School’s back in session, and so are a bunch of Ivy sports. Others–like football–will have to wait a little while before opening the book on the 2011 campaign. With no intra-league contests this week, some of the biggest Ivy news was made in a place where few Ancient Eight athletes venture: the sphere of professional sports. We’ll sort out what’s going on in another edition of Around the Water Cooler.
Ivy Leaguers have famously made a habit of dominating many fields. Sadly, professional sports just isn’t one of them.
The NFL is evidence of that: other than a few notable exceptions (See Matt Birk '98 and Ryan Fitzpatrick '05), the league has been harsh to Ancient Eight grads.
College is all about time management. With only 24 precious hours each day, we are constantly making choices about how to plan our schedules so that we can pass our classes and still make room for life’s important things: racking up kill streaks in Call of Duty, sinking jumpers at the MAC, and complaining about Ron and Sam’s dysfunctional relationship.
When all the day’s hours are finally divvied up, I’m going to take a wild guess and say that, for most students, not much time is left over for attending Harvard sporting events. (If this doesn’t apply to you then you should probably comp The Crimson’s sports board this semester).
For those of you who are only planning to make the trip across the river a few times this fall, we at The Back Page are here to help out. We’ve compiled a list of the top five Harvard sporting events to attend this fall so you can be a Crimson Crazy without spending too much time away from video games (or the library).
No. 5: Football vs. Penn. Nov. 12, 12 p.m.
“The Game” may get all the hype, but if the past two seasons are any indication, the Harvard-Penn matchup will be the one that decides who takes home the Ivy League title. This year appears to be no different, as the Quakers and Crimson enter the 2011 season predicted to finish first and second, respectively, in the Ancient Eight by the members of the media. This time around, Harvard will have home-field advantage, as the two-time defending champs will travel to Harvard Stadium in November.
No. 4: Men’s soccer vs. Northeastern. Sept. 4, 7 p.m.
Fans looking to get in a few games before classes start to heat up should take a trip to the Soldiers Field Soccer/Lacrosse Stadium this Sunday for the men’s soccer team’s season opener. The lights will be on as the Crimson take the pitch against cross-town rival Northeastern.
No. 3: Women’s soccer vs. Penn. Sept. 23, 6 p.m.
Talk about jumping right into the thick of things. The Harvard women’s soccer team kicks off its conference schedule against the reigning Ivy champions. And with only seven Ancient Eight matchups, an early loss would be disastrous for a Crimson squad seeking its third title in the last four years.
No. 2: Head of the Charles. Oct. 22-23.
While it’s not exactly clear how one should actually watch a crew race (are you supposed to run with the boats along the banks of the river or just sit there and watch for a few seconds as they pass by?), the Head of the Charles is not to be missed. The world’s largest two-day regatta will be back in Cambridge once again this October. If rowing doesn’t excite you, never fear. There should be enough free ice cream and popcorn in the tents set up along the river to keep you happy.
No. 1: Football at Yale. Nov. 19, 12:00 p.m.
I don’t think this one needs much explanation, but being in the stands (or parking lot) for “The Game” is well worth the trip to New Haven. The stakes could be even higher than usual when the two squads meet for the season finale this year, as both squads boast championship-caliber rosters.
For most students, the summer after graduation provides the chance to relax and reflect, possibly celebrating the fact that the days of papers and problem sets are over.
But for Harvard football’s Brent Osborne and Collin Zych, the real work is only just beginning.
After both players went undrafted in April, the duo waited 87 long days for the chance to begin pursuing their football dreams, and with the lifting of the NFL lockout on Tuesday, both acted quickly in taking a giant step towards the next level.
On the first day NFL teams were allowed to sign undrafted free agents, the former Crimson stand-outs were snatched up quickly, with Osborne, an offensive lineman, signing with the Seattle Seahawks and Zych, a safety, catching on with his hometown Dallas Cowboys.
Junior quarterback Collier Winters, shown above, fought through a season of adversity to reclaim his starting role under center during the 2010 season.
On most days, throwing objects at moving golf carts is frowned upon.
Yet, two weekends ago at the Manning Passing Academy, quarterback Collier Winters was celebrated for his ability to consistently hit three targets located on the motored machines.
Harvard football made a change earlier today to its schedule, changing the start time of the Oct. 29 Dartmouth game from noon to 6 p.m.
For the first time in program history, Harvard football will host two night games next season.
The Crimson will face off against Dartmouth at 6 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 29, moving the game from its originally-scheduled noon start. It will be just the sixth time that Harvard has played football under the lights at home, and it will mark the inaugural night game between schools that first played each other in 1882.
The Big Green’s visit will also be the first time that the Crimson has played a home night game other than the home opener, and the first such game not played in September.
Since lights were added to Harvard Stadium in early 2007, the Crimson has hosted one night game every season. Harvard has never lost at home at under the lights, sitting on a 4-0 record going into the 2011 season.
But in addition to the program’s success on the field, night games have also boosted attendance and student interest. Since 2007, the night game is generally the best- or second-best attended contest on the home schedule, depending on whether The Game is played in Allston or New Haven.
In 2010, the Crimson drew an average of 16,918 fans. Last year’s night game, the home opener against Holy Cross, drew 21,704. In 2009, when Harvard’s average attendance was 10,701, the night game against Brown brought 17,263 fans to the stadium.
Average annual attendances fluctuate wildly for both Harvard and Yale depending on the host of The Game, which draws tens of thousands more fans than other contests on the schedule.
This season’s Dartmouth game is also just the third Saturday night game at home in Crimson program history. On two other occasions, night games were moved from Friday to Saturday to avoid conflicting with Yom Kippur.
While the matchup is a historic one for Harvard, it carries even more significance for Dartmouth. The Oct. 29 Ivy League contest is Dartmouth’s first-ever night game.