ll stop it with his nose and pass it back to me with his nose.”
In order to be at his photogenic best at The Game, Sherman will go with his “brother” Edward — a Scottish terrier — to a beauty parlor for a bath Thursday, Getman said. And if the weather gets chilly, he will don a sweater with a “Y” on it, which he wore to last year’s game at Harvard, which was an unusually cold 29 degrees.
As of Wednesday, Getman said, Sherman was hoping to make it to the Thursday’s pep rally. And though past Dans have participated in the Yale Precision Marching Band’s halftime performance, drum major Kate Kraft ’10 said they have no plans to incorporate Sherman into the show.
Instead, Sherman will walk the field at each quarter of the game with the lucky winners of an auction to be held Friday, Getman said. The Yale Athletics Department will receive the proceeds from the auction, which will be held Friday at the annual Yale Athletics-sponsored Blue Leadership Ball, which also features an awards ceremony. Last year, Getman said, this auction item brought in $2,000.
Sherman will also attend the World Fellows dinner Friday, Getman said.
Amid his other obligations, Sherman made time Tuesday morning for the News’ Harvard-Yale cover shoot. At 8:30 a.m., Sherman was chauffeured from Getman’s office to the Yale Bowl. For two hours, he posed like a pro with four members of the Yale football team and head coach Tom Williams. But the bulldog did express a dislike of cameras, charging at the News photographer when he got too close.
Throughout his photoshoot, Sherman kept his energy up with dog treats, and he noshed on ice cubes from a blue bowl printed with a cartoon image of Handsome Dan.
Saturday will mark Sherman’s third time attending The Game; he became the mascot in 2006.
For more Harvard-Yale coverage, visit yaledailynews.com/thegame.