Saturday, October 16, 2010

Rutgers v. Army at the New Meadowlands

I don’t go to many of my alma mater football games. In fact the last one was decades ago, when I went to the final Rutgers/Princeton game. Rutgers won that, 44 to 13. Rutgers was just starting to make its bid for big time football, and so needed to be in a different league than Princeton. It was surely an end of an era, since those two institutions began “college football” when on November 6, 1869, guys from Rutgers College challenged guys from College of New Jersey (now Princeton) to play football. Rutgers won, 6 to 4.

I have a sentimental place in my heart for Army, since my father used to take me to West Point to see Army play, usually against Notre Dame, and then we had to root for ND, of course.

The “new” Meadowlands looks a lot like the old one, a.k.a Giants Stadium. I saw a few games there in the LT years.

It was perfect football weather: cool but not cold with sunny skies. And it felt good to participate in this time-honored autumnal American ritual. Rutgers won in overtime, 23 to 20, but they really didn’t deserve to. Army was clearly the better team, but Rutgers scraped by and got lucky in many plays, except in one terrible play where Defensive Tackle Eric LeGrand sustained a neck injury in overtime. He's in the hospital, and his condition hasn't yet been reported, which doesn't sound good.

Update: The NYTimes is reporting that LeGrand is paralyzed from the neck down. How shocking. There were other injuries during the game, other players who didn't get up right away, so there was no way to know how serious Eric's injury is. Do there seem to be more injuries than in the past? As a kid watching games for years with my Dad, I don't remember any critical injuries. Everyone is praying for Eric.

I bought these tickets back in August, to go with an old RU alumni friend and her husband. It’s an odd twist of timing that the first game we go to for decades is just after the tragedy of Tyler Clementi put RU on the front page for troubling reasons.

Looking around at the RU fans, it’s hard to imagine any of them would have been so cruel to Tyler, even given that his sensibility was so different from their own.

And Dharun Ravi and Molly Wei: we’ve heard nothing more about charges against them. Why is that? Are their parents paying out to protect their privacy? Won’t that just suck.