While we’re on the subject of hockey: I went to the Harvard-Yale hockey game last night. Some changes from the dark ages when I melted the shaved ice from the Zamboni and swept up discarded orange peels from the locker rooms between periods:
- TV cameras (and annoying TV timeouts)
- A video scoreboard, with annoying animations and helpful replays
- Annoyingly loud music
- Contests between periods
- Netting behind each goal to keep you from getting killed by a flying puck (and also to keep you from getting a clear view of the action)
- Raffles, Twitter contests, souvenir stands . . .
One interesting change: about a third of Harvard’s roster is foreign-born. Not just Canadians: Sweden, Switzerland, Croatia, and the Czech Republic are also represented. Most of these kids at least prepped at an American school, but still, this doesn’t seem like an altogether positive development to me. There are 1600 slots in every Harvard class, about half of which will be filled by males. These are the most coveted 1600 slots in American higher education. It seems OK to me (although many will disagree) that some number of these slots should go to kids whose primary (but not only) qualification is that they can skate fast or shoot a basketball or catch a pass. But Harvard is at least partially subsidized by taxpayer dollars (at least in the sense that it is a tax-exempt institution); so you’d like to think it could find American kids who can skate fast enough or shoot a basketball or catch a pass well enough to fill those slots.
Anyway, there was an old guy with a booming voice sitting behind me. Everyone else seemed to know him. In the third period he became rightly annoyed when Harvard got a one-goal lead and went into a defensive shell. (Yale eventually scored despite the shell, so Harvard started attacking again and scored the game-winner with a little over a minute left.) I finally figured out that the old guy was legendary Olympic gold medalist and long-time Harvard coach and AD Bill Cleary. Nice to see that he’s still on top of his game.