You Don’t Have to be a Football Fan to Enjoy Harvard-Yale

group picture in the stands

Every year, the annual Harvard-Yale football game marks the start of our weeklong Thanksgiving break. Although some students and alums have been patiently waiting for this game after keeping up with our football team and their successful season, others like myself, are only fans of Harvard-Yale. Regardless of my lack of interest and knowledge of football, Harvard-Yale is always a fantastic experience, especially if you are with friends and remember to dress warmly.

Before The Game (another name for Harvard-Yale) even started, student interest in football was increasing as students prepared for The Game. Since I am in the best residential college (Timothy Dwight), the Harvard-Yale festivities began early with a generous tailgate brunch organized by our amazing dining hall staff. From donuts, pastries, bagels, lox, and even a hot dog station, non-football fans quickly learned to appreciate football. Besides the tailgate brunch, general excitement for Harvard-Yale began once the tickets for The Game were released. From buying the tickets to planning the sleeping situations, Harvard-Yale was all students talked about during the weeks leading up to The Game.

tailgate brunchbagels

loxdonuts and pastries
Proof that TD is the best residential college

This year, The Game took place in Harvard, which meant that students had to figure out their sleeping situations and transportation to and from Harvard. Since I planned to go to Harvard-Yale with some of my friends, we were able to book an Airbnb ahead of time (think a month ahead) and had our sleeping situations figured out before even buying Harvard-Yale tickets. My friends and I also took advantage of the shuttles that Yale generously provided. Once it was closer to the game, the final preparations took place with the ticket pickups and last-minute packing.

line for Harvard yale ticketstickets and ice cream
Pre-Harvard-Yale activities

After a 3-hour long bus ride to Harvard (which I spent catching up on sleep), my friends and I arrived at Harvard cold and on a mission to get food. After eating a filling meal and settling into our Airbnb, we began our very productive night of exploring Harvard’s campus. While this was not the best idea considering the busy day ahead, exploring Harvard was enough to convince me that Yale is the superior school.

dinnerlate night picture
dinner + late night selfies :D

The morning of Harvard-Yale, my friends and I, sleep-deprived from our less than-ideal sleeping situation, packed our belongings in the Airbnb and trudged to our sister college that was 30 minutes away for brunch. Although Harvard’s brunch does not compare to Yale’s brunch, I was pleasantly surprised by the number of options available in Harvard’s dining hall. After barely recovering from the long walk to the Leverett House, we embarked on our journey to the tailgate. Although the walk was unnecessarily long (this is a recurring theme throughout the trip), being able to walk along the Charles River made the journey much more enjoyable. At the tailgate, I consumed more food, took pictures with friends, and enjoyed the last bit of warmth before The Game.

td tailgate

walk to the game
Thankful for the sunny weather

Finally, The Game began. Thanks to my friend Alice, we were able to get seats with great views of the field. While I did not understand the first quarter of the game, thanks to my friend Peyton (a very successful elementary school football player), I slowly understood what was happening on the field and became much more invested in The Game and Yale’s victory. Although my feet became colder with each passing quarter, I looked forward to our halftime show and the infamous Saybrook strip, which kept my mind off the cold stands. As I was about to reach my tolerance for the cold, Yale won The Game. Once I fully registered our victory, it finally struck me that I could storm the field with my peers.

selfie with friendsselfie with friends

Saybrook strip
If you look closely, the last picture is the saybrook strip 

Even though I am not a football fan, I am a fan of Harvard-Yale. Although I admit that I complained about the amount of walking and lackluster sleeping situation, I would not trade this experience for anything. Perhaps it was the friends I was able to experience The Game with or the fact that we won The Game this year; whatever it may be, it is very much possible to enjoy Harvard-Yale as someone who is not a football fan.