Around the Ivies
Last week was “shopping week” for Harvard undergrads, who got to try out their classes and see what they thought before committing to taking them. In a way, last weekend was likewise a shopping week for Ivy basketball fans, who got a little taste of each of the teams in a head-to-head format and were able to make some early judgments.
But unlike work in classes you don’t end up taking, these games actually mattered. And though we didn’t learn anything we didn’t really already know—Harvard is really good, Dartmouth is really bad, and everyone else falls somewhere in between—we did discover some worthwhile information about the Ivy hoops scene.
The last two times the No. 23 Harvard men’s basketball team has stepped foot in Payne Whitney Gymnasium in New Haven, the result has been, well, pain. A lot of it.
First, there was the heartbreaking 70-69 loss to Yale last Feb. 26, when junior guard Brandyn Curry’s last-second layup attempt rattled around the rim and out.
I’ve wasted away countless days of my life watching sports movies. What can I say? There are a lot of good ones out there.
The worse expenditure of time is not just watching these films, but the inevitable debates that follow arguing which is best. Rudy vs. Remember the Titans. Rocky vs. Raging Bull. Caddyshack vs. … well, nothing, Caddyshack stands alone. And take your pick of any one of Kevin Costner’s films.
The year is 1812. The French Empire is at the peak of its power, and the nation of crepes and croissants controlled much of the European continent. Napoleon, all five-foot-nothing of him, was scoring all of the beautiful women and getting picked first in every game of pick-up basketball. Or something like that.
But the French emperor was not satisfied with what he had. Most of Europe wasn’t enough—he needed Russia, the barren wasteland of vodka and chess. Without expecting too much of a fight, Napoleon and his troops moved into Russia in June of 1812. But he forgot to take into consideration one critical factor: the weather.
We all have to make tough choices sometimes. This college or that one. Finance or consulting. Homework or television. Soup or salad.
But at the end of the day, we have to make a decision. What’s it going to be once and for all—chicken Caesar or tomato bisque?