Yale is a heterogeneous milieu of limitless variety: From the people to their interests, the diversity seems infinite. From a cappella to aeronautics, it seems like everything and everyone is surrounded by an inordinate mix of researchers and performers, schedules and events. Nightlife ranges similarly, from bars that only let in 21-year-olds to suites that host all of Bingham.
The consequences of this diversity of interests is undoubtedly positive. Yet there are a few drawbacks, or at least neutral consequences. For one, the sheer diversity of options ensures that we can’t sample everything, and there is much of it we will never know.
I am a history major in Trumbull who lives on High Street. Before this semester, my farthest class was WLH. I could literally go this entire year without ever inhabiting the same space as the astronomy major in Franklin. A friend said to me a few days ago, “there are social circles at Yale that if you’re not a part of them, you’ll never know of them.”
Yet for all of the things we will never know, for all of the shows we will never see, Yalies generally have respect for the various tastes and talents on campus. Except maybe sports. To so many, sports are a physical activity that ensures entrance into a scholarly institution. While this is bogus idea, I have addressed it before and do not have the column inches to do so again.
But for both of these issues — the fact that we might never cross paths with half of the school and that half the school does not respect our athletes or sports — there is one exception: Yale-Harvard.
From Science Hill to the Yale Farm, everyone comes together to support some of our athletes for The Game. But maybe not this year.
This year, there are two problems. One, fewer tickets, which is an issue that is compounded by the second issue: a new ticket system. Under the new tiered system, the date when you can pick up your ticket depends on whether or not you have attended a certain number of other games. Attend all four, you get the first access; attend three, second. Then, at a later date, everyone can grab a ticket until none remain.
You might be thinking “none remain?” Yeah, so am I. This year, there will be roughly 500 fewer tickets available than in previous years. Which, I might add, is odd, since Fenway holds 7,000 more people than the dump in which Harvard plays.
It is important to note that these two issues, the ticket acquisition system and the ticket numbers, have different sources. The former is a Yale issue. The latter is (at least largely) a Harvard and Fenway Park issue. It is the Crimson who allocate our tickets, and they decided to give us fewer this year. Oh, and I might mention, Harvard allocates roughly 500–1000 fewer tickets to us than Yale allocates to Harvard students. You probably didn’t know that fact, but you could have guessed it.
Yet I am not certain the ticket system itself is a good one either. If the point of this ticket scheme is to make students go to games, then maybe there is something admirable in it: but Yale-Harvard is not the moment to make this point. Sacrificing the one instance in which students will go to a game in order to encourage them to go to more games is a remarkably self-defeating strategy. It’s like telling someone who is afraid of flights, but is willing to fly to his daughter’s wedding, “Hey, you can only go to the wedding if you take four completely nonrelated flights.”
And, should this strategy prove effective on a few people, the system for proving attendance at the games also defeats its own purpose. Yale will keep track of how many of the four games you attend by asking you to swipe in when you arrive at the stadium.
Checking in when you arrive? I’d bet our endowment people show up, swipe in and dip out.
The other argument offered by our sports administration is that this system rewards true fans. Is the game possibly the most historic athletic competition in America? Yes. Is the game still attended by thousands of alumni? Yes. But do I believe that this game should be marketed as only for the true Yale sports fans? No.
The Game is a time for everyone to come together and, at least for a day, enjoy the thrills of athletics and a rivalry in which we all participate. Secondly, there should not be a reward system for loyal students because every student should get a ticket. Nobody who wants to go to this game should find themselves unable to. Thus, this is a problem produced by Harvard’s allocation and Yale’s system.
To be fair, we have never technically had enough tickets for everyone. And, this year we should have as many tickets as we have sold to students in previous years. But, for one, we have more students than ever before. And two, this is the first year that we have had so few tickets that Yalies who do want to go can’t invite their friends.
Let’s also address the third excuse for this new system: to raise awareness that tickets go on sale earlier as mandated by Fenway. Yet the only way it seems the initiative was publicized was through social media and on posters outside dining halls. Students never received an email about the initiative. It seems strange that a strategy for promotion would not be promoted.
Thus, though the biggest issue is that Harvard allocates fewer tickets to us than we do for them, the system for earning a ticket is a strange strategy — particularly when implemented in a year in which we have more students and Harvard has allocated fewer tickets to us than usual.
Kevin Bendesky | firstname.lastname@example.org