The Game 2015:
Harvard-Yale weekend, off the field
Each year, much is said, here at Yale and over at Harvard, about the storied football game that is annually played between the schools in mid-November. Students from both schools plan pranks, create t-shirts and make taunting signs in the days and weeks leading up to The Game, gearing up to cheer on their teams. This year’s contest, held at the Yale Bowl yesterday afternoon, ended the same way as the previous eight have: with a Yale loss. But the Harvard-Yale rivalry has come to encompass more than The Game, and the weekend extends beyond four quarters of football. Here’s what else took place this weekend, off the gridiron.
While the two football teams were preparing for Game Day Saturday, intramural teams from Yale and Harvard were duking it out on the practice fields for points and bragging rights. The co-ed soccer match pictured above opened with a lopsided start that put Harvard ahead 3–0, but Yale rallied back to triumph 5–3 — a small bright spot in an athletic weekend otherwise disappointing for Bulldogs fans.
Other joint events Friday focused on the performing arts scene at both schools. Yale’s Rhythmic Blue teamed up with Harvard’s Expressions Dance Crew Friday night to host The Harvard/Yale Dance-Off (above), a two-set performance of hip-hop dance by the Ivy crews.
(A cappella groups also used the platform of the weekend to show off their chops. The Opportunes (above), an a cappella group from Harvard, shared the stage in Battell Chapel Friday night with The Din & Tonics, also from Harvard, and Yale’s Redhot & Blue and The Duke’s Men. Singing performances took place all over campus Friday and Saturday night.)
At least two improv partnerships also performed Friday night. Yale’s Lux Improvitas and Harvard’s Three Letter Acronym (above), as well as Yale’s The Purple Crayon and Harvard’s The Immediate Gratification Players, held separate joint performances in Linsly-Chittenden Hall, weaving together characters and sketches for the mixed crowd.
Though most of the weekend’s events accommodate alumni of both schools, who often come to The Game in droves to support their respective alma maters, one distinctly intended for current students was the Harvard vs. Yale party at Toad’s Place, which more than 3,500 people indicated on Facebook they attended. Students from both schools also had the option of attending the Yale College Council’s Yale/Harvard Party, held in Commons concurrently with the event at Toad’s.
Another tradition of Harvard-Yale weekend: the hosting of students from the away school by students and residential colleges at the home school. Many Yale students opened their suites to Harvard lodgers over the weekend, and some residential college common areas, including the Silliman common room (above), also became makeshift guest rooms.
After waking up Saturday morning, thousands of students and alumni from both schools headed to the Yale Bowl well before the scheduled 2:30 kick-off for an event that has long been part of The Game’s tradition: the Harvard-Yale tailgate. Many used the occasion to catch up and relax with friends before the start of Thanksgiving break (above).
Others used the tailgate to enjoy a somewhat different kind of relaxation.
One of the hallmarks of The Game is the gathering of generations of alumni to cheer on their alma maters. Some alumni are young, some are old and some — including US Secretary of State John Kerry ‘66 (above) — have earned quite distinctive reputations in their years since graduating, but during The Game all that matters is their Yale or Harvard pride.
After The Game ended and most students headed home or back to campus, the Black Student Alliance at Yale hosted The Showdown, the annual Harvard-Yale talent show and one of the weekend’s final events. It included performances from acts from both schools, including Yale’s Dzana Afrobeats dance group, Harvard’s Kuumba Singers and Emi Mahmoud ’16 who recently won the Individual World Poetry Slam Championship and performed several of her poems, including her winning entry, for the audience gathered in Sheffield-Sterling-Strathcona Hall.