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Original Issue

A Raccoon Coat, a Flask and Thou Beside Me

A November snowfall makes football especially delightful for spectators, but on the field it becomes an eerie and chilly ballet for the players

Football is theone game that defies nature. No matter what the weather—be it heat wave,hurricane or blizzard—the show always goes on. The football fan, too, is uniquein the face of the elements. He has his shirtsleeves for the sun, an umbrellaor a Burberry for the rain and as for the snow...well, through the years he hasdiscovered that a raccoon coat and a well-filled flask are more than ampleprotection against the most biting blizzard. Football in the snow is such anabsorbing spectacle that the attendant discomforts actually offer a somewhatmasochistic pleasure.

Perhaps the mostmemorable snow game in recent years, was staged between Ohio State and Michiganat Columbus in 1950, the winner to go to the Rose Bowl. The snow was so deep bythe second half that the players came out wearing sneakers and gloves withholes cut for their fingers. Stadium attendants shoveled snow from the fieldduring time-outs, and several times the ball was actually lost in swirlingdrifts at the sidelines.

A snowstormsoftens the usually vibrant sounds that rise from a stadium on an autumnafternoon and lends a dreamlike quality to the action on the field. Clouds ofsnowflakes blanketing the players seem to lessen the impact of the tackle, tugat the pace of action until it seems to occur in slow motion. PhotographerMarvin Newman captured this feeling in color when Dartmouth met Princeton atPalmer Stadium for the Ivy League championship in the final game of the 1957season. Though Dartmouth was favored, no one had counted on snow, in whichstrategy and skill so often disappear in the snowflakes. The result in thiscontest was that Dartmouth suffered its only loss of the season, 34-14; andPrinceton, though twice beaten, won the Ivy crown.

PrincetonTailback Dan Sachs floats uncertainly through the Dartmouth line, seeminglyunaware of the danger near by.

Ghostlysnowflakes soften the raw, brute power of a line ready to spring, and blur thefleeting moment of freedom of a charging back

The try for theextra point seems unreal, somehow, as the spanking sound of leather againstleather is absorbed in a fairyland of white