Revisiting the Name of The Game

“The Game.” Two exceptionally common words which take on an exceptionally distinctive meaning when paired together. Their mere utterance unearths treasured images from the memory of any real Harvard student—like that time you blacked out at 1:30 p.m. on top of a couch that was on top of a U-Haul, for example. Or, that time you rushed the field after the Crimson won and pretended to urinate on the Yale insignia. Or that time you rushed the field after the Crimson won and actually did urinate on the Yale insignia. And, of course, let’s not forget that time you were detained in a New Haven jail for public urination.

Yes, something about The Game is clearly special, whether it be the hundreds of years of rivalry, the recent domination of Harvard football, the drinking, or the simple fact that Tommy Lee Jones ’69 seemed marginally responsive to my shouts of “Noisy cricket!” this past November.

Harvard-Yale is—for lack of a better description—a show.

The problem, unfortunately, is this: the show is being broadcast as much as reruns of “My Cousin Skeeter.”

With The Game, you see, there’s no flashiness. There’s none of that hip, all-important street credibility which inspires people to wear visors backwards and suddenly makes Pittsburgh Pirates uniforms from the 1970’s sell like hotcakes.

Harvard-Yale is widely perceived to be old school football…in the sense that the schools are really old.

“I care about [Harvard-Yale] as much as I do about the Padres-Seahawks rivalry, which doesn’t exist because they don’t play the same sport, which is to say that I do not care very much,” Loyola Maryland sophomore Robert Basile said.

In truth, not many others outside the Ivy bubble treat The Game in the same way they do other rivalries. Ohio St.-Michigan, Alabama-Auburn, and Texas-Texas A&M all have the history, the athletes, and the media. Army-Navy has the patriotic thing going for it. And while we clearly have tradition on our side, we’ve regrettably lacked that something extra for quite awhile.

Until now, that is.

Rapper Jayceon Taylor has chosen his nomenclatural muse, you see.

And it is Harvard-Yale.

In a bizarre, arguably socioeconomically ironic twist, Taylor decided to represent the entire Ivy League brand name by dubbing himself “The Game” after—yes, you guessed it—our The Game.

While representatives from Interscope Records and Aftermath Music could not be reached for comment earlier this week, I’m fairly confident that this is the first time anyone who openly lists N.W.A. as one of his inspirations has actively supported The Man.

Now, if you don’t believe the link between Cambridge and Compton, that’s fine. Decry my “shoddy journalism.” Tell me I’m “lying.” That “G-Unit would never do that to you.”

But I’ve done the investigation. The clues are all there. What you should be doing is thanking the folks at G-headquarters for radically improving the public perception of the event we all know and love.

Let’s just examine the much-discussed, much-maligned, and much-awesome rivalry between The Game and his so-called friend, 50 Cent.

Just another rap squabble, you say?

That’s too easy. Too simple. This is the Ivy League. Put those Expository Writing 20 and English Language and American Literature skills to good use. Look deeper, past the façade.

Couldn’t it be that this media-hyped conflict is all just metaphorical theatre? That Game and his former mentor are merely stand-ins for the prominent characters in the larger historical genesis of the struggle of Harvard and Yale—a metanarrative setting the stage for the actual The Game?

Clever, Jayceon. Clever.

Just think: The Game, playing the role of ministers James Pierpont, Thomas Buckingham, and Gurdon Saltonstall: three of the five Connecticut ministers credited with the founding of Yale University. And 50 Cent, playing the role of John Harvard, the spiritual leader responsible for us, that “unsatisfactory” educational monopoly in the Northeastern American colonies.

After all, you did know that Pierpont, Buckingham, and Saltonstall—all legendary founders of Yale—were actually Harvard graduates before they went to New Haven, right?

Wait, you didn’t?

And what? Who was once coincidentally under the tutelage of 50 Cent before they fought? Before a “rivalry,” emerged, perhaps? A certain alcohol-laced rivalry celebrated by many?

Oh, that’s right. The Game.

Eerie, I know.

I ultimately envision this as a senior thesis project wherein the later figure of Elihu Yale is played by Lloyd Banks and the guy who founded Princeton is Tony Yayo.

--Staff writer Pablo S. Torre can be reached at torre@fas.harvard.edu.

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