It’s pretty much a foregone conclusion that Harvard will beat Yale yet again. I’ve known this inevitability since this time last year when an almost Biblical allegory unfolded on the streets of Connecticut.
The night following The Game, after a little Toad’s and a lot of drifting between empty frat houses, my friends and I ended up at A One Pizza, looking to enjoy a slice of New Haven’s tastiest pies. Minding our own business as we stood in line, a disgruntled Yalie (British accent, crew team) accosted one of my friends, an innocent bystander in the Harvard-Yale rivalry, and the two of them shared some unpleasant words.
When it came time to pay for his pizza, my friend used his credit card, but, after he put the receipt down on the counter, the sneaky Eli wrote in a $20 tip.
Now I respect that guy’s hustle. That move is the stuff great rivalries are made of. But my friend, once he was alerted to Eli’s generosity, did not take kindly to the scheme.
As their ensuing argument spilled out into the street, a figure emerged from the darkness, his duster billowing freely like a cape.
His name was Joe Comfort. Or perhaps I should say “Joe Comfort, Street Legend,” which is the name he told us to search for on Wikipedia.
I don’t know if Joe Comfort already has this reputation in New Haven, but he is an urban angel who serves and protects street justice. With his supernatural sense of fairness, Joe Comfort obviously sided with the good guys and approached the now-whimpering Bulldog.
Punching a brick wall to showcase his Bowser-like strength, Joe Comfort indicated that if restitution were not made, he would pop the Yalie’s kidneys like a zit.
Of course, Eli sheepishly repaid my friend the $20, of which he gave Joe Comfort a fitting portion.
I share this story because it perfectly parallels The Game from last year. Holding a 10–0 lead late in the fourth quarter, the Bulldogs, perhaps surprised at their temporary competence, foolishly began to believe they could beat Harvard; similarly, the Yale undergrad was up $0 to -$20 and thought he was in the clear. But the Crimson clawed its way back with a 41-yard touchdown pass from Collier Winters to Matt Luft, just like my friend rallied by taking the fight outside on Broadway.
Both conflicts were up for grabs at this point. And then a wild card intervened. Tom Williams called for a fake punt on fourth-and-22 that failed and gave Harvard great field position; Joe Comfort swooped into action to fight for truth, justice, and the Crimson way.
Ultimately, due to cosmic forces — Tom Williams’ bone-headedness and Joe Comfort’s heroism — each event reached its appropriate outcome. Harvard won, 14–10, on a 32-yard touchdown catch by Chris Lorditch, and the sneaky Eli forked over an Andrew Jackson.
Now I admit, I wasn’t there to see the Crimson’s comeback last year. In the middle of the fourth quarter, I walked the 5k back to Saybrook College to take a nap in my friend’s room. But that’s only because I already knew we’d win (and I like naps). I have supreme faith in these mystical forces of good that ensure Harvard prospers and Yale suffers.
For that reason, I have no doubt the Crimson will win once again. I don’t even need to examine the rosters or break down the matchups. So what if Harvard is looking up at the Bulldogs in the Ivy League standings right now. Want to know what that reminds me of? 2007, when the Crimson ruined Yale’s perfect season and stole the league title with a 37–6 curb-stomping at the Yale Bowl.
Yes, I fully expect to win and to complete The Grand Slam — a 4–0 record in The Game as an undergrad. It’s so inevitable at this point that I can’t muster much vitriol for the Bulldogs. In fact, I feel sorry for them. Between the impending loss and Harvard’s draconian tailgate restrictions, Yalies are bound to have a lousy time this weekend. But, at least for a day, when they look across the stadium at the shining faces of “10,000 Men [and Women] of Harvard,” they get a sense of what life would be like if they hadn’t gone to a safety school.
Timothy J. Walsh is a senior at Harvard College.