I’ve always been indecisive. (For Halloween in the first grade, I dressed up as a Hawaiian-fairy-ice-princess.) Sometimes, when my judgement really fails me, I resort to arbitrary decision-making methods. When I found myself unable to choose a first choice college as a high school senior, I decided that I would base my preference on the outcome of an athletic competition that had never meant anything to me in the past: the annual Harvard-Yale football game, then in its 129th year. The two teams would make my decision for me — clearly, much more was at stake than just a centuries-long rivalry.
In the living room with my parents on either side of me, I had the TV turned on to NBC Sports — a rare occurrence in my household of music lovers. As the uniformed players marched into Harvard Stadium, I felt my excitement grow: this game — The Game — would determine my future. But by half time, I tired of pretending to understand football, and instead turned to the Harvard-Yale edition of the Yale Daily News that my mother (whose bias for the Bulldogs was hardly subtle) had brought me. While crimson-clad mammoths tackled their opponents onscreen, I remained captivated by the paper, reading stories of drunken tailgates, ridiculous encounters and the requisite number of hilarious Harvard-deprecating anecdotes. The next day I scanned the online version of The Harvard Crimson, looking for the same wit, humor and general sense of fun that I had seen in the News. I found it remarkably lacking. The Crimson’s own opinion section agreed that Harvard sucks — Rory Gilmore had clearly made the right call. It was my “And That’s Why I Chose Yale” moment.
A year later, I know I chose right, and the prospect of losing a football game now hardly threatens my security in that decision. As a member of Morse College, the college that “ALWAYS WINS,” I am familiar with the idea that one does not need to technically “win” to have actually won. It’s true that our football team scored fewer points than Harvard’s did last year, and that it may well happen again this year. But Yale truly won (beyond just winning my preference, clearly the day’s greatest prize) because our paper was better, our T-shirts were funnier, and our fans’ pride was based on something other than being ranked #1.
Whether or not we win the football game this year, we will have won the weekend. Because regardless of how many times the ball is thrown into whose end zone, we will spend the next week, cozy in our blue and white beds, sleeping off our hangovers while Cantabs head back to the classroom. We’ll win because we’ll look better cheering on our athletes — our girls are an A and our guys an A+ to Harvard’s C+ and B+, respectively (thanks, College Prowler!). We’ll win because when we host the game, there are always parties, because when we get there we won’t still be talking about our SAT scores, and because the last time Handsome Dan faced off against a crimson blanket, he fared pretty well.