SportsProf

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Sunday, October 24, 2010

Princeton Homecoming: Harvard 45 Princeton 28

My son and I attended Princeton's homecoming game against Harvard, and while the Tigers fought valiantly, they fell to their visitors from Massachusetts, 45-28.

The game saw 6 interceptions, some good kick returns, lots of offense, a botched snap on a punt that led to a Crimson score and great running by Harvard. While Princeton's fans and coaches (not particularly in that order) had to be encouraged with the offense, the defense left a lot to be desired and needs improvement. The Crimson ran with impunity, pushed the Tigers all over the field and came away with a convincing victory.

What's more compelling about Ivy League football, though, is the crowd, all 10,000 of them, so here are some observations:

1. Lots of sportcoats seen in the crowd. Would like to schedule a rugby match between the Princeton faithful and the members of the electricians' union in Philadelphia who tailgate on asphalt in South Philadelphia parking lots before an Eagles' game.

2. Lots of pants in colors not found in nature. A woman sat near us wearing mustard-colored corduroys. Sure, it was in the mid-50's mid-morning, but in the sun in the end zone mid-afternoon, it was plum hot out there. Where do these people come from? They don't really live near me, at least I don't think.

3. I saw an undergrad dressed as a tigress at an eating club before the game. Tall, in a skintight black outfit, with a tiger's tale attached. Didn't see how this was all too dignified for one of the most standard-setting universities in the world, unless a) she had lost a bet or b) she was pledging a sorority. I suppose that type of look makes the wearer memorable -- in someone's eyes, at least.

4. The band shows are confounding, because I believe that the band leaders of both schools write their shows not for the fans, but for each other. The humor can get lost on the audience unless they know the titles of the songs that are being played following the narrator's witty banter about the topic of the day. Texas (in terms of precision) and Florida A&M (in terms of music and precision), well, they are not.

5. During the national anthem, we could hear someone trying to sing The Star Spangled Banner in opera-like fashion from a few sections over. That beat the well turned out guy behind me with his trophy wife, as the guy tried to show off by singing the lyrics only to sing them out of order. Hard to tell if he imbibed too much before the game, but he was both off-key and off-lyrics.

6. I heard two fifty somethings discussing a business opportunity a few rows before me, and I heard the term "exit strategy" at least a few times. At Lincoln Financial Field, "exit strategy" means how you can escape the friendly confines expeditiously enough to avoid traffic jams after the game. In Princeton Stadium, it means how you, as a venture capitalist, can maximize the return on your investment. Which is better? The South Philly version or the Central New Jersey version?

7. Funny conversation between two friends of mine at the game, both alums, although neither knew each other. Call one Tad, who came from out-of-town to show his daughter the campus, as she's a high-school junior considering colleges. Tad traveled from far away, and he enjoyed the entire weekend, bonded with his daughter and wonders what her chances are. Call the other Mike, who came from out-of-town to catch part of the game and then attend to other business. Tad was very earnest in his daughter's interest in Princeton and most hopeful that she'll have a shot to get in. Mike, whose sense of humor can be very wry and direct, recalled a session he went to on campus when his teenaged kids were a lot younger. Said Mike, "So, we went to this session held for alumni on the admissions process, and the Dean of Admissions basically said to us, 'Find another school.'" Poor Tad, as that's not what he needed to hear on this beautiful weekend. But Mike might have been doing him a favor by giving Tad a reality check -- as the percentage of kids offered admission keeps shrinking.

8. It's surprising how many mental errors are made on a football field allegedly populated by members of MENSA.

It was a very enjoyable day. Game, then a walk to Thomas Sweet's for an ice-cream blend-in, then an enjoyable drive through Lawrenceville home.

In stark contrast to my beloved Phillies, I really didn't care one way or the other whether my team won or lost. The food was good, the company was better, and the football provided a convenient vehicle for conversation with good friends from out-of-town for an afternoon.

Of course, if the team were 6-0 and in the hunt for a title, the atmosphere would have been different. But, in some ways, I'm thankful that it wasn't, as it's nice to go and relax without hanging on every pitch, every shot, every play. That's probably not what the participants would like to hear, but that's the way it was for me yesterday.

Go Tigers!

1 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good summary of the game-day experience. You are correct that the Princeton and Harvard band members write their jokes for each other, rather than the audience in the stands. Avoiding the objective of making their listeners actually laugh or even crack a smile takes the pressure off the script writers to be funny, so that they can concentrate on their preference of being self-congratulatory.

12:33 PM  

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