A Lost Dartmouth Weekend
I've only seen my roommate Greg cry one time. It was last year as we walked home from the Dartmouth game sometime during the fourth quarter.
If you remember, the Crimson went into that game undefeated and the favorite to beat Dartmouth for the first time in five years. Everything looked good for Harvard in the contest. Dartmouth had dropped its first three games for the first time since 1959 while Harvard was among the nation's leaders in total defense and quarterback Jimmy Stoeckel and split receiver Pat McInally had been keying a potent Crimson offense. So Greg placed a small wager, $200 double or nothing from a previous bet with a "friend" in Philadelphia on a sure thing-a Crimson victory.
The Dartmouth Saturday was clear and in the sixties, which was amazing since it had been raining and cool the rest of the week. We picked up a pint of Southern Comfort and a box of whiskey sour mix from Harvard Pro, made about a quart of whiskey sour and sneaked it into the game in a paper bag. We got there a little early and started on the drinks.
As far as football went, it just wasn't Harvard's day. Although the Crimson scored first on a field goal, the Green came back to run roughshod over the Harvard defense (and Harvard hopes to remain undefeated) by taking a 24-3 halftime lead. By this time we had long since finished the sours, and it began to look like the players were standing still and the stadium was moving.
The second half was much better for Harvard as the Crimson marched 73 yards on only seven plays to punch in a quick score and narrow the margin to 24-10. Perhaps there was a chance left, after all. Well, the next two times Harvard had the ball, they stormed downfield only to be stalled, first on the one yardline and next on the 13, with fourth-down situations. Both times Stoeckel tried to hit McInally in the endzone for a score and both times he failed.
The fourth quarter arrived, and with the score 24-18, Harvard gained possession of the ball and made its final effort to bring the ball to paydirt. The Crimson marauded through the Dartmouth defenders to find the ball resting third down on the one yardline. First Tsitsos and then Miller tried, and both of them failed to gain the final yard that would have won the game.
That was the breaking point for Greg as the expression "so close but so far" took on new meanings. Still rather inebriated, we left right after that. All the way home Greg cried. All the way home he stopped abruptly every few steps. "Fucking Stoeckel, fucking Jimmy Stoeckel." He must have seen four $100 bills sprout wings and fly down the Charles with the gulls.
It turns out that "all's well that ends well." Greg bet double-or-nothing on the Penn game and, after two heart attacks and three ulcers, won. He learned a lesson, though. This year I was thinking of entering a Quincy House football poll for a dollar a week, but Greg said, "Don't do it! I don't care. There is just no such thing as a sure bet."