I’m not sure if most of you students here understand, but Yale does have a football team.
As I was sitting in the student section for last Saturday’s football game against Holy Cross, it became increasingly frustrating for me to look upon rows and rows of empty seats in the Yale Bowl. It amazes me that our student body can neglect a college football program with such tradition. Yale produced Heisman Trophy winners like Larry Kelley ’37 and Clint Frank ’38 in addition to Walter Camp ’80, the father of modern football.
I couldn’t believe I would ever have to ask students to support this team when I came here, but after seeing so many empty seats on Saturday, I guess I thought wrong. Is it such a painful idea to spend a beautiful Saturday afternoon outside at the Bowl supporting a team that has worked harder than most of you can imagine to earn the 3-0 record they have right now, atop the Ivy League standings?
You know, I enjoy the idea of so many kids coming to the Harvard game every year. In fact, I love having a packed student section that makes a ton of noise. The only thing that bothers me: why don’t we draw a similarly raucous crowd for all our games? Ivy League policy might limit the number of football recruits, but it doesn’t limit the number of fans.
I won’t accept the argument that you don’t want to show up because we are playing inferior competition. For those of you who were buried in your textbooks instead of soaking up the sunshine last Saturday, our Bulldogs beat Holy Cross 28-19, four weeks after Holy Cross defeated Army, which is a Division I-A program.
Do you think that Florida State or Tennessee fans go home just because they are playing a team like Clemson or Memphis? No. Definitely not. The fact of the matter is that they enjoy and truly appreciate the tradition that is college football. And please, just please, give me the excuse that you have too much work to do. Okay, let’s be honest. No one has so much work that he has to stay in the library between 1 and 4 p.m. every Saturday.
Do you remember the energy the student body had for Yale’s home basketball games against Princeton and Penn last year? People couldn’t help but be amazed at the noise we produced in helping the Bulldogs gain their first-ever postseason victory.
So enough complaining. Come to games. Be loud. Be obnoxious. Support your team. Do you think these guys expected to come play college football in front of a morgue? No — they came to play in one of the birthplaces of college football, and as students, we ought to support them.
Oh, and don’t get me started on Yale basketball just yet. That’s next week.