As Yale students, we are inherently well-rounded. If we hadn’t all been at the top of our class, editor of the school newspaper, president of our student council, head of every community service organization known to man, founder of the school’s “Go-Green” initiative and captain of the debate, model UN and riflery teams, we simply wouldn’t be here.
Beyond the well-roundedness, we all share another trait: competitiveness. Whether it be the not-so-furtive sideways glance to check out a classmate’s grade on a p-set or the passing declaration of just how late you stayed up last night to prove that you are, in fact, taking the hardest schedule in the history of Yale undergraduate education, we all fail miserably at concealing that desire to be better than every single one of our peers.
With that deadly combination of raw talent and ruthless competitiveness running through all of our veins, it is no surprise that Yale plays host to countless athletic competitions each and every day in the form of varsity athletics, club sports and intramurals. But even with so many Yalies battling hard day in and day out, I feel there is a vast pool of talent and potentially compelling athletic matchups within the Yale community that have yet to be tapped.
What follows is my list of matchups I’d like to see happen (and my in-depth, expert analysis of their outcomes). Before I lay forth my ideas, I leave you with this thought: I have only the power of suggestion. It is up to you, Yale, to make these epic battles for Yale bragging rights happen.
Matchup 1: YSO vs. YPMB
The Game: Football
Analysis: YSO and YPMB are two of Yale’s most treasured musical institutions. But because YSO doesn’t play at football or hockey games, and because YPMB’s rendition of “Disturbia,” while moving, will never garner an invitation to perform at the world’s top performing venues, the two groups never find themselves juxtaposed in a position to determine which is truly superior. For that reason, in addition to the cool passion of YSO and the unbridled enthusiasm of YPMB, pitting the two groups against each other in the Yale Bowl would make for one of the greatest showdowns since the 1982 Big Game between Cal and Stanford.
My Pick: The first violins of YSO stand no chance against the ruthless YPMB tuba section.
YPMB 31, YSO 10.
Matchup 2: Morning Commons Card Swiper Lady vs. the one-and-only Flower Lady
The Game: Tennis
Analysis: When it comes to a matchup of agility, quickness and pure speed, it doesn’t get any better than this; and what better sport to show off that athleticism than tennis — a game of quick movements and short reaction time that plays host to some of the world’s most finely tuned competitors.
My Pick: The lightning fast hands of the Commons Swiper Lady would seem to give her the advantage talent-wise, but the relentless, dogged determination of the Flower Lady prevails in the end. Flower Lady 6–2, 4–6, 7–5.
Matchup 3: Skip vs. Steve
The Game: Drag racing
Analysis: We all know Skip and Steve can drive. Without their tremendous abilities to navigate the streets (and remarkably oblivious pedestrians) of New Haven, none of us, varsity, club or intramural athletes alike, would ever get out to the fields to compete — or more importantly, get back for dinner. But their talents are suffocated by the bulky yellow school buses and federal safety regulations that prevent them from carrying out the high-speed maneuvers we all know they are capable of. So, School of Engineering and Applied Science, I’m calling you out: We all know you guys don’t do that much work, so build two high-speed drag racing machines (and two fireproof suits) and let’s see what Skip and Steve really have.
My Pick: Toss up. Skip’s trash-talk + Steve’s no-nonsense approach is a formula for a photo-finish if I’ve ever seen one. Winner takes on Sue, the Yale varsity fields’ groundskeeper — the wild card — who makes up for her lack of experience on the roads with some serious off-roading golf-cart skills.
Matchup 4: Paul Kennedy vs. Charles Hill
The Game: Badminton
Analysis: Larry and Magic. Sampras and Agassi. Kennedy and Hill. Rarely in the history of sports have two transcendent figures in the same sport been active at the same time. Even more rarely do the stars align in such a way that these beacons find themselves competing against each other in matchups that inevitably become legendary.
Kennedy and Hill are two of the most renowned members of the esteemed Yale faculty. Their lists of accomplishments are longer than the Cubs’ World Series drought, and the number of Yale students for whom they have served as inspiration is infinite. Yet they have never, in their illustrious careers, faced off, mano-y-mano, face-to-face, to once and for all determine who truly is the defining figure of Yale’s international studies and political science programs. And what could be a more fitting venue for this matchup than badminton: a sport appreciated more internationally than here in the US. Kennedy, Hill, a court and a shuttlecock? Move over U.S. vs. Iceland from “D2: The Mighty Ducks” – this will definitely go down in history as the greatest game ever played.
My Pick: ESPN, the News and Reuters are reporting that Professor Kennedy is postponing surgery on his recently diagnosed herniated disks, and is planning instead to rehab and play through the pain. The resulting lack of mobility will undoubtedly put him at a serious disadvantage against the phenomenal hand-eye coordination of legendary note-taker Charles Hill. Even so, Kennedy’s superior experience, fiery passion and British accent will bring him the win.
Like I said before, I have only the power to suggest these matchups. It is up to us as a community to come together and use our well-practiced Yale social activism to bring these battles to fruition. So I beseech you — write e-mails, make phone calls, create fake Twitter accounts for the suggested competitors and start talking trash to get them fired up ( “@ Flower Lady: BRING IT”). This is about proving that Yale is not only intellectually and socially superior to the rest of the Ivy League, but also the premiere athletic school in the nation. Oh, and word on the street is ESPN, Fox and CBS sports are already in bidding wars for the TV deals; one Flower Lady/Commons Swiper Lady showdown and budget cuts would be a mere memory. Make it happen.
Chelsea Janes is a sophomore in Pierson College.