It Was a Home Opener With a Twist: Harvard Outnumbered in the Stands

When the Harvard Band struck up "10,000 Men of Harvard" at the opening of today's game, there was something missing.

10,000 men--or women--of Harvard.

Temperatures rocketed into the low 80s, and yesterday's heavy cloud cover dissipated, making it a perfect day for a season opener. Lured by sunny skies, lowered ticket prices, and the inherent appeal of the earliest-season Ivy matchup in recent memory, fans from all over the Boston area began arriving at Soldier's Field at midday.

A large component of today's crowd consisted of incoming Harvard freshmen and their parents, attending the game in lieu of the day-long "Coffee Table for Parents" at the Freshman Union.

One freshman, Scott Van Duyne '80, sitting in the upper stands with a group of upperclassmen, said he found the pre-game spectacle "fascinating," but added that "I don't like all this garbage over here," indicating the groundwork for Harvard's multimillion-dollar athletic complex behind Soldiers Field stadium.


There was no shortage of tailgate partiers before the game today.

Sipping beers and Dubonnet, listening to Swing-era music, and munching on Boursin and crackers, they lined the baseball field parking area "in normal numbers, for a game like this," according to a parking attendant.

Pink Tickets

One group of revelers--holders of deferential "pink tickets" which allow them to park immediately adjacent to the ballpark--said they have been attending Harvard's opening games for over 50 years.

Dick Higgings '22, who managed the Crimson squad that travelled to the Rose Bowl his senior year, his brother John '20, Jeff Ross '23, who claims to be the shortest man ever to receive a Varsity letter at Harvard (he is a 5 ft. 4 1/2 in. former third baseman) and Charles Newhall '23, stood drinking and chatting along the first base line.

"It seems to be somewhat of a mistake (to play an Ivy League game this early)," Newhall said. "The teams won't be well-developed enough."

Dick Higgins disagreed. "I think we've been spoiled," he said. "I feel sorry for the Yale boys opening against Brown today--I'll take Columbia anytime.

Family Day

It was "Family Day" at the stadium today, and 2300 South Shore Midget Football Association players, their cheerleaders and families made up a large part of today's crowd.

The midgets--all suited up--sat at field level throughout the game. The South Shore contigent out-numbered registered Harvard students, 2300-0.

A group of women sat in the band section during the band's pregame show, wearing bright yellow car-nations.

'We're friends of the band," one of the women said. "Girlfriends of the band."

Jim Dowd '78, a program vendor, said program sales "have been slow, although I'm not in a very good position." Dowd was standing about 200 feet from where a Crimson editor was distributing free guides to the game.

Nearby, Rick Minard '77, the band's drillmaster, discussed the relevance of "10,000 Men of Harvard" for this game, which attracted appreciably fewer Harvard students than usual.

"I don't think there have ever been 10,000 men here any way," Minard said.

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