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Littlefield: Yale (Finally) Beats Harvard — But I'm Thankful For Something Else02:14
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Last weekend the Yale football team celebrated its first victory over Harvard in a decade. (Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)
Last weekend the Yale football team celebrated its first victory over Harvard in a decade. (Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)
This article is more than 2 years old.

Last weekend, the Yale football team beat the team from Harvard in The Game: capital “T,” capital “G.”

That wasn’t supposed to happen. Before the game, Harvard was on track to win a share of the Ivy League title once again. Yale had only two wins.

A few days before the game, a young friend of mine who recently graduated from Harvard asked if I’d be going. I told him that as an undergraduate at Yale, I’d gone to one Yale-Harvard game. I’d driven to Cambridge to do it. I spent the weekend with a friend who was a Harvard student. He didn’t go.

"On that day almost 50 years ago, I sat at the top of the stadium, where the cold wind rules. I left at halftime, hoping to save my toes, which I could no longer feel."

On that day almost 50 years ago, I sat at the top of the stadium, where the cold wind rules. I left at halftime, hoping to save my toes, which I could no longer feel. I hobbled back to my friend’s dormitory room in a building named – believe it or not – Wigglesworth. I haven’t gone to The Game since.

After Yale won last weekend’s edition of The Game, my friend, the young Harvard graduate, emailed me as follows: “Sometimes, even a blind squirrel finds an acorn.”

I work with the guy. I knew he was kidding.

Then I got another email from a guy I’d known at Yale. He’d also gone to Saturday’s game. Maybe — when we were undergraduates — he’d had warmer shoes. I sent him the blind squirrel comment. He got right back to me.

“As I was walking out of the stadium,” he wrote, “a guy who noticed my Yale cap stopped me. He said, ‘Congratulations.’”

I’m thankful that I wasn’t at the game. It was cold. I was warm. Traffic, and so on.

And I’m thankful for the little story about the Harvard guy congratulating the Yale guy. The Harvard guy must have been disappointed. Winning would have meant something to his team. They’d have been Ivy League co-champs. Good on him for the “Congratulations.”

But I’m also thankful for the comment about the blind squirrel and the acorn. How do we get through some of the things we have to get through without that sort of thing…without the one-liner that spits in the eye of disappointment and laughs?

I think maybe I don’t. It’s the blind squirrel and the acorn stuff that helps keep everything else in perspective, so that I don’t take either the wins or the losses, on or off the field, more seriously than they need to be taken.

It’s Thanksgiving weekend. You two guys who emailed me after last Saturday’s game — thanks to both of you.

This segment aired on November 26, 2016.

Bill Littlefield Twitter Host, Only A Game
Bill Littlefield was the host of Only A Game from 1993 until 2018.

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