Chilled Rivalry

Cliche might have it that the fiercest the Harvard-Yale rivalry gets is a heated game of Trivial Pursuit, although in reality it’s probably closer to a Beirut ineptitude contest punctuated by occasional thumb wars. But there is a world of legitimate college football rivalries out there—theoretically, right across the Charles—and FM made the 45-minute schlep to Boston College to investigate this strange staple of campus life everywhere but here.

As the BC Eagles’ opponent last Saturday was Notre Dame, the scene could quite comfortably have been pulled from Rudy. Burberry? Check. Pashminas in school colors? Check. Lily-white Catholic kids listening to 50-cent? Check. The tailgate featured well-behaved if moderately inebriated students and their parents, eating junk food out of the backs of brand new SUV’s on a lawn outside the stadium. Though plenty of alcohol seemed to be consumed, the majority of empty beer bottles were neatly discarded in the available trash receptacles, and the grunting battle cries of frat boys were remarkably rare. One Notre Dame fan chalked it up to the “better class of people” that attended said game. “This is a top-notch college,” he commented, “it’s not really the blue-collar crowd that goes to an NFL game or something.”

FM took one last glance at the Irish and American flags waving over the parking lot, and returned to campus with a severe case of deja vu. At least the Harvard football scene doesn’t have to suffer under the weight of high expectations.