The column on this page by Yale’s residential college deans and masters raises many important concerns about bladderball.
They are correct that the game, as it was played on Saturday, was unnecessarily dangerous. Anybody who saw students darting in front of cars to chase the rainbow-colored ball had an immediate appreciation for President Giamatti’s decision to ban the game in 1982.
But, as our predecessors wrote in this space 27 years ago, there are ways to play bladderball safely.
For starters, the game should be contained to Old Campus, where gates can be closed and where car traffic is not a concern. This could have happened over the weekend, but Yale officials did not take seriously the rumors that bladderball would return.
Students, too, can help make bladderball less chaotic. The event should not be an occasion for “drunken hysteria, boundless aggression and thoughtless violence,” as the editors of this paper wrote in the year the ban was instituted. Instead, as it was this past weekend, bladderball should be an occasion for the community to come together once each year and enjoy a fun Yale tradition.
Nobody has to play bladderball, which is as it should be. But if students next year want to chase a big ball around Old Campus, they should be given another chance.