We all know Dartmouth is a small college steeped in history and tradition. These traditions are only passed through the current classes on campus, and with one hiccup can disappear.
This is my story of rushing the field during Homecoming 2001—an enduring tradition that shows the true grit of a fresh Dartmouth Class. As freshmen, you may feel like you have only just arrived. But I am a senior, and believe me: I feel the exact same way. I enjoy telling this story … over and over and over again.
As halftime broke, I was shocked to see only one person rush the field. He followed the teams’ departure from Memorial Field perfectly before any Police Officers were prepared for the Freshmen Rush. Still, his performance was pretty lame.
I expected to watch hoards of my classmates pour onto the field. But they didn’t.
As a young kid watching football games at Dartmouth— my dad went here, and so did my sister—I remembered mobs of freshmen running in laps around the field. I recalled one person being arrested, but I swear it was for streaking. I was honestly expecting to see the same rush of freshmen during my first Homecoming. The marching bands continued their sonic assaults, and I realized that it was my time to seize an opportunity.
My parents had brought the most disgusting, ghoulish mask to campus that morning, for me to enjoy on Halloween. Returning to the stadium with the mask in my shirt, I found some last minute support from my friends and headed closer to the field. Decked out in my class shirt, the world’s worst mask, and some comfy khakis, I decided it was time to go for a jog.
I jumped the fence a little late for halftime to my misfortune: by the time I made the leap, Dartmouth was set to receive and Columbia was in their huddle. When I hit the track, I ran for the Dartmouth end zone. I then went for the longest run I have ever had on Memorial Field. A roaring cheer arose from the crowd.
I turned away from the end zone to run the length of the Dartmouth sideline, breaking at the Columbia 25-yard line to loop behind the Columbia huddle. I then made my way back to the Dartmouth end zone, weaving through the set receivers. When I hit the end of my run, I realized I had planned no escape.
My run was terrific exercise, but my hiding place was less than mediocre. Yes, I now know that I could have escaped from the tunnel entrance on the north end of the field (N.B.: this is now locked with an iron gate), but I could not see anything when I entered the dark equipment room. Finding refuge behind a bureau, I was quickly handcuffed.
The Hanover Police appeared from the cave to an erupting Dartmouth crowd, as the two officers flanked me. The cheering was incessant, but the rest of that story can be passed through the lore of my classmates.
After being charged with Criminal Trespassing as a Violation, I then faced more fines and five terms of disciplinary probation from the College. Sure, a sentence much harsher than many other offenses on campus, but this was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Knowing that I upheld a fading tradition of the College brought a certain sense of pride to my freshman experience.
The following Homecoming was a sorry sight. The Class of 2006 soiled their opportunity to prove the strength of their class by sending not one person; instead, they were upstaged the next year by a solid showing from the Class of 2007. So to the Class of 2014, remember: halftime is only fifteen minutes long, and the more, the merrier.
This set piece to the Review‘s Homecoming coverage was written by Edmund Finnerty.