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November 02, 2015

Student Traditions - Mather College’s Yale-Harvard Basketball Game

Long before intercollegiate women’s basketball attracted television coverage and legions of fans, the sport was a focus of interclass rivalries at women’s colleges, Western Reserve University’s Flora Stone Mather College included. Each year class teams battled each other for supremacy. Basketball season culminated with an all-star game held in late March or early April. Two teams were made up of the best players from all four classes. A single game decided the champion. The tradition seems to have started in 1909 or 1910 and, by 1912, the team names, Yale and Harvard, had been adopted.

HarvardYaleTeams_1918.jpg
Mather's Harvard and Yale teams, 1918

As was typical of Mather College traditions, the annual Yale-Harvard game was no paltry affair. Varia Historia, the student yearbook, described the 1912 game, “The campus and gymnasium had been decorated with huge banners and rooters yelled and sang. Harvard produced a band and a small boy mascot and Yale a bull dog and three more baskets than their opponents.” [105] Getting into the spirit of the rivalry, the cafeteria featured back-to-back Harvard Day and Yale Day. Harvard beets were a feature of the former. There is no description of the Yale menu. Eventually, as was also typical of Mather traditions, a banquet was added to the festivities. For over fifty years the Yale-Harvard game was one of the more vigorous Mather spring traditions.

Posted by jmt3 at November 2, 2015 03:07 PM

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