The Game


Reading this week:

  • Aid and Authoritarianism in Africa, edited by Tobias Hagmann and Filip Reyntjens

Yesterday was “The Game,” which is the rather pretentious moniker for the annual Harvard-Yale Football game. I don’t like football, I don’t even actually know the rules of football, but I went because it was billed as an “experience” and I had a lot more fun than I thought I was going to.

I saw very little of the football game. We had a pre-game thing at our institute’s building where the big draw was bagel sandwiches. The guy who organized it also brought bourbon, and that plus some Keurig coffee was a great way to start the day. We eventually head over to the bowl where we had a “tailgate,” which involved drinking some beers in the vicinity of Nick’s SUV, but I guess that is in fact the average tailgating experience so there you go.

We head into the stadium with about 20 seconds left in the second half, and so were quickly watching halftime. This is when the real action started: a climate protest! The protest was a coordinated effort between Yale and Harvard students to protest the investment in fossil fuels and the like by the endowments of each university. During the protest, I was not in favor of the protest, but I have since revised my assessment. First, the protesters had absolutely no trouble getting onto the field. I saw them line up behind some banners behind the endzone and then walk on over to the 50 yard line. Based on how easily they got down there, I figured Yale had known about it and allowed it to happen as a planned event, and so I was annoyed at Yale for acting all surprised that it was happening. Turns out they did not in fact have the blessing of Yale, and Yale just doesn’t try very hard to keep people off the field. So now I’m 100% in when it comes to execution of the thing.

The second thing was that I didn’t really get the point. I didn’t think there was anyone in the stadium that was particularly pro-climate change, so I didn’t know who they were trying to convince. My judgement here has been revised as well. Apparently the game (er, The Game) was being televised by ESPN so there was in fact a national audience they were trying to target. And they made both the New York Times (I’m technically in that header photo, way up in the stands) and the Washington Post, so maybe they’ll be able to exert enough pressure on the colleges to actually divest from the offending companies. While I was in the stands I was annoyed that Yale was allowing the protesters to delay the game (I was cold) so they could preach to the choir, but now I know none of that is true so I’m into what they were doing and I support it.

The game eventually restarted and I watched about 6 minutes of the second half. Then I ditched because like I said it was cold. But Yale won! That’s cool I guess!


Unrelated to all that, above is a card they were handing out with the Yale fight song. Let’s talk about this for a minute. I went to the Naval Academy for undergrad, and the big football rivalry there is with the Military Academy. The Army-Navy game is fantastic. As I also mentioned, I hate football, but I’ll get excited about Army-Navy. Give ’em the goat! It’s America’s game (I hold that’s less pretentious than “The Game,” also America is awesome and stuff), and the president tends to show up and stuff. More importantly, the Navy’s official fight song includes the line “Drink to the Foam,” which goes far to set the right tone (the best fight song is of course “The Goat is Old and Gnarly“). What does Yale’s fight song have? Some weird barking? Get your shit together Yale. You’re supposed to be the best and brightest.