Bringing the thrill to Ivy League Sports

Photo by Dominique
Photo by Dominique

Imagine yourself screaming “GO HARVARD!” at the top of your lungs. You are surrounded by a sea of crimson that ebbs and flows in unison with you as you find yourself feeling the emotions of the collective: either exuberant or frustrated. Like your fellow spectators you are holding a blood red foam finger and a proudly displaying the Veritas shield on your chest as you dare someone to challenge your pride, your love, your team.

No, I am not quite describing The Game, nor any other local(ish) campus sporting event that you may find yourself attending (seriously guys, please attend — HDA could use some serious love). Rather, I am detailing the rather unusual, but not unpleasant, sensation of finding myself at a Harvard Athletics event over winter break.

I am not a Massachusetts student, battle-hardened to misery of coats drenched in snow and the outline of salt on every surface imaginable that was exposed to the elements. I am a Floridian, and I mean a South Floridian who suffers from “deep freeze” whenever there is a possibility of weather in the 60s. But that, alas, is another story entirely.

I was incredibly pleased to attend a Harvard Basketball game in Boca Raton, mere minutes away from my home in Delray Beach, FL. Who were my courtside comrades? None other than the Harvard Clubs of Palm Beach, Broward, and Miami-Dade counties.

The experience of connecting with Harvard alums was unbelievable. They offered a perspective that sheds a new light on what we go through here as students – everyone had a unique story about the roads that they followed in life, and how many were unexpected. Meeting future spouses (looking at you, readers) and employers took on a mythical element as I heard various Harvard grads recount their lives after their time here in Cambridge. It was incredible to see how serendipitous many of the circumstances in their lives were, and how prominent a role Harvard played in the grand narratives that wove.
I was not exempt from the pleasant task of recounting my experiences as a first year college student. In fact, I had to contend with serious disbelief as I informed an alum that a recent UC poll favored co-educational dorms. He said that it was about time that the houses became co-ed, and I had to gently inform him- much to his astonishment- that the houses had already been co-ed for years and now they were considering making suites co-ed.

Seeing the basketball team far away from home in weather that was conducive to shorts and tank tops was immensely gratifying. It’s easy to forget when you venture from your dorms (or rather Lamont as finals came to a close) and back home that you go to a university with such a storied and intricate history. The connections that you make here will last much longer than the parties that get shut down by HUPD on Friday nights, your memories of HUDS food will be those of memorable conversations shared over dinner and frigid treks to Annenberg that you dearly wish you could skip. All of this is lost when you spend some time and home and reconnect with what it means to relax and lose the constant hum that sounds in your ears as your inbox floods with an excessive amount of e-mails, the majority of which you will never read to truly garner the contents of.

Despite the effects of time and the differences in campus life and environment, we were all unified by a common love of Harvard and a willingness to cheer, sigh, and leap as one in our expression of support for the greatest team in the Ivy League, Division I, and, quite frankly, the world. Though Harvard lost to FAU by a considerable amount, the spirit of support was in the air, and our boys knew that we were behind them, far from home.

Let this be a call to arms to increase your attendance of games. Harvard alums were thrilled by the prospect of supporting the Crimson over 1,500 miles away and yet the Harvard Department of Athletics has trouble mustering up a handful of fans even when offering free “swag” of every variety imaginable from t-shirts to bags to earbuds. As the sage Harvard graduates I met could attest, in future years you’ll be sorry that you didn’t.

Dominique Luongo ’17 (dominiqueluongo@college) is already buying her tickets for next year’s South Florida games.