"Who do you want to win the Harvard/Yale Game?" is not a question most Harvard students have to agonize about. But today's crowd at Harvard Stadium will be sprinkled with fans whose allegiances won't be that simple. For them, cheering for their team will also mean rebelling against their parents, breaking with their siblings, and sometimes even rooting against their own alma maters.
"I called to make sure my dad is sitting on the Harvard side and he is," said one conflicted fan, Mary B. Greenhill '92, whose father went to Yale. But she added, "I'm sure he'd like Yale to win."
Her brother, Robert F. Greenhill Jr. '91, also voiced confidence that the Game won't turn nasty for the Greenhills. "Mainly I think he's coming to see a good game." he said.
Other families don't plan to waste a good opportunity to lock antlers. "We enjoy teasing each other," said Sarah E. Mitchell '91, whose father Douglass attended college in New Haven. Mr. Mitchell plans to watch the Game on TV at the Harvard/Yale Club in the Nashville, Tenn., the family's hometown. "It's a pretty friendly rivalry." Sarah Mitchell said.
"My father is wholeheartedly for Yale," said Sonia C. Lee '91, whose father, Hong Yung Lee, is an assistant professor at a major Connecticut Ivy League institution. Lee said she'll be rooting for her own team--"otherwise it's not a family feud"--in spite of the fact that a Yale paycheck is financing her tuition. "People are not going to be disowned because of this issue," she said hopefully.
"To my father, football doesn't matter," said Daniel C. Wilkinson '92. His father, John A. Wilkinson, not only graduated from a large college formerly run by the next commissioner of baseball in 1960, but also worked as an administrator there. "In all other ways he thinks that Yale is infinitely superior," the younger Wilkinson admitted.
The Game will pit brother against brother for James B. Reilly '92 and William E. Reilly. The Reillys will take seats at opposite sides of the stadium this afternoon and the winner will probably be rubbing salt in the loser's wounds afterwards. "We really give each other the business and needle each other about it," says the Harvard Reilly.
It will also pit sister against sister in the case of Susanne G. Watnick '90 and Gail R. Watnick, currently in her first year among the Bulldogs. But the Watnicks won't be the bloodthirstiest antagonists in the stadium today. "It's nice to have the spirit of Harvard against Yale," said Susanne Watnick. Added Gail Watnick: "Over the summer we fought over who would win the Harvard/Yale Game, but now we're so happy to see each other we don't talk about it."
Some people at Harvard will simply have schizo phrenic loyalties. "I was an undergraduate and did my Ph.D at Yale, but I've also been at Harvard for 34 years," said Stephen Williams, Peabody Professor of American Archeology. "I've been deeply involved in the undergraduate program, so I don't care desperately for one or the other," he confessed "I also understand the family rivalry because I had a twin brother at Princeton."
Greenough Hall Proctor Milan S. Moore, a student at Harvard School of Public Health who was an undergraduate in the Nutmeg State, does care desperately. "I think a lot of people maintain their allegiance to their undergraduate college. I think I would feel guilty if I rooted for Harvard." he said.
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