Every year, I am always a bit annoyed by the length of the line to purchase Yale-Harvard tickets. I find it so off-putting, not because waiting for 20 minutes is some sort of horrible inconvenience for me, but simply because it seems unfair that most Yale students only care about our football team for a single game each year. But walking past that line this week, I finally cracked a smile.
To me, that line represents the one time a year when our community comes together. And I cannot imagine a better moment for our school’s annual weekend of rapprochement.
One a year ago, I wrote a column quite similar to this one, amid campus protests surrounding issues of inequality and the representation of minority students at Yale. While those issues are still important today, a much larger matter — the legitimization of hatred within our country — dwarfs them all. Never before in my life have I seen our country so divided. We are witnessing an American state afflicted by open displays of hatred, racism, misogyny, violence and xenophobia. These acts, utterly deplorable even in conception, have been perpetrated in large part by those emboldened as a result of our most recent presidential election.
Hate should never be allowed to triumph and we at Yale are in as desperate a need of reconciliation as is the rest of our country, even as we stand at our seemingly lofty perch atop the proverbial parapets of the Ivy League. Yale-Harvard weekend provides the much needed opportunity for unity in a divided house.
Over the past week I have witnessed students in varying states of shock, anger and sadness following President-elect Donald Trump’s victory. My fellow Yalies reacted so viscerally not because they are fragile individuals or “special snowflakes,” but rather because they understood what that decision meant for the future of the country they know and love, as well as their place within it.
Fortunately for us, we have the opportunity to treat our clash with Harvard as a chance to come together as a campus in celebration of love, understanding and good-natured competition.
While The Game always evokes a sense of togetherness and school spirit, those feelings are more necessary now than ever. I am imploring you, regardless of whether you’ll be in Cambridge this weekend or not, to take the time to embrace the unifying spirit that accompanies this contest. Reach out to a fellow student and tell them they matter. Stand by your Black, Asian, Latinx, LGBTQ+ and Muslim friends and let them know that even in a time marked by incredible anger, we are equally representative of this community and are determined to ensure that love will trump hate.
Football might seem trivial given all that has happened this month, but use this game as a much-needed chance to laugh and cheer with your friends. It is my hope that this year’s Yale-Harvard bout will bring the best out of these two schools, both on and off the field.
This weekend should be about more than just supporting our football team, shouting at referees or making fun of Harvard’s stupid mascot: It should be about ensuring that we are doing all of those things together. Competition breeds community, and I’m desperately hoping that we can take comfort in that fact and use this weekend to repair some of Yale’s many social cracks and chasms that have only widened over this past week.
Just like our boys out on that football field, we’re a team. With that designation comes a responsibility. Teammates aren’t always expected to see eye to eye, but they are required to stand beside one another, even when that seems most difficult.
Though this past week has been challenging, it is valuable to step back from the situation and bond over something as simultaneously trivial and invaluable as a football game. I really hate Donald Trump, but I figured it might be nice to stop and take a moment to watch a game, spread some love and, of course, hate Harvard, too.
Marc Cugnon is a senior in Calhoun College. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org .