Around the Ivies
When Harvard and Penn kickoff tomorrow’s Ivy League football championship game, all eyes will be on one side of the field.
Informed fans and bleary-eyed, “Holy crap...How the hell did I end up sleeping in the bleachers at Harvard Stadium last night?” observers alike will know that the matchup to watch is the Quakers’ run defense versus the two-headed Crimson tailback monster of junior Gino Gordon and Treavor Scales.
In Game 6 of the World Series on Tuesday night, the New York Yankees held a 7-3 lead over the Philadelphia Phillies in the top of the eighth inning with one out and no one on base. Lefty reliever Damaso Marte had been pitching masterfully, dealing consecutive strikeouts to the Phillies’ fearsome slugging duo of Chase Utley and Ryan Howard.
The game seemed well in hand, and even the most conservative of approaches would have likely led the Yankees to victory and their 27th World Championship. Instead, New York manager Joe Girardi signaled to the bullpen for Mariano Rivera.
In Tim Burton’s Halloween classic, “The Nightmare Before Christmas,” the protagonist Jack Skellington laments how, “I, Jack, the Pumpkin King, have grown so tired of the same old thing.”
Well, Jack, I can relate. After three-plus years of college, things start to get repetitive—especially around this time of year. I won’t have to leave my room this weekend (although I will) to know what’s going on out in the street.
Yesterday morning, as I furiously typed away at a Spanish 50 composition that blatantly ripped off the plot of “Election”—the great Tom Perrotta high school novel and Reese Witherspoon’s career-launching movie—I thought to myself, “Has the recent era of great Ivy League running backs come to an end?”
The era can be traced back to 2003. That season, three Ivy League rushers ran for more than 1,000 yards. They included Brown’s Nick Hartigan and Harvard’s Clifton Dawson ’07, a duo that must be mentioned in any discussion of the conference’s all-time great tailbacks.
Parity is the name of the game in Ivy League football these days.
Since this year’s seniors were freshmen back in the 2006 season, four different teams have won at least a share of the Ancient Eight title—Harvard, Yale, Brown, and Princeton—while Penn and Cornell have at least remained competitive throughout that time.