Yale Daily News

Team 148 is set to face off against Harvard in the 137th playing of The Game on November 20. For alumni, The Game is a massive draw to return to campus, especially for those who once played on the football team. 

One of the most important traditions for many former football players is the tailgate before the game. Outside of the Yale Bowl, Lots D, F and H are overrun with football alumni as early as 10 a.m.

“If you just go between Lot F and Lot D, you’re gonna see, you know, 75 people you played football with. They’re all gonna be over in that area,” said offensive lineman Steve Webster ’96.

The opportunity to see old teammates at the annual meeting of the Bulldogs and the Crimson is something that former players look forward to. Every year, alumni come from all corners of the country to gather in New Haven or Cambridge.

For alumni, The Game is both a time to reconnect with old friends and teammates, and also a chance to cheer on the current team. Many alumni look back on fond memories of past victories over that school up the river. 

“I remember our junior and senior year we won. I remember my junior year, I sacked the Harvard quarterback to end the game, and we won 33 to 31. That was the last play of the game,” said defensive lineman John Lykouretzos ’95. “It was kind of a coverage sack, I won’t take all the credit.”

Although these memories of The Game were from decades ago, nothing can dull the reminisces of glory against the Crimson.

The Bulldog alumni still feel a part of the team and the long tradition of Yale football. Every former player seems to remember every snap they ever played in The Game, without fail.

“I just think it’s good to see how the program continues to build and evolve and it’s always encouraging to see that it’s, at the same time, kind of honoring and remembering the former teams, especially on the plaza at The Bowl. It’s always fun to go find your name,” said former center Jay Sturhahn ’95, “To feel like you’ve got a connection to the current team. It’s a really good experience and I really have enjoyed sharing it with my kids too.”

For these alumni, one constant will remain in the years to come — the singular goal: beat Harvard. Above all else, the competitive spirit of Yale versus Harvard prevails.

Whether on the playing field or up in the stands, Yale football players of all ages never lose their love for The Game. 

“I think it’s a homecoming, and a phenomenal opportunity to come back and watch the competition, cheer against Harvard, and reconnect with friends and meet a lot of new people,” Lykouretzos said. 

This year’s matchup will be the 137th iteration of The Game.

Spencer King is an Editor for the Sports desk. He has covered the Yale football and women's ice hockey teams. He has also previously covered the Yale men's lacrosse team and most things Bulldogs sports. Spencer is a junior in Davenport College and is majoring in Political Science.