Because I don’t want to. 

I’ve been asked this question to the point of exhaustion throughout the past two or so weeks. Go figure — the annual Yale-Harvard football game is by and large the most relevant social and athletic event at this point of the school year. And why shouldn’t it be? The Yale-Harvard game is a historic American sporting event, a nearly 150-year-old tradition that we, as students at both of these prestigious academic institutions, have the unique opportunity to take part in. 

The Game isn’t just a football game. You can argue that it isn’t even about football at all. It’s a symbol of a centuries-old rivalry between two venerable Western academic titans. It’s a pretty big deal. In fact, it’s such a big deal, that we — or rather our beloved alumni — deemed it worthy of a proper noun. Even if it makes us all sound like enormous douchebag elitists. 

Precursory aside, here’s an example of a typical conversation where the titular question pops up: 

First, I’m asked if I’m going to The Game. I respond that I’m not. Then, I’m asked why. I give the same default response — the first line of this article. I’m met with a blank stare and asked why once more. I boil my reasoning down to a short and simple “I just don’t like football.” Finally, depending on the person, I am told about how special The Game is, or why it’s not just about football but “the experience,” or that it would be silly of me not to attend when it’s free and practically right in my backyard, or that it seems lazy to sit around and do nothing when I could be having fun participating in something that’s just so deeply rooted in American academic and athletic history. Rinse and repeat ad nauseam. 

Do I have anything alternative planned on Nov. 18? Not in the slightest. Instead of going all the way to the Yale Bowl to watch a competition to see who can get CTE first — a science acronym for a pretty bad permanent concussion — on a slightly too chilly fall day alongside my more socially enthused peers, I’ll probably be sprawled out on my couch binging the new season of Rick and Morty or playing “Super Smash Bros” by myself against level nine CPUs. Because frankly, I’d rather have my eyes glued to a TV screen showing me stuff I want than go to some football game I don’t even care about, even if it’s against my college’s crappy Crimson counterpart. 

Don’t get it twisted: I’m not going to suggest that there is anything wrong with going to the Yale-Harvard game. Not to go all Aristotle on anyone, but those who decide to attend The Game aren’t any more virtuous as those who don’t. Yes, indeed, not a single person on planet Earth without a Yale or Harvard affiliation gives a single atom of a damn about it, but that’s not my point. My point is this: Normalize not doing something unnecessary just because you don’t want to. 

There’s no question that the Yale-Harvard game is cool and historical — whatever that means — and that, for most, it would probably be a good time with a sufficient degree of inebriation. But, if you really just don’t want to, you shouldn’t feel pressured to go. Perhaps you don’t want to feel left out amongst your peers, or maybe The Game appears to be just so important within the limited confines of the Ivy League. But at the end of the day, there’s no better excuse to not do something than simply not wanting to. 

If you feel the need to further justify yourself to anybody, I’m here to say that you don’t. Oftentimes, we’re asked to justify a decision to not attend a social event, e.g. parties, concerts, sporting events, lectures, whatever. In the absence of an alternative commitment to use as a scapegoat, society expects us to give a so-called “valid reason” for our choice. Here’s the fact of the matter: Any “valid reason” you could possibly provide for not doing something is just some circumstantial, vague derivation of the plain and simple truth that you just don’t want to do it. By straight-up admitting it, you bypass all the pointless explanatory quibbling and cut right to the chase. 

So, if you’re like me and you aren’t going to The Game, take a page from my book next time someone asks why not. We all feel the need to explain ourselves and we all have stuff we don’t want to do — these are two of the most relatable things someone can experience. After all, who can argue against something that everyone does?

ZANE GLICK is a sophomore majoring in the humanities in Ezra Stiles College. You can contact him at