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I have to admit that I am not looking forward to The Game this year that much.
It's not because I don't think Harvard has a very good chance of winning (although I don't think it does).
I just keep thinking about the last time The Game was played up here, two years ago.
I was a freshman and just as excited as anyone about "The Best Weekend of the Year at Harvard." I was even more excited because I had some good high school friends, Yalies, staying with me for the festivities.
And in fact, I did have the best time of my Harvard life on the Friday night before The Game. Accompanied by one of my high school friends, I joined up with 20 Yalies and got drunk in the tunnels of Quincy House. (We were all 21, trust me.) After that, we wandered around campus, occasionally stopping in at those beer saunas in people's common rooms which we call Harvard parties.
The next day, I figured I would just stay with my Yale friends since we had so much fun the night before.
I went to a Yale tailgate in the parking lot, I sat in the Yale section--or stood since all the Yalies were standing during The Game and I celebrated their win after the contest.
To show my friends how good I time I was having, I even let one of them write the letters B-U-L-L-D-O-G-S on my knuckles.
I was having a lot of fun for the first time at Harvard. I thought that was what college was all about.
But, according to some Harvard students, I was wrong.
Some Harvard friends saw me at The Game with the Yalies and called out "Traitor!" I laughed at the jibe until I realized they weren't laughing with me. They were serious.
The week after The Game I told many people about the terrific weekend I had hanging out with the Yale students and almost everyone was mortified.
"You sat on the Yale side?"
"You painted B-U-L-L-D-O-G-S on your hands?"
"You cheered when Yale won?"
All of the sudden, I felt like I criminal. I was guilty of aiding and abetting The Enemy. I had been unfaithful to my almamater. I deserved to sent immediately to jail (or, even worse, to Princeton).
Slowly, however, sanity returned to me and I realized that I wasn't guilty of an Ivy League felony, only of having fun.
When two student bodies get caught up in a traditional rivalry, many hyper-competitive individuals seem to forget the purpose of the whole affair: fun.
If there is really any Harvard student who believes that "Yale sucks" or any Yale student who honestly feels that "Yale may suck, but Harvard blows" should report immediately to the medical tent for treatment.
And, folks, no matter what you say, neither place is a safety school for anyone unless you happen to have your last name on a building.
Now I know that most people at least think they treat the Harvard-Yale rivalry as the fun sophomoric exercise that it ought to be, but not everyone really does. I learned that two years ago.
Everyone should just relax a little and remember the obvious: we are all fortunate people avoiding the Real World by attending one of the best colleges on the face of the earth. In addition, we are all participating in a tradition created to give us wonderful college memories that will loosen our purse strings during Novembers to come during alumni fundraising campaigns.
This column shouldn't be misinterpreted as a crunchy plea for everyone just to hold hands. Go ahead, Harvard and Yale students, roast each other until your heart is content.
Just don't crucify me for sitting on the other side.
Ted G. Rose is a Crimson Staff Writer
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