As hundreds of Yale students voyage to Cambridge this weekend, other Yalies will stay behind — and not by choice. The reason: They have their own game on the day of The Game.
Seven Bulldog teams — women’s and men’s cross country, swimming and diving, women’s basketball, heavyweight crew and men’s ice hockey — will be in action on Saturday while the eyes of thousands of past and present Elis are fixed on the football team at Harvard Stadium.
Several of the athletes competing on Saturday who will not be at Harvard said they are disappointed that they will miss the festivities in Cambridge, and that their games will receive less attention than usual. Yet they also said they understand the importance of The Game.
And, though only in spirit, they say they will be rooting for the football team.
Matt Nelson ’09, the captain of the men’s ice hockey team, said he and his teammates plan on watching as much of The Game as they can before their 7:00 p.m. home game against the University of Alabama-Huntsville.
“I understand it’s a huge rivalry — the attention is deserved,” Nelson said of The Game, in which he said several friends from his senior society will be playing.
They too will miss another tradition, one that is almost as big as The Game itself: hundreds of Elis will flock to tailgate before the game begins. Athletes said the fact that they cannot participate in such revelry and tradition with their classmates is perhaps more disappointing.
During Nelson’s four years at Yale, the hockey team has always played a game on the Saturday of Harvard-Yale. Luckily, he said, two years ago they attended because their game was also at Harvard. While the women’s basketball team does not traditionally have a game on the same day as the Harvard football game, the players cannot enjoy the game as other students do — engaging in tailgate fun, for instance — because Jamie Van Horne ’09, the women’s basketball team captain, said they train the next day.
Nelson and Van Horne’s teams will not be facing typical Ivy League rivals in their games, but cross country and crew will engage in Ancient Eight competition this weekend.
The men’s cross country team will compete against all Ivy League teams in the IC4A Championships at Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx. The women’s team will compete in the ECAC Championships, also hosted at Van Cortlandt Park. The meet will be cross country’s season finale.
Appropriately, the heavyweight crew team will face off against Harvard as well as a several other Ivy teams at the Foot of the Charles Regatta on Saturday morning. In an instance of fortuitous timing for fans and rowers alike, the regatta action begins at 8:30 a.m., leaving enough time for Yalies to make it to the noon kickoff at the football stadium.
Crew captain Andy Collard ’09 said he hopes more Yale students show their support for the crew team since the regatta is only a short distance away from the site of The Game. And in all likelihood, the rowers will even be able to make it to the pregame tailgate, leaving their oars behind.