New Haven, Conn.--It was raining hard here all day yesterday, muddying the field on which The Game will be played this afternoon. For fans who remember the 35-0 thrashing at the hands of Yale two years ago under similarly slippery conditions, the wet field isn't the best of prospects.
Depite the weather, however, the atmosphere on the Yale campus--like almost everywhere before a game with Harvard--is carnival-like.
"It's as excited as I've seen it in four years here for anything," Tom Hasco, sports director for Yale's WYBC radio, said yesterday. "Even professors have said it's the most psyched-up football weekend ever."
Of course there was the infamous painting of the Widener columns by a Yale Thursday morning, which Harvard students already know about, but some of the other festivities, and the ferver with which the Yale students are approaching The Game would be incomprehensible to a Harvard student.
There are "Kill Harvard" and "Go Yale" banners everywhere one turns, popping out of every balcony and hanging on every big wall in every dorm.
Thursday night 1000 Yale students marched behind the Yale band through the old campus for a pep rally. Carmen Cozza, the Eli coach, delivered a crowd-pleasing victory speech. (Can you imagine Joe Restic in a situation like that?) Needless to say, the pep rally culminated with a burning of John Harvard in effigy.
The dining hall in which the Dunster House soccer team ate here Friday night had a big "Beat Harvard" cake in the center of the floor. (I must confess, however, it was far tastier than any cake I've eaten in a Harvard dining hall.)
Then, of course, there are the usual "Hahvahd jokes". For some peculiar reason, Yalies, as do other Ivy Leaguers outside of Cambridge, find it especially amusing to talk in "Hahvahd Yahd" lingo prior to a Harvard game.
The Yale Daily News earlier in the week held a competition for the best slogan for The Game. The winning slogan had something to do with, "Yale eating Shish-Kubacki and curried Curry."
To say that the "Hahvahd" weekend is the social event of the year here would be an understatement. A two-page spread in the Daily News entitled "The Harvard weekend--what to do" lists sundry parties and semi-formal dances for Eli socialites.