My First Harvard-Yale: Expectations vs. Reality

By Courtesy of Harvard University


Harvard-Yale. The game of the year. A must-attend event. The ultimate showdown between age-old rivals. Or, at least that’s what I’ve heard the Office of Student Engagement continually sends me emails about. As a freshman, the pro-Harvard, #yuckfale mentality runs deep, and I simply can’t wait to experience my first heavily attended college football game.

First and foremost, I expect Harvard to win. That’s a given. I’ve already come up with five jokes shitting on Yale to tell to my Yalie friends, so it would be pretty embarrassing for me if we lost. I also hope that I see a heated argument between a Harvard and Yale student (bonus points if they are two guys with J names). I’m not sure how deep the Harvard/Yale rivalry actually is, but I personally wouldn’t trust any Yalie after the 2004 Harvard-Yale prank.

On the other hand, I’ve heard that Yale students are pretty attractive and have great style. Only since you definitely asked, I wouldn’t mind finding myself a Yale guy. We would have the best meet-cute and could live out an eternal Harvard-Yale rivalry that’s simultaneously very serious and very charming.

Unfortunately, the weather reports indicate we will be in jacket territory, but I’m excited to wear my Harvard merch on the one day when it’s socially acceptable to have school pride.

I’ve already started preparing myself for the ultimate rally from the party at Toads up until the 9 a.m. pregame. And while I have a couple lodging options, I think it could be fun to spice it up a bit and sleep in an unplanned location for a night. Why not?

While I’m confident there will be a substantial amount of chaos and disorganization, Harvard-Yale will be a great opportunity to bond with my Harvard friends <3 and kick some Bulldog butt.


The Yale Bowl has absolutely no service. Someone did warn me about this, but I didn’t fully believe them. While this did contribute to a 50 minute Uber wait, it also forced me to be very present during the nail-biting game. By the top of the fourth (is that baseball? That’s definitely baseball), my friends thought we had no chance. I told them not to lose hope because Tom Brady wins most of his games in the last quarter, and I think that obscure sports reference (that may or may not be actually correct) definitely garnered me some respect.

Winning was a great feeling. Although, I will admit the Yalies had better roasts (“Harvard is just one big red flag!” “They’re called majors, bro” “Harvard not good school”). Someone even yelled “You guys smelled bad.” And yes, that is what happens when a school forces its students to pay for laundry. However, I was pleasantly surprised by the energy of our student section; it was definitely all those “safety school” chants that brought us to victory.

There’s a lot to unpack regarding the Yale party scene. From athletic houses and frats to Toads and live music in random basements (don’t ask), Yale does hypothetically have more options for a fun night out. Compared to Harvard, though, the quality of these functions was lacking (in this writer’s humble opinion).

Picture the lax house, for instance: A thin layer of a mud-like substance covers the floor. You look around only to see everyone dancing the “shopping cart” or “imaginary DJ.” One guy is passionately singing, but it’s painfully clear that he doesn’t actually know the lyrics. The music stops and an ad plays; this, unfortunately, will happen several times throughout the night.

Even with these twilight zone parties, I had such an incredible experience and can’t wait for next year’s game. And, while I didn’t find the perfect Yale man, I did get a great selfie with a random football player!

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