When underclassmen flock to The Game this weekend, they may notice a dearth of seniors.
This is not because we seniors are apathetic, jaded, lazy or way too sober to watch our butts get kicked for the fourth year in a row. Our boycott of The Game is actually part of a secret underground movement started by the Class of 2005 to unite all the Ivies. Our motto: For God, for country and for the Ancient Eight. Evidently, Harvard does not suck as much as previously thought, and Princeton matters just a tad.
In his recent New York Times review of Alice Munro’s short story collection, “Runaway,” novelist Jonathan Franzen hits the nail on our heads.
“Hatred is entertaining. The great insight of media-age extremists. How else to explain the election of so many repellent zealots, the disintegration of political civility, the ascendancy of Fox News?” Franzen wrote. “There’s hardly anybody who doesn’t hate somebody now, and nobody at all whom somebody doesn’t hate. Whenever I think about politics, my pulse rate jumps as if I’m reading the last chapter of an airport thriller, as if I’m watching Game Seven of a Sox-Yankees series.”
The last sentence might as well have read, “as if I’m watching the Harvard-Yale game.”
Just as Franzen said, “It’s like entertainment-as-nightmare-as-everyday-life.”
The Class of 2005 believes the Harvard-Yale game mimics the division of America. There is a parallel between the polarization of the country and our intra-league rivalry — a rivalry epitomized in The Game. In our infinite wisdom as seniors, we’ve seen the secular light and truth: We have no reason to hate each other so much. An Eli-Crimson union would be a match made in secular heaven. We educated John Kerry, and they raised him. Why should daddy and daddy fight? Perhaps this is the gay marriage the Republicans are trying so hard to outlaw. Sports, and The Game in particular, are the only perpetrators of Bulldog-Cantab animosity.
Allegedly both our squads have “Bush-Cheney 2004ever” emblazoned on their jock straps. Secular coincidence? We think not.
We are not implying that Texans breed football players specifically to send them to Ivy League institutions, thus prolonging this unhealthy intra-Ivy ire. However, we cannot help but wonder what it would be like if we all just learned to get along.
There is nothing wrong with school rivalries. Who does not admire the Army-Navy and Texas-Texas A&M slapfests? But we have come to realize that H-Y is not only irrelevant, it is indicative of America’s current state. Harvard-Yale is no better than Crossfire — it only serves to “hurt America.” And that is the last thing any of us, with the exception of Tucker Carlson, wants to do.
Do not worry. Just because you travel to Cambridge this weekend does not mean you support all that is wrong with America today. It does not mean you are a Republican, a foreigner or a terrorist, nor does it mean you are apathetic or an evangelical Christian. You are probably a true football-enthusiast, or, more likely, you are one of the few, the proud, the pressured. Many students who do choose to go to Harvard-Yale are in a position similar to Sen. John McCain’s during Bush’s re-election campaign: they really do not want to be there, but they feel compelled by “higher” powers to do so.
Should we not look to Bob Dylan’s presence at Harvard as a sign that we should make love, not football? So if you must go to The Game, do us a favor: attend the Dylan concert, hook up with a Cantab, erase the line of scrimmage and party together in the neutral zone.
Not going to Harvard-Yale does not make Yalies less patriotic. We still love Yale, and we support our Eli troops, but we just do not understand what it is they are fighting for. Even our handful of cheerleaders have nothing to be chipper about. The Ivy League simply is not as conservative as in years past. We all realize that polarization is bad, and The Game is symptomatic of this schism.
Regardless of which team wins Saturday, we all lose. There is something wrong with The Game itself. Much like Decision 2004, fans care more about the other team losing than their side winning. We need to formulate goals to advance the ball; otherwise, no one will ever score. We Ancient Eight need to put our heads together in a huddle to come up with a game plan that matters. Perhaps then the Democratic Party will get back on the board.
What to do with all the football players if there is no rivalry? Well, the future needs minority whips. And though the Bush twins are familiar with handcuffs, hopefully whips are not in their future.
Smita Gopisetty’s father tried to disenfranchise her in Princeton, N.J. and Katherine Stevens is nobody’s whipping girl. Except Jon Stewart’s.