For the first time in a long time, the campus has been swept up in a frenzy of activity and anticipation. No, it’s not the long-awaited swine flu vaccine. It’s The Game 2009.
We can safely say that no sporting event not involving Justin Timberlake and Janet Jackson has made more people who didn’t care about football care about football. Once a year, Yalies find excuses to make shirts with profane messages, drink (responsibly) and get invited to approximately 153 events on Facebook.
Seriously guys, I don’t wanna be Samuel L. Jackson from “Snakes On A Plane,” but ENOUGH IS ENOUGH — I’ve had it with these monkey-fightin’ events on this Monday-to-Friday Facebook.
OK, I’m lying — being Samuel L. Jackson would be awesome, and that was before I Wikipedia-ed him and realized that the L. stood for Leroy. But still, I really don’t care if you’re having a Harvard-Yale bake sale to benefit abstinence in domesticated zoo animals. Sorry, zoo animal abstinence just doesn’t do it for me anymore.
Anyhow, the amount of support for Yale football during this week has been mind-boggling. My professors ended class early. The Yale College Council has instituted “Spirit Week” and a Pep Rally. The Flower Lady even gave me a two-for-one Game-week discount.
But all this community-wide support got me thinking: How would I feel this week if I were a non-football player? Would I be the Miranda to football’s Carrie Bradshaw? Before you defenestrate me for making a “Sex and the City” reference, think about this: For one fleeting week a year, Yale football is on everyone’s lips. As someone from the south, where college football dominates every Saturday, this week is as close as it gets to a normal kind of sports atmosphere.
But there’s one big difference: those southern football fans also come out in droves for basketball and baseball and hockey. If watching cat poop dry were a collegiate sport, those same fans would still probably come out. Why can’t Yale people get out for games other than The Game?
I posed that very question to Yale Athletics last year when I was trying to start up a YCC incentives program to get people into bleachers for a variety of sports. After a long meeting, Yale Athletics basically said winning gets fans in seats. As an example, they brought up our hockey team, which dominated its conference last season like freshman organic chemistry dominated me.
It was a valid point, but how do you explain people who root for perennial losers? I’m an avid Toronto Raptors fan, but they’ve been sucking wind like 2007 No. 1 overall draft pick JaMarcus Russell after a warm-up jog ever since I first hit puberty. I think at Yale, there’s a more basic problem: People just don’t know which games are on. This is especially apparent during Harvard-Yale week.
I know, I know — we’re supposed to be smart, but in an impromptu poll of four people, zero percent said they knew there were athletic events going on this week besides The Game. You see, every year, the week of the Game brings what I call “the second season” of college sports: basketball.
With that in mind, I invite all of you to the women’s basketball game tonight. The Bulldogs are playing the No. 7 ranked Arizona State Sun Devils, a team that went to the Elite Eight last year. Yale upset a national power (NC State) last year and plays a style that can punish teams who take them lightly. Plus, the team boasts a nationally ranked freshmen class of recruits. When was the last time a major Yale sport was nationally ranked in anything? (If you said hockey, you’d be right. But let’s move on.)
After The Game on Saturday, take your refreshment-induced buzz to John J. Lee Amphitheater for “The Battle for Toad’s” against Q-Pac in men’s basketball. Losers have to dance up on the Toad’s bouncers.
There, I’ve done my job. All 10 of you who read my columns on a regular basis now know these games exist. If the thought of tall guys dancing up on Toad’s bouncers doesn’t do it for you, then there’s no hope — there’s nothing I can do to convince you to come to games besides The Game.
John Song is a junior in Berkeley College.
For more Harvard-Yale coverage, visit yaledailynews.com/thegame.