Though a swath of regulations threatened to tone down the tailgate at the 121st playing of the Game this year, Harvard and Yale undergraduates and alumni still managed to enjoy themselves Saturday. Upperclass houses, final clubs, student organizations, sports teams, and fraternities and sororities set up booths across Ohiri field.
Several restrictions irked students: no kegs; no U-Hauls; ID bracelets for Council-provided beer; and an obligatory $450 contribution from all House Committees (HoCos) for the communal supply.
“Kirkland suffered a lot from the ban of U-Hauls,” said Kirkland HoCo Chair Adam Kalamchi ’05. “We didn’t really define our space well so we got taken over by a lot of people. Tell the administration to suck it up and let U-Hauls back in.”
“I didn’t have a single beer from the beer truck,” he added.
“[The communal beer supply] was very underutilized,” said Mather HoCo Chair Darren S. Morris ’05. “I assumed that would be the case, that people would spend time at the House tailgates. Very few people got beer at the beer trucks.”
But the bracelets didn’t stop underage drinkers from obtaining alcohol at any of dozens of student group booths, and despite the Council taxation, HoCos still found ways to be creative: Lowell House poured sand and set up a beach, and Mather House built a wooden U-Haul.
The anti-keg rules didn’t seem to spoil the revelers’ fun either.
“It seems stupid that [the administration] would ban kegs—hard alcohol replaces it,” said Yale freshman Julia Huang.
By noon, students walking from one end of Ohiri field to the other were pulled in all directions. The Black Students Association had one of the most visible booths at the tailgate, blasting rap and hip-hop through huge amplifiers just past the food lines by the entrance.
“We build a notion of a black community that isn’t exclusive and provide an outlet for people to have a lot of fun,” said Ofole U. Mgbako ’08, a freshman representative of the club. Mgbako noticed that there were “a lot of HUPD officers” milling about but that they were only “making sure we don’t get in trouble.”
Officers and administrators in charge of keeping the event at a healthy degree of organized chaos seemed at ease early in the day.
“I’m here to be a moral presence,” said Nicholas P. Vines, a tutor from Leverett House. “But there’s not so much pressure on us because of the anti-keg rules.” He added that the rules might make the day “more boring” than usual, but that students were still having a good time. “They’re here for school spirit, but won’t pay much attention to the Game,” he said.
The deep-seated rivalry between the Crimson and the bulldogs seemed subtle if present at all to many tailgaters. “There’s not much rivalry—there are a lot of friendships between Harvard and Yale students, and football teams haven’t been mentioned,” Vines said.
“You guys may be a better school and have better sports, but we’re better at throwing parties,” said Steven B. Salger, a senior from Yale with a face painted blue and white.
Of the 150 spots on Ohiri field, 60 spaces—those furthest from the entrance—were set aside for Yale. “When you cram people in, that’s when you get hotness,” said Jose Garza, a sophomore from Yale.
“It’s a lot more fun over there [on the Yale side of the field]” said Erika I. Geihe ’08.
Even adults and alumni got into the spirit of the day.
“It’s a great day. I really enjoy it,” said Harvard University Dining Services employee Domna Antoniu, who was serving food at the tailgate. “I don’t get to go to the Game every year.”