I’d like to present you with a challenge.
It’s something many members of the sports board have been suggesting for weeks, and now, I’m finally taking the time to put it into writing.
We’re not just handing you to any challenge: not a challenge to some stupid drinking games The Crimson has already showed its superiority in (the YDN was clearly overmatched in last year’s pre-Game festivities); not a write-off or a readership challenge or some other journalism-related activity.
No, this is a challenge that takes us back almost 40 years.
Back to when guys from Harvard and Yale made it to the pros with regularity; when players like Calvin Hill saw their collegiate careers end with The Game and then moved on to win NFL Rookie of the Year honors.
Back to when the two school newspapers settled arguments as they should be settled—through a mid-morning football game.
And so here I am presenting you with what has been in the back of my mind since reading about it last fall: we challenge you to a pre-Game football matchup.
Now this may seem like it’s coming out of nowhere. Editors are often not the most athletic people, especially given sports board members frequently choose to write sports because they can’t play them.
I promise, the idea is not so far-fetched.
Last year, as another writer and I sat sifting through The Crimson archives in preparation for our Game coverage, we came across some pretty interesting stuff.
From ads for events one could only associate with the 60s to stories about the Cliffies, the archives provided some laughs—but also some inspiration.
In just a preliminary search of the archives, I can find Crimson-YDN games on Harvard-Yale mornings dating back as far as 1961, games that played a large role in a rivalry that seems at this point to have come down to a simple three hours in either Harvard Stadium or the Yale Bowl.
Every year we all pile into buses or trudge across the river to go to the tailgate for a while and then go see The Game.
The one day when two Ivy League schools become almost real football schools is highlighted by a game that is always up for grabs, no matter the records, no matter what’s on the line.
I get it, believe me, I get it. I wait all year for that third weekend in November to come along.
But why don’t we make that day we pretend to be real football schools a day on which we take part in the activities that a real football school would take part in?
Big time football schools like Michigan and Michigan State’s newspapers do it, so why not Harvard and Yale?
Let’s bring back the tradition that stood for so many years. The archives suggest that the Crimson-Daily News game was even televised for a number of years.
I’m not talking about recreating some friendly game where the loser says “Oh well, at least we don’t live in Cambridge.” I’m talking about bragging rights for a full year.
At this point we’re just over two weeks and counting from what is the pinnacle of the Ancient Eight football season (at least for all of us sports writers that spend all year hoping that we can get our blockmates and friends to attend games against teams like Lehigh and Dartmouth only to be rebuffed). This year, let’s extend the rivalry beyond the hours of 12-3.
Whether it’s just the sports boards or the whole papers decide to participate, let’s duke it out to see who really is the better college newspaper.
We anxiously await your reply.
—Staff writer Madeleine I. Shapiro can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.