I wrote a short column on Yale basketball two weeks ago that received 12 online responses in less than two days. Most of them were from University of Pennsylvania and Princeton fans who felt like gloating over their victories against us that weekend. One “Tigerfan” in particular called the Bulldogs a “sorry excuse for a team” and told me to “dream on.”
Well, Mr. Tigerfan, that same “sorry excuse for a team” now shares the Ivy League championship with your team. Meanwhile, the Quakers thrashed your Tigers twice by an average of 20 points, and Princeton has fallen from a potential automatic March Madness berth to last seed in the Ivy League playoffs. So either you admit to having an even sorrier excuse for a team or just shut your trap and go to bed because maybe it’s time you start dreaming.
Another response told me to check my facts because according to the reader — who so eloquently called himself “another young Ivy team” — the Princeton and Penn basketball teams are just as young as Yale’s. Fine. Here are the facts: Two of Princeton’s top three scorers are seniors. Penn’s top three scorers are juniors. Yale’s top three scorers? Two freshmen and a sophomore.
The same guy also asked me if I had ever been to a game at the Tigers’ Jadwin Gym because apparently, “The opposing team has no chance!!” out there. Obviously, this guy hadn’t checked his own facts because Penn had demolished Princeton at Jadwin, 62-38, two weeks earlier.
Then there was one response that I just couldn’t understand. This is what “Big Ed from Cornell” had to say: “Guess what– you suck!” Last time I checked, the Big Red were dead last in the Ivy League. I don’t need to guess if you suck or not. I know you suck. Everyone knows. And what do they call you out in Ithaca, anyway? Big Red Ed?
As if all this resentment to the Bulldogs breaking into the Ivy League basketball elite weren’t enough, tonight and Saturday’s playoff games are taking place at locations that are 175.0 and 149.6 miles, respectively, from New Haven but only 44.9 and 55.5 miles from Princeton. Penn’s only playoff game will take place 57.7 miles away from Philly.
There, I checked my facts (on Yahoo! Maps, no less), and we are indeed being shafted.
Not only is that a lengthier and more tiring ride for the Yale team, but it means that it’s going to cost a whole lot more time and money for Yale students to go watch the playoffs than for Princeton or Penn students. It costs a Tiger fan $12 to get to Philly. It costs one of us $11.50 just to get to New York, where we need to catch the $1.50 subway down to Penn Station, the $9.50 NJ Transit to Trenton, then the $7.00 SEPTA to Philly. It adds up to $17.50 more, and that’s just one way.
Nevertheless, we’re going to make sure there are still just as many, if not more, Yalies at The Palestra tonight as there will be Princetonians. We owe it to the team that has given us true sports fans in New Haven something to cheer about. We also need to dominate the Princeton students who are — to use Princetonian rhetoric — sorry excuses for sports fans. So find a bus, catch the trains, or start driving yourself down to Penn as soon as you put this paper down (especially if you’re reading this after lunch), because the game starts at 8 p.m. and you won’t want to miss any of it.
And one last note to those ever-amiable P-school fans who responded to my column: your newspapers must be sorry excuses for journalism, too, if you spend all your time reading this one.