Homecoming 2014: Fall Weather Brings Classmates to Celebrate But Not the Game
By Howard Zien '71, Class Treasurer
Photo credits: Howard Zien
Otober 29, 2014
homecoming weekend is like the preparation of a fine meal. You identify all of the key ingredients,
gather them together, then combine them and prepare, cook, and enjoy the meal. The
specific ingredients that come to mind are:
food and drink,
sense of identify that only Princeton can bring,
presence and friendship of our classmates,
a football game.
often happens in events of this type, some of the ingredients exceed our
expectations, and others fall short. So it was last weekend, October 25.
weather in the mid-seventies was spectacular. The sun brilliant. We witnessed students pouring into Princeton
Stadium in T-shirts, shorts and shower-style flip flops. It caused most of us alums to refer to the
calendars on our smart phones to confirm that it was in fact the last week of
October. We remembered in our
undergraduate days how late October caused us to decide how many layers of
woolens to put on as we walked about the campus.
campus-wide tailgate gathering has become a campus tradition. Good food abounded, and a carnival atmosphere
prevailed, punctuated by the Princeton
Band. The tailgate offered 71-ers a
chance to get together and also to interact with other classes. Beer, Sandwiches, Desserts. All good.
The tailgate gathering started at 11am.
The football game, a few short blocks away, began at 1pm.
the stadium, the color orange was redolent.
It was difficult to find an empty seat on the Princeton side of the
stadium, so I found my place on the visitor's side. There was method in my madness. In addition to finding a place to sit, I was
able to see the enormous throng of Princetonians on the other side in a sea of
orange. And as the game progressed (I'll get to that
in a minute), when there was something to cheer about, the enthusiasm of the
Princeton fans was unmistakable.
to the weekend, I had glanced at the results of previous matches for
Harvard. And I must say I was a bit
concerned because they had won their previous games convincingly. As it turns out, my concerns were justified.
The Tigers seemed to be outcoached and outplayed. Harvard, for its part, conducted a clinic in
football logic and practice. It was as
if their chalkboard had come to life and the Princeton team mere smudges in the
have to confess, I became somewhat distracted from the activity on the gridiron
below. So I busied myself admiring the
stadium and the undiminished enthusiasm of the Princeton fans when my eye
caught a very large banner hanging low down behind the south end zone. The banner said:
28 National Championships
I had never seen this banner before and I thought it contained two unrelated
phrases. First, that Princeton plays
football, which until this particular day we were all aware. And second that Princeton has had 28 national
championships in a variety of sports.
I researched the matter further. When we
were undergrads, this research would have taken several days. But with the miracle of the Internet, on my
phone and later that night on my computer at home, I was able to confirm this
most unlikely of facts.
has more National Football Championships than any other college or
University. Yale is 2nd with
27. The closest university we would
recognize as a modern football power is Notre Dame with 22 national
free to check my work on Wikipedia.
Funny. When I applied to Princeton, I liked
football, but this was an unknown fact to me at the time and had no impact on
my decision to matriculate here.
I won't dwell on the
football game. Except to say that all
things, good and bad, come to an end.
We were able to retire to
Tiger Inn for a wonderful class cocktail party.
As we approached TI, the yard in front of the Inn was teaming with
students celebrating. Since the recently
concluded football game was unlikely to be the catalyst for their celebrations,
I can only conclude that the beautiful weather and Princeton environs were
It certainly was for me and
the other 71ers I spoke with.
See the rest of the photos of the day in the Gallery.