Off Field



A Snapshot into Harvard Football’s Fan Section

Harvard Independent Logo

This past Friday the Crimson football squad opened their 2014 campaign with a decisive win over Holy Cross. Though I was only on hand for the first forty-five minutes or so of this important game, I enjoyed each of those minutes tremendously. I can’t think of a Harvard football game I’ve enjoyed more since I started college.

On the way to the game, my roommates and I stopped at the DAPA tailgate. With the two lawn games and pizza, it felt more like a hastily prepared middle school birthday party than a tailgate for a football game. The pizza was average, but the lawn games were excellent.

We left after some time and made our way into Harvard Stadium, quietly one of the most beautiful structures on a famously beautiful campus. The Grecian stadium reminds us that while football might be relatively young, the joy of spectating freakishly athletic men repeatedly hit each other is as old as time. So is drinking at these events. Despite DAPA’s best guidance, many partook in this ancient rite. Convincing college kids to drink responsibly is a difficult task, especially when they’re on their way to watch their larger, faster peers launch themselves headfirst into one another for their own amusement.
We nearly showed up on time, making it to the stadium only a few minutes after kickoff. The next challenge was choosing ideal seats. We weren’t alone in this endeavor: another group of guys suggested that we “just follow the girls.” Sure, what better way to appear attractive to girls than to remind them that we’re not big or fast enough to play on the football team!
We settled for a spot somewhere between a group that seemed like frat bros, if you will, a posse of freshmen, and some alums that brought their young children. There was a clear disparity in attentiveness, intoxication, and actual knowledge of the sport.

One drunken fan near me hurled insult upon insult at the Holy Cross players and fans. “Holy Cross? More like Holy Shit, you’re bad!” The reactions of the surrounding fans ranged from mildly amused to mildly annoyed. The freshmen fell in the first category. The younger children had no comment. “The pope doesn’t love you” was another crowd pleaser. Calls to the Vatican went unreturned, so we can only assume he feels that way in lieu of a denial. Despite being hundreds of feet away from anyone remotely in favor of Holy Cross, he would not relent.

At one point, an even more inebriated Harvard proponent mistook a sarcastic jeer at Holy Cross as a taunt of his beloved Crimson. He would not let his school be debased in its own horseshoe of a stadium. He confronted the student, and after a few seconds of tension, he realized they in fact supported the same team. The two proceeded to share a beer, the rest of us proceeded to exhale, fortunate to avoid a needless fight.

As for the game being played in front of us; it remained competitive while I was there. In the second half, the Crimson blew open the flood gates en route to a 41-18 final score. An applied math concentrator confirmed that this was an embarrassing score for Holy Cross.

As far as I could tell, our team looked poised to take sole possession of the Ivy League title this year. I, on the other hand, was poised to walk JFK back toward campus. As I left immediately before halftime, I couldn’t help but wonder why we don’t play more night games. I stood waiting for the light to change, shivering in the gentle early fall breeze, wishing I would get another opportunity to sit outside in an unheated stone stadium on a brisk New England evening.

Andrew Adler ([email protected]) is looking forward to the rest of the football season and plans on staying for an entire game.