Don’t count me in with the Louisa May Alcott fans. I’ve never read or sat through the entire movie version of Little Women, thank God.
But Alcott’s thoughts on one subject ring particularly true this time of year.
“Rivalry,” Alcott once wrote, “adds so much to the charms of one’s conquests.”
For three years running, the Harvard football team has turned on the charm by waxing Yale.
A fourth straight victory would, in the same sense, make the Class of ’04 the most charming since ’22.
Unfortunately, Alcott also forgot an addendum to her quotation—“it also sucks more when you lose.”
It hurt enough when the Alabama Crimson Tide dropped two straight Iron Bowls to Auburn University.
Now, Auburn is 10-0 and powered by its best team in 100 years. We’ll see if the Tide can pull off the upset in Saturday’s nightcap.
Of course, not everyone is so lucky to be raised in an environment of win-or-die school rivalry.
In honor of the freshman Class of ’08, which has yet to experience its first Game, here are a few rivalries that might put this dynamic forthcoming weekend into perspective.
Justice vs. Ec-10: Michael Sandel and Marty Feldstein. Harvard’s heavyweights. For freshmen, these two classes make or break a semester.
They’re difficult, loaded with work, hard to understand and everyone takes them. Consider the melee that occurs after Justice ends and before Ec-10 commences to be a Harvard-Yale-esque gridiron struggle. Don’t give up ground or you lose your dignity.
Your IM basketball team vs. That slightly better IM basketball team: Last year’s brutal and sometimes gory matchups between Matthews and Holworthy had fans constantly screaming for more.
From the ball-hogging antics of former marine and Holworthy proctor Greg Peeples to the ’bow throwing tricks of Matthews forward Mark Higgins, colorful personalities abounded.
Freshmen may replace the aforementioned names with applicable parties.
Thefacebook.com vs. The Harvard College facebook: Nobody uses the latter, but hey, both have their advantages.
In thefacebook.com, one gets a comprehensive database of colorful student profiles and zany pictures. In the Harvard online facebook, one gets lots of lasting freshman year photos and doesn’t have to deal with characters like “God Almighty,” “Keggy the Keg” and “Your Mother.”
Chicken parmesan vs. Veggie lasagna: What two Annenburg delicacies represent the true potential of the human palate?
Chicken Parm and Veggie Lasagna, the entrees that could kill a small elephant with delight.
Everyone knows that Chicken Parm is the best meal on campus—nay, in the universe—but Veggie Lasagna remains an under-appreciated gem. Tough choices all around.
Beer vs. Liquor: For more on this, review the University’s 2004 tailgate policy for The Game. Apparently, we favor liquor.
King James Bible vs. Ivy Presidents: For more on this, review Michael R. James’ columns on thecrimson.com. If you have a heartbeat, you favor Mr. James.
That freshman from Minnesota who protested dorm central heating vs. Normal people: No, seriously, this really happened. The Crimson reported on it a few weeks ago. That kid needs to get a grip.
Laundry vs. No laundry: Do you do laundry today? Or don’t you do laundry today?: Whether the walk is from Wig A to Wig X, Matthews to Weld, doing laundry sure is an annoying hassle.
Versus, your clothes start to smell funny.
Okay, this column is really scratching at the bottom of the idea barrel. We’ll save further debate for later.
Just remember, freshmen: Harvard-Yale, just like Harvard-Penn last week—as well as anything else you care about strongly in life—operates on a higher level than the average.
When you win, it lasts. When you lose, it really lasts.
Or as that great philosopher Louisa May Alcott once said, “Life is my college. May I graduate well, and earn some honors!”
—Staff writer Alex McPhillips can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. His column appears on alternate Wednesdays.