Saturday, November 17, 2012

The Game

Pre-game... errr... "Game"... Nov. 17, 2012.

I was a sportswriter in a past life. Football still remains my top-ranked sports love.

So I know a little about the history of the game... and "The Game," which is how they refer to the annual Harvard-Yale matchup that is football's third-oldest rivalry.

When we knew we were coming here, we thought about all the cool things that a city would offer. For me, one of those cool things was that Boston is a bustling sports community. Except for when the NHL decides not to play, Boston has everything.

We ordered tickets two months ago for The Game. Today, we went. Now we're a little part of history.

Harvard prevailed 34-24 in a game that as a football fan was hardly a classic. It turned out to be interesting, with five of its six lead-changes coming in the second half. But having been weaned on Texas high school football, the Southwest and Southeastern conferences, and the Dallas Cowboys, today's demonstration was not awe-inspiring. McKayla would not be impressed.

But these guys are scholars, not football players. This was true old-school football, a reminder of when guys played more for the love of the game than in hopes of making football a career. There are no athletic scholarships in the Ivy League. Some of these players made me feel like I should check to see if I had eligibility left.

Maybe in the day I could have hung with them on the field. But not many people can hang with them in the classroom.

Harvard Stadium was built in 1903, and still looks pretty sturdy. It was kind of cool to be in a place that was first used just a few months after the formation of the Ford Motor Company. And a few years before flight. And while Roosevelt -- TEDDY Roosevelt -- was president. By the way, Roosevelt is an alum.

In fact, I thought about the people like Roosevelt who very likely visited this stadium at some point. The list is mind-boggling... to think that I sat in a place to see a storied matchup in what could have been a shared experience of a sort with people like JFK, RFK, FDR, Obama... the list is beyond impressive. Check it out here.

So many impressive people. I especially found amusement thinking of T.S. Eliot, Fred Gwynne, Ted Kaczynski, Natalie Portman taking in a game at the old horseshoe. I don't know if any of those folks went there, but some of them surely must have.

And that's one of the cool things about living here: you're constantly rubbing up against history.

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