Letter to the Editor: Ten Thousand Men of Harvard Scream Blasphemy Today

To the Editor:

Now that the 2017 Harvard football campaign has thankfully come to a conclusion, my initial letter was to have been one of strong condemnation towards Harvard’s experimentation with the player’s uniforms this year. Hideous color combinations of black shirts, red pants, and helmets the color of faded cranberry were to have been my targets, but my disgust at this season’s on-the-field haberdasher eyesore has been reduced to a mere grievance when learning that the 135th playing of The Game had been re-located to Fenway Park.

Whether actual renovation or just architectural studies will take place at the Stadium in 2017 and 2018 is immaterial. The storied Yale Bowl is always under construction, yet it somehow never misses a beat to host when it’s Yale’s year to do so. Perhaps this travesty was cooked up by the marketing teams of both the Red Sox and Harvard well in advance, with the result of an anticipated sold-out crowd at Fenway not the only sell-out that will occur. Brushed aside will be history and tradition—but more to the point, that which the playing of this game means to so many.

The 2018 Harvard-Yale game was to have been accompanied by a monumental celebration of the 50th anniversary of what might be the greatest gridiron comeback in collegiate athletics: Those 42 magical seconds at the Stadium when Harvard rebounded from a 16-point deficit to beat Yale, 29-29. Alumni, family, and friends on both sides have been planning for several years to reconvene to relive that incredible turn of events.

Let’s hope that the planning of The Game in 2019 will find Yale resisting any need to counter Harvard’s misstep. Can you imagine playing at Yankee Stadium? Personally, I’m busy re-writing some of the lyrics to our famous football fight songs to coincide with next year’s visit to Kenmore Square. So far I’ve got “Fight Fiercely Fenway,” “Fenwaydiana,” and “Fair Fenway.” But for today, I can’t help singing, “Ten Thousand Men of Harvard Scream Blasphemy Today.”

Marc G. McHugh is a graduate of Harvard Divinity School.

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