Sunday, November 18, 2012

The Game

Yesterday, Saturday, I was in Harvard Square early in the morning.  As I was driving in on what is now called John F. Kennedy Boulevard I was reminded by an additional police presence that yesterday was the day of THE GAME.

In these parts THE GAME is the Harvard-Yale football game played annually on the Saturday before Thanksgiving. Harvard is having a good season and Yale is not, so Harvard was a thirty point favorite yesterday.

I parked my car, got a cup of coffee and sat in one of the several coffee shops on Massachusetts Avenue--a road that intersects with JFK boulevard right at the Harvard Square subway stop across from the campus.  On the sidewalk, at 830 were undergraduates and alums wearing Harvard and Yale gear. The game was at noon.  The stadium is across the Charles River, a ten minute walk from where JFK and Mass Avenue meet. I took the walk and as I got closer to the stadium the activity picked up.  There were no crowds yet, but it was buzzing.  Already tail gate parties were getting going, a barbecue pit was set up near the stadium and hamburgers and various tail gate fare were being cooked up such that the area smelled more like the late afternoon than early morning.Two scalpers asked, in scalper code, if I wanted a ticket.

 I walked back to the Square and saw two fellows lugging long wooden tables from a truck setting up, I assume, for some soiree.  In the back of the pickup were no fewer than twenty cases of Heineken beer.

The game was a sellout.  The stadium seats over 30,000.  At 12:30, only thirty minutes from the start of THE GAME, Boston College was hosting Virginia Tech.  I looked in today's paper and there were over 30,000 in attendance at that game no more than a few miles away from the Harvard-Yale contest.  Also at 1230, downtown, a ten minute drive from Harvard Stadium, the Boston Celtics were playing a home game against the Toronto Raptors.  A little less than 20000 attend the Celtic games.

So, at noon yesterday, within a short radius, 80,000 people were watching a sporting event. This does  not include the 12,000 who saw UMASS play the University of Buffalo about twenty miles away in Foxboro.

THE GAME turned out to be a very close one. It was tied at the half, and in the second half the lead changed a number of times.  Finally Harvard went ahead and put the icing on the cake with a long scoring run when what they were really trying to do was run out the clock.  Very exciting. The game ended at about 330.

My guess is that there were no Heinekens left by 5.

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