The sight of Yale students filling the Harvard stands to witness a chapter in one of the most historic and heated college football rivalries since the sport’s inception is indeed an awesome one. At no point in time throughout the athletic year do students get excited to attend one Yale sporting event like The Game. However, after being a part of three Harvard-Yale games, I wish that some of those students would stay home.
I would usually blame a loss on inept coaching, but instead, the Yale fans share some blame for Yale’s 20-13 loss two weeks ago to Harvard.
At one point in the second half, with our Elis down by a touchdown, things were shaping up well for a tying score. Jeff Mroz ’05 had led the Bulldogs down the field, and the Elis were in Harvard territory with a first down. The offense gathered into a huddle, and suddenly the students started making the most noise they had all game.
Perplexed by the noise, three members of the Yale offense motioned by moving their arms up and down for the crowd to stay quiet so that the offensive line could hear the snap count and get the play off smoothly. Well, just leave it to Yale sports fans to have no idea what the flapping of the arms meant. To them, it might as well have been a remake of Angels in the End Zone, thinking that our offensive line was motioning for the ghosts of Eli to take the ball into the end zone.
However, if our students had watched one football game in their life, they would have recognized the fact that you’re not supposed to deafen your OWN team’s offense. Consequently, Yale got a false start penalty, killed every bit of momentum gained on the drive up to that point, and ultimately ended the drive without a score.
Harvard subsequently received the ball, and instead of generating more noise, our student body became deathly silent.
Some people have told me that they thought we had better fans than Harvard’s students because of the noise we made. But it matters more when you make your noise than how much of it you make. With Harvard backed up near the goal line, the Yale fans could have given the defense a lift by making it hard for the Cantab offense to hear the snap count. I guess that never occurred to anyone.
The only reason why we didn’t hear Harvard’s fans much was because their offense had the ball most of the game, and like good fans, they didn’t disrupt it. Sure, their Thundersticks took every bit of dignity they had and destroyed it, but at least they know how to cheer.
People will argue, “But this is more than a game. This is the social event of the year.” Do you think our football team appreciates the fact that people care more about doing college cheers for hours on end than paying attention to what is happening on the field?
Leave the socializing in the parking lot, and come into the stadium ready to cheer and support your team. And please, for once turn on a football or basketball game and watch schools with fans who know what they are doing.
You might learn something.