What do primer cord, weather balloons, and model rockets have to do with the Harvard-Yale game? All have been utilized in MIT pranks on the day of The Game.
The Crimson’s crafty neighbors have used the annual Ivy matchup as a chance to display their notorious tomfoolery over the years.
The first noted Harvard-Yale prank instigated by students at the technical institute took place at Harvard Stadium during the 65th Game in 1948. Though the prank was never carried to fruition, it still lives on in Beaver folklore.
A few MIT students crept into the stadium the night before The Game and buried primer cord below the field to spell “MIT.” The miscreants planned to ignite the name of the university in the middle of the game, but Harvard groundskeepers discovered the cord and disabled the system.
On game day, the Engineers behind the prank were easily spotted and seized by officials. their heavy coats gave them away on the mild day.
The delinquents seemed to be in a tough spot when authorities found their coats lined in batteries clearly for the purpose of igniting the primer cord. But an MIT dean came to the pranksters’ rescue, retorting in their defense that “all tech men carry batteries.” The dean’s words have since grown into a popular phrase among Beaver students.
MIT struck again in 1982, in perhaps the university’s most popular prank against the Crimson. In the middle of The Game, a weather balloon inscribed with “MIT” popped out of the 50-yard line. The balloon then proceeded to inflate until it burst, leaving behind a talcum powder haze and the bitter taste of a successful Beaver prank. The Boston Herald headline read “MIT 1—Harvard-Yale 0: Tech Pranksters Steal the Show” the following morning to add further insult to injury.
In 1990, the Engineers stole the spotlight once again.
Just before Yale made a field goal attempt, MIT pranksters utilized a model rocket engine to send a banner with their university’s name across the field.
Then, in 1996, Beaver students infiltrated the scoreboard to take another jab at Harvard. MIT cunningly swapped the ‘VE-RI-TAS’ on the Crimson seal for ‘HU-GE-EGO’.
Tomorrow, Harvard will walk away Ivy League champions regardless of the result on the field, but a successful Beaver prank could put the Crimson further behind in the unofficial shenanigans standings with its long-time rival in jest, MIT.
Even though the Beavers haven’t hacked Harvard–Yale in recent years, Harvard and Bulldog fans alike should be on the lookout for any heavy coats, batteries, or balloons tomorrow.
Like the potent Crimson offense, the pranksters might strike at any time.