It was all over. An afternoon of wall-to-wall squash at Hemenway Gym had wound down into isolated laughs of tired players waiting for the ride home.
The MIT men's squash head coach, Jeff Hamilton, rallied his troops by the door, ready to head back down the Red Line to their Kendall Square abodes.
"Moody resignation" was the only real way to describe the feeling following the group like a cartoon storm cloud.
Sure, the Engineers had just lost to the defending national champion Harvard men's squash team, 9-0. And sure, it was $.85 a pop to get home--an awful lot of quarters, nickels and dimes.
But when you've lost to an opponent for the 50th time in 50 years and there's no end to the streak in sight, well, it can be tad depressing.
Especially for Hamilton, a genuinely pleasant guy who was genuinely pleased to see his team win a grand total of three games--two in one match, even.
"We had a couple of competitive matches," Hamilton said. "We had a close match at the four position and we won a game at the two spot."
Grasping at straws? No. Genuine pleasure. David and Goliath is not a relevant metaphor here. Harvard-MIT men's squash is like Godzilla taking on the family poodle.
Williams also showed up and met with the same fate as the Engineers. The Ephmen (what the hell is an Ephman?) won only two games in a 9-0 Crimson rout.
Williams defeated MIT, 7-2, in head-to-head competition.
Still the Heir Apparent
With the two wins, the defending national champions raised their record to 6-0, 2-0 in the Ivy League, and garnered heavy praise from Hamilton:
"Harvard is still the heir apparent for the national championship," Hamilton said. "You know, they lose five All-Americans but they add five or six quality freshmen...they're as deep a team as they've had."
Hamilton should know, of course. It's the kind of memory on 0-50 record will give you. Despite the double 9-0 walkovers, Harvard Head Coach Bill Doyle was less than enthused over his team's performance.
"We played well," Doyle said. "We played as well as we had to."