After taking a year off for COVID, the rivalry is renewed between the Yale Bulldogs and Harvard Crimson. The two football teams will meet at the Yale Bowl on Saturday at noon.
“Super excited. It’s a big weekend,” said Andy Yang, a sophomore from Los Angeles.
Anthony Moir, general manager of a hotel called The Study at Yale, said “The Game” is Yale’s homecoming.
“It’s a big celebratory weekend for anyone coming to New Haven,” Moir said, noting that only the beginning draws larger crowds to campus.
“I think it’s just a really big tradition and it definitely makes you feel like a part of something bigger than yourself,” said Victoria DeMersseman, a freshman from Albuquerque.
Saturday’s festivities will mark the first Harvard-Yale game for first and second year students.
“There are a lot of firsts that we missed last year that are finally going to be able to do,” Yang said.
“I’m pretty excited. I haven’t really been to soccer games so far. This will be my first and it will be my first Harvard-Yale game, ”added Paden Nichols, a freshman from Seattle.
Usually, Yale students host Harvard students in their dorms. This year, the university banned bunking because of COVID.
“They’re going to be here and they’re going to be doing things anyway and probably meeting with Yale students, so I’m not sure if it’s necessarily going to be very effective in stopping the spread of Covid,” DeMersseman pointed out.
The students said the policy will be difficult to enforce.
“There aren’t really any people guarding the dorms, so you can just slip them inside,” Nichols said. “I’m not really sure what the consequences are, but I don’t intend to break the rules.”
The decision may impact ticket sales. The game is not sold out. However, finding a hotel room this late in the game could be a real Hail Mary.
“We’re fully booked tonight and tomorrow night,” said Dominic Ruggieri, general manager of the Graduate New Haven Hotel.
“Right now there are about 50-55 on the waiting list,” Moir added.
People started checking in to their hotel rooms on Friday and business was buzzing at restaurants in the area.
“We have additional staff. We know it’s crazy with games, the line is at the door, ”said Ashley Suraci, manager at Claire’s Corner Copia.
Local businesses are banking on the boost the game will provide.
“It’s definitely a big deal, especially now that we’re getting out of Covid, it’s going to have a huge impact for us in November,” Ruggieri said.
“A lot of people who aren’t from here come, a lot of fans, and that just creates a lot of people coming for food and drink and around town. I think it helps the economy, ”added Suraci.
While Yale will be hoping to defend their 2019 overtime victory, just being able to come together for the game is a victory in many fan books.
“With COVID, a lot of us haven’t really been able to come together lately and I can’t wait to be back in a social scene where people are just thrilled to be together and happy and to celebrate. life, ”said Tony Ferrai, a graduate student from San Diego.