Around the Ivies
“It is a mistake to try to look too far ahead. The chain of destiny can only be grasped one link at a time.” — Winston Churchill.
I write today as a humbled man. While last week’s Around the Ivies involved no real football analysis whatsoever, I called my picks simple, as the Ivy League matchups last weekend each had obvious choices in favor of the home teams. I was proved horribly, horribly, wrong, as the visiting squads each returned home victorious. Penn held off Harvard, Yale upset Princeton, and Cornell shocked Dartmouth in what would have been the largest surprise of the year had Brown not actually won a game last weekend. I return to you sporting an 0-4 record from the weekend prior, licking my wounds and my tail between my legs. Clearly, I did not follow Churchill’s advice, and I toyed with forces I did not understand. The football gods may not be kind, but they are just and fair. I, a mere mortal, have been punished for my hubris.
As a native of Louisville, Kentucky, there are a few things in life that can be replaced by no other. The sweet, sweet smell of lost bets at Churchill Downs on Derby day. The deafening sound of fireworks at Thunder Over Louisville until you care less after the age of 15. The recognizable rushing of brown water as guck runs down the Ohio River. The bright, gleaning orange barrels dotting the shoulder of Spaghetti Junction. The warm summer day that Dairy Kastle finally opens. Above all of these, however? Hearing that the University of Kentucky Wildcats men’s basketball team has been upset in Rupp Arena by the mighty Evansville Purple Aces. Music to the ears of every Louisvillian.
I will admit, I just wanted to mention this loss so that it is forever on the internet in yet another spot. However, I feel that my incoherent ramblings to start these columns are becoming more and more of a stretch, and they may take away my pen soon if I don’t relate it to Ivy League football in some fashion. While Evansville did pull off what Cornell will be trying this week in the form of an impossible upset, my musings of the Derby City came to mind in the week of Harvard’s final home game. For the last time, seniors will suit up and take the field at Harvard Stadium, the place they have called home for years. Before making the trek to that godforsaken, rundown city in Connecticut that does not deserve the admittedly great pizza it calls home in the season’s final week, Crimson seniors have one last go in Cambridge. At home. So as I sing one song for my Old Kentucky Home far away, half of the Ancient Eight’s seniors will sing one final song at their football homes. For this reason, and possibly having to do with the multiple lopsided matchups, I will be picking every single home team this week.
At its best, Ivy League football is Harvard and Yale duking it out for an Ancient Eight title at The Game in November. At its worst, Ivy League football is anything else. Welcome to literally the worst case scenario: Princeton and Dartmouth battling for a crown in the Bronx’s abomination also known as Yankee Stadium.
What’s next? Brown winning a conference game?
Yesterday, the NCAA delivered bombshell news that it would begin to allow players to profit off of their likenesses. Sports journalists across the country have tried to synthesize what this actually means. We even sent out our own column in order to ride the wave, written by with my fellow sports chair, Henry Zhu ‘20, and myself. We definitely did not want to miss out on this news, had to make sure we could grab a piece of the pie. We tried to answer a simple yet complex question: what does this mean for Harvard athletes? I, however, have an even better question: what does this mean for the college journalists that cover these athletes?
If these student-athletes can make some money off of their likenesses, why can’t I? Student journalists all put in time, and we work hard here at 14 Plympton Street. The building is bustling at all hours, and it is hard to see all of the intense manpower that goes unnoticed. And what do we get for all this work? Student experiences? Resume additions? Lifelong community? Yeah, sure, but I sure noticed that cash money wasn’t on that list whatsoever. Therefore, I announce that my Crimson email and my Twitter DMs listed at the bottom of this page are officially open to advertisers. Come one, come all. I’ll be able to market any product in these articles; it’s amazing that half of this stuff makes it in here anyways. I’ll slip it in just like you can easily slip into Levi’s new flex-fitting jeans! (See?) Sure, you can go after Justin Herbert to market Nike. But you also have me. My reader base includes my parents, my brothers if they have nothing to do in study hall, and maybe even more in the future. Keep an open mind.
We are finally there. That familiar feeling has finally emerged from its slumber, exciting fans once again. This week marks the return of two separate yet important things that have recently been missing from my life: Emperor Palpatine to the Star Wars universe, and exclusive Ivy League conference games to college football.
I know what you’re all thinking: which one is more important? It’s tough to say. On one hand, both have already been back in theory. The Emperor made an audio appearance in previous trailers for the new Star Wars film, and Ivy League conference play has been going on for weeks. This week, however, offers two important caveats. In the cinematic world, Palpatine finally played a central role in the trailer, with the signature voice of Ian McDiarmid finally accompanied by what seemed to be the outline of his classic hooded figure. For many football fans, this commercial offered the most exciting event from this week’s abysmal Monday Night Football game. In the same vein (kind of), Ancient Eight football is finally completely central as well; no Ivy League team will play anymore non-conference games for the rest of the season. From this point forward, all of the games count for the conference standings and the race for the title.