Old Soldiers' Field Never Dies
When I was a kid my family would drive along Route 3 past Harvard Stadium two or three times a year en route to my uncle's house. My favorite times were Saturday afternoons in the fall when the Crimson was playing a home game. I remember looking out across the soccor and softball fields, past hundreds of red-nosed tailgaters, at the throngs of people flocking into the Stadium--it must have been the Yale game.
It was a fleeting glimpse, but one that was an important part of my overall vision of Harvard for many years. The stadium always made my mouth hang open a little. It seemed so invincible, like no structure I'd ever seen before. Sure D.C. Stadium in Washington was bigger and grander, but it did not have the same look of eternity and defiance of the ages that Harvard's ivy-covered coliseum always had.
But times have changed. I don't view the Saturday afternoon crowd from the Route 3 side anymore. Sometimes I'm even among those masses pushing into the old horseshoe. It doesn't seem to be nearly as electrifying an atmosphere as it used to be, but I can't decide if that is a product of the times or a function of my own age. Or both. Anyway, one always expects things like that to change over time: we look at things differently and, of course, they are different. We only become alarmed if things involving human behavior and viewpoint do not modify with time.
But now the shocker. Something else has changed. Something that just never seemed possible to an eight-year-old starry-eyed kid or, for that matter, a Harvard graduate of 1923. Harvard Stadium is changing, too. Grantedit's not that noticeable yet, but the country's oldest college stadium is beginning to show the wear and tear of its long life and many years without renovation. There are even those who say that the old structure may have to be condemned in the near future if something is not done ot keep its iron beams from sagging and rotting and if its toilet facilities are not drastically upgraded in the near future.
The prospects of a condemned football stadium, although perhaps exaggerated, are probably very distressing to at least some undergraduates and a large, vocal section of alums who love nothing better than to tip the old bottle while sitting above the 50-yard line. Harvard has not exactly established itself as a national or even perennial Ivy power, but the Crimson hardly deserves the humility of playing all its games on the road or of "borrowing" B.U. or some other local school's field.
Albert H. Gordon '23, one of Harvard's more faithful athletic "friends," has also expressed his concern at the condition of the stadium and other athletic facilities around Harvard. Gordon, who donated money for the recently collapsed track bubble, says the University should start to put more money into upgrading its athletic plants.
The University, too, has decided that it's about time and recently announced a plan for athletic renovation and construction which could run as high as $37 million if the money is available.
I'm not what one might call a hard-core jock, nor am I quite wealthy enough to be able to afford much over several thou for this project. But I'd sure hate to see the old stadium crumble.