Friday, November 30, 2012

Football in the Fall

 These are guys you have known since the Fall of '81. You rushed with them, went to the games,studied,pulled pranks and pledged. These are the guys with whom you stumbled around "The Hill" on a Friday night hitting 7 of 8 raging fraternity parties and guzzling Old Mil' and Hamm's from 12 ounce cups.You flirted with girls from Cedar Crest at IFC cocktails every Friday afternoon wearing sport coats and khakis and ties. You did road trips and hit Linderman Library, played squash and pinball and "zooled" in the woods behind Chi Phi. You went to class hung-over and crammed for exams. It was a glorious time.

These guys have names from the college days like: Cave, Spike, Schwabey,Beeter, Wighty,Kipper,Divits and Blue. Some of us from different years barely know each other's real names to this day...we sure do not use them if we do. Decades later  we immediately fall into the same patterns and banter from the first beer to the 4th quarter. This is Lehigh/Lafayette.
You worked hard and played hard. You graduated. We all come back. When the Lehigh v. Lafayette game is on enemy turf, we leave the wives and kids at home. On game day we angle a tailgate spot on the streets near the stadium in Easton. Once again we are laughing and guzziling beers. The grill is lit, the laughing takes over after the news about families and kids and who did not make it today and why...and how much of a pussy they are for failing to do so.

 Sneaking booze and beer into the stadium is an art, a science and a tradition.Note the flask in the Sportsman's mit...a  nip of fine Bourbon while watching Lehigh football on a chilly November afternoon.
 "Greekers" were cheap hot dogs slathered with chili sauce, onions and mustard sold by little lunch-counter joints in South Bethlehem and available at 3 A.M. after you stumbled out of the Fraternity parties and off "The Hill." So named as a nod by the proprieters to the Fraternity trade that was a constant flow of revenue. At the away games I re-create the "Greeker" for the boys at the tailgate. Always a hit, the fare acts as a utilitarian "beer sponge" for the drinks at the tailgate and the ones smuggled into the stadium and the pitchers consumed at the bar back in Bethlehem after the game.
 You and the boys cheer and high five the touchdowns. This is a grudge match football's most played rivalry. You cheer louder than a regular really want a win.This year Lehigh once again triumphed. It was a close game in the 1st half...but the Lehigh boys ran away with it after that.

The Lehigh faithful flood the field at the end of the game. In the old days we rushed the goal posts and tore 'em down. That tradition is best left for another post.


James said...

In a world where so much has changed, this is great.

Main Line Sportsman said...

As usual "get it."

Tom said...

What a great post. Made me so nostlagic for the days up on the hill at Hamilton College. Our football team was brutal, but my fraternity brothers and I had the same dynamic and the same familiarity. Those were care free days with many of them spent attempting to remember fun times we had together. To this day we cannot but help remonisce: do you remember the time when mad dog peeled away from the cops in his car? Good times. Now I am a father and a homeowner. Big responsiblities but happy. But so glad I had those sunkissed days at good ol Hamtech. As always, you get it. Keep up the good work.

JMW said...

What a crew! Looks like a great time was had by all - glad to hear your guys won!

Anonymous said...

'Twas a good day indeed, as it always is when the Leopards get a well-deserved thrashing by our boys in brown and white.