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Powers of the Press

By John L. Powers

A few of the boys got together several weeks ago, and decided that in case of a Harvard loss at New Haven last weekend, we should insure that the Yalies would not escape totally unscathed from their encounters with the gentlemen from Cambridge.

"We'll put out a fake Yale Daily News." Tom Southwick was saying. "revealing that the Yale football team came down with hepatitis and has to forfeit the Harvard game. It might be amusing." I had to admit that it would be, with one modification. "Make it syphilis." I said, remembering that the New Haven boys were still in the first heartbreaking throes of coeducation. It was a natural.

We let it go for a while, and then, on Monday before The Game, we decided to get down to serious work. The masthead had to be copied, and we used a process by which we could transfer it exactly from a copy of the Yalie Daily onto an engraved wooden block. It was fairly easy. Then Barry Simon, one of the demonic minds on the business board, sold a full page ad on the back of the one-page extra to Gnomon Copy, a xerox establishment on York Street in New Haven. That took care of the major part of the cost, and gave us a little more verisimilitude to work with Now for the writing.

Your Basic Facts

Ben Beach, our child prodigy sports-editor and I collaborated on the headline story, that gave some of the basic facts. Sixteen players, including the entire defensive backfield, two prominent running backs, and most of the defensive line had contracted the disease from three somewhat loose coed cheerleaders at a party in Providence, which is in Rhode Island, five weeks before.

Of course, we needed a piece on the Harvard reaction, which was pretty easy to do, Yovicsin would be somewhat skeptical, and would oppose the move because the game was such a massive social event. The players wouldn't like it a hell of a lot either Scott Jacobs wrote a piece on the indignant reaction of the cheerleaders, and Southwick speculated on the chances of the NCAA rules committee allowing Yale to play alumni, including Braian Dowling, in place of its syphilitic varsity. Somehow, the disease changed to gonorrhea, which is after all, a little messier and a lot more disgusting.

The pressmen ran off about 5000 copies, and a determined team of CRIMSON editors distributed them at all the Yale dorms early Saturday morning. But the big move was yet to come.

Through A Window

Beach and I climbed into the Yale Daily News office through an open window, found a telephone, and called anyone who might be interested in diseased Yalics. The AP. the UPI. the New Haven Register, WRKO. All the heavy weights. We were putting the massive hurt to New Haven. Both the AP and UPI were skeptical, and called back. We both posed as Yale staffers, confirmed the sad report, and told them that Brewster, the Yale president, had told us to have anyone call him at anytime to confirm the forfeit. This was our finest moment. AP fell for it, and called everyone they could think of at Yale. It was 6:10 a.m.

By now, Beach was bouncing off the walls, choking with laughter, swearing that this was the highlight of his Harvard career. I was a bit less enthusiastic, since I've been around a bit longer than he has, but I admitted that it was probably the best thing I'd done all week.

And ever since that morning, when I imagine Brewster staggering out of bed, wild-haired, at 6 a.m. to talk to some dude from the AP. I feel incredibly fulfilled. That, after all, is what Harvard-Yale is all about.

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