The Promised Lande: Euphoria Shouldn’t Stop With Red Sox

In our country, it’s been written, it is sport that is the opiate of the masses.

And Wednesday night—whether crowded in front of the big screen of a house common room or scattered amongst the swarming sea of wicked drunk revelers rolling through Kenmore Square—Harvard students lost themselves in the high.

Red Sox euphoria was a drug that did not discriminate.

I admit I wasn’t in the middle of it two nights ago, instead stuck typing headlines onto a computer screen, but I know what it’s like.

I know what it’s like to hug someone you’ve never met because someone else you’ve never met hits a ball over a fence.

I know what it’s like to walk through a crowd and high-five a stranger simply because he’s wearing the same logo on his hat that you are.

I know what it’s like to sit in a crowd full of people that you only know one thing about—that they’re there watching the game, too—and that’s enough.

I know what it’s like to breath in the thick, sweet tension of a tie ball game—the opiate, if you will—of anticipation.

I know that sports, as insignificant and trivial as they sometimes seem, do have power.

I know that sports can bring people together, and yesterday it seemed that Harvard knew that, too. The intellectual elite had succumbed to the “opiate of the masses.”

The day after so many students had gushed forth into Harvard Yard in a somewhat contrived, but still impressive show of emotion, the buzz around campus was all about baseball. The hallowed lecture halls echoed the voices of the Porters and Sandels, but the names of Ortiz and Ramirez and Cabrera and Lowe. The brightest paid homage to the best.

It was a strange day for me, and more than once I marveled at the irony.

Harvard has never struck me as a place where people follow the crowd or embrace something simply because it is socially expected. If it doesn’t interest them, they don’t pretend it does. That’s how I always rationalized the apathetic attitude of Harvard students to their own athletics teams, especially the good ones, the ones that play enveloped in history, tradition and ivy-covered stadiums.

Many will say that this week was simply an aberration. History was made. Of course people will be excited.

Well, three years ago, history was made right here right across the river, a few Manny Ramirez homers from Fenway Park. In 2001, the Harvard football team posted its first perfect season since 1913. But when the Crimson clinched perfection with a romp of a win at Yale on Nov. 17, the students didn’t buzz like this.

Why did the campus go crazy for the Red Sox, but not its own team?