Around the Ivies
Following Harvard football this season has been a little bit like watching my beloved Red Sox in 2010. Things started off well enough, although there were some early bumps in the road (the Crimson lost Collier Winters and was embarrassed at Brown, the Sox lost Jacoby Ellsbury and got swept by the Rays at home). And then the sporting gods decided that the team had experienced enough recent success and decided to dole out a plague of injuries.
Harvard has started its third-string quarterback in the last two games, is playing without two of its starting wideouts, and has seen its linebackers and secondary decimated by injury. Looking at the starting lineup from the Cornell game brought me back to the dark ages of July when a typical Sox lineup included Kevin Cash, Darnell McDonald, and Bill Hall.
Every week, our Around the Ivies team comes up with some witty way to present the state of Ancient Eight football. So as I sat in Logan Airport yesterday morning, I thought of all the comparisons I could make between my experience in the Southwest terminal and Ivy League sports.
Perhaps I could talk about the fact that, just like my sister and I were waiting for our delayed flight, pretty much every Ivy football team is biding its time this week. With the exception of the Dartmouth-Yale matchup, every game should either be a lopsided result, a meaningless non-conference tilt, or both. By this time next week, we’ll probably have no better idea of how the title race will play out.
Once, at a party a few years back, I polished off a drink and began searching for a beverage to replenish my Solo. I didn’t have to look very far as, across the room, I spotted a glowing bottle of vodka. It was radiating a Pikachu-yellow, and (like the Double Rainbow Guy) I wondered, “What does this mean?” Pulled into its vodka tractor beam, I walked over to the magical liquid and examined it more closely. It appeared to be a high-quality brand of alcohol which, when exposed to a black light, shone like a jar of fireflies.
“Must have some tasty vitamins,” I figured, pouring myself a splash. I went bottoms-up with my Solo.
The Ivy gauntlet is almost over. One more weekend (and a Tuesday game featuring Penn and Princeton) and the book on this historic season will be closed. After all the spilled ink on the Ancient Eight, the results have panned out predictably: Cornell will clinch the Ivy bid, Harvard and Princeton will battle for a post-season tournament, and the rest of the Ivies will fight for respectability.
As this edition of Around the Ivies is the year’s last, it is time to hand out the hardware. Without further delay, here are the definitive, unambiguous winners of the 2009-2010 season.
During lay-up lines last Friday night, as posters of Jeremy Lin made their way through the bleachers, Harvard players and coaches stopped for a moment and looked at the crowd—blacked-out and boisterous. They whispered to one another, pointed at people and posters (one impromptu sign read, “Hey Cornell, Andy Katz came to see us, not you!”). Smiles crept across their faces.
I felt chills.