Monday, November 24, 2014

Historic College Rivalry Takes Over NYC

There are many college rivalries - you probably have your favorite - from Harvard vs. Yale, Army vs. Navy,  Amherst College vs. Williams College, or USC vs. UCLA, but I will be writing about another one - a truly historic one and, yes, indeed, it has been played out in sports, especially football.

The past 3 days I spent in NYC taking part in the iconic #rivalry150 events surrounding the 150th meeting of  Lafayette College and Lehigh University in a football game in none other  than Yankee Stadium to a sold out audience on Saturday of over 48,200 ticket holders!

I admit my husband is a very loyal Lafayette College alum. He received his undergrad degree in physics there before moving on to his graduate degrees, including the PhD, from Brown University. I am a Brown U. alum (4 times over) and a Harvard one as well since I was a Science Fellow at Radcliffe.

Very often one's  loyalties lie with one's undergraduate alma mater since the undergraduate years provide such formative experiences.

Lafayette and Lehigh are part of the Patriot League, a Division 1 athletics league. Both schools also have outstanding academic reputations and I especially respect their excellence in STEM fields.

The New York Times had great coverage of this rivalry with the first meeting of the two football teams in 1884.  Both schools had worked very hard to generate interest and  the activities in NYC were tremendous. Spoiler alert for those who have not heard - Lafayette "routed" (New York Times' choice of words) Lehigh with a score of 27-7 and this they accomplished with a third string quarterback, Zach Zweizig, whose name will go down in his college's history.  

Zach has overcome injuries plus the death of his father and it was only last week that he was called on by his coach to take on the incredible challenge of playing quarterback at Yankee Stadium!

We took the MetroNorth train from New Haven and, in walking to our favorite hotel in NYC, The Excelsior, on 81st Street, through Central Park, on Friday, we heard a band playing, so with our suitcases we investigated and it was the Lehigh band practicing along with cheerleaders.

That morning there was coverage of the rivalry on both the Today Show and GMA.

The Presidents of the two academic institutions, President Alison Byerly of Lafayette College and President Kevin J. Clayton of Lehigh, got to ring the closing bell at the New York Stock Exchange on Friday with the college mascots of a lepoard and a mountain hawk to accompany them.
 Courtesy of the Associated Press

Friday evening we were treated to a gala event with scrumptious desserts at the Museum of Natural History, and I felt as though I was in the movie Night at the Museum.
On Saturday morning, before going to the game, we saw several Lafayette College students walking on Broadway in leopard prints, of course!
The below photos were taken at the football game at Yankee Stadium. It was great to see the two college bands perform together at halftime!
And, as the sun was setting, the Empire State building was lit up in the rival school colors, maroon and white, and brown and white!
And, no wonder why we all love NYC, after the game on Saturday at Yankee Stadium, because of the crowds trying to get on the subway, everyone was allowed to just pass through!

More great coverage of the game and events from USAToday to NPR can be found here.

The terrific memories are what build great school spirit!