I initially planned to lambaste Harvard and its asinine tailgate restrictions in this pre-Game column. What an opportunity to stick it to those miserable Cantabs! I, too, wanted to jump on the bandwagon of anti-Game fervor. But this weekend, wandering around the biggest Yale-Princeton tailgate in years, I realized that something anti-Yale is in the air: People are serious about not going to Cambridge this weekend.
You could read about it in campus publications all last week, could feel the buzz in the dining halls. The Yale-Princeton game was dubbed the “new” Game. Campus organizations sold T-shirts saying, “Princeton sucks, Harvard doesn’t matter” as a tacit demotion of the Yale-Harvard game’s status. More importantly, the Council of Masters wiped their hands clean by announcing that they would not subsidize transportation to Cambridge, forcing Yalies to cough up $60 for a round-trip ASA-sponsored bus ticket. In this vein, at least three residential colleges announced they would not hold tailgates at Harvard. This newspaper even reported that the Yale College Council had to extend its student tailgate deadline for want of applications.
This malaise is contrary to the spirit of The Game and is as lame as the new tailgate rules. If your justification for not going to The Game is financial — indeed, the $75 you would have to pay for a round-trip bus ticket and Game entrance is 50 percent more than the Student Activities Fund contribution — then that is completely understandable. But if you are not planning on going to The Game to protest the event, think again. What follows is a top-10 list of why, restrictions or otherwise, The Game is superior:
10. When life hands you lemons… The announcement by Harvard’s administration that no students will be allowed to bring alcohol into The Game only means that the party will shift to the Houses and off campus. Take the T, sample some of Boston’s great pubs and explore Cambridge.
9. Something for everyone. Freshmen, this is your first Game, and you will not want to miss it. Sophomores, this is your first opportunity to see Harvard’s version as a seasoned veteran. Juniors, your class will be running most of Yale’s festivities in Cambridge, so come out and show your support. Seniors, this is our last Game before we become those sketchy alumni who cannot seem to leave. Plus, with a pub crawl planned by the Senior Class Council, make sure you have your dues sticker!
8. Sneak into Hasty Pudding, a “finals club,” or some other pseudo-secret institution at Harvard. Thank God we don’t have arcane organizations like these at Yale. Oh wait…
7. Meet up with old friends. This is your chance to see high-school rivals who went to the dark side. Compare notes, brag, lie — whatever it takes. Remember, the burden is on them to show you a good time.
6. Laugh at the tourists. You will see hundreds of visitors eagerly rubbing the foot of a John Harvard statue that reportedly gets urinated on in fraternity rituals. Priceless.
5. See Yale football at its best. While I, too, was devastated by the Elis’ heartbreaking performance Saturday, remember that at this time last year, Yale was nowhere close to the league title. Now, Yale has a chance to share it with Princeton.
4. The Saybrook Strip. Liked the spectacle at the end of the third quarter on Saturday? Watch as Saybrook seniors bare it all this time around.
3. Rivalry at its finest. See dozens of campus organization perform with or against their counterparts in Cambridge. From a cappella to improv comedy to intramural football, you will find them all.
2. Revel in the fact that you did not go to Harvard. Look around at all the unhappy, plagiarizing Cantabs and be glad you are not one of them. You’ll be so proud to be an Eli, you’ll want to smack a kiss on Dean Brenzel’s forehead for letting you in.
1. No school on Monday. Regardless of whether we win or not, you can sleep in on Monday, and Johnny Harvard cannot.
Steven Engler is a senior in Saybrook College. His column appears on alternate Wednesdays.