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Original Issue

Not a Game, The Game

Harvard-Yale is still one of the most passionate rivalries around

CYNICS MIGHT compare attending the annual Harvard-Yale game, whose 121st incarnation takes place this Saturday, to "lining up on the fairways to watch two golfers shoot 100." But as authors Bernard Corbett and Paul Simpson demonstrate in the rousing The Only Game That Matters: Inside the Harvard-Yale Rivalry (Crown, 295 pages, $24.95), bragging rights to the game are taken every bit as seriously as they are in Columbus or Tuscaloosa. Consider 1968 when the Crimson scored 16 points in the final 42 seconds to tie the Elis (HARVARD BEATS YALE 29-29 read the headline in the Harvard Crimson). Says New York governor George Pataki, Yale '67, "Like all Yale fans ... I take some solace in the knowledge that Harvard considers a tie with Yale to be its greatest 'victory,' while Yale considers the tie with Harvard to be its worst 'defeat.' How appropriate." Somehow, we doubt Alabama-Auburn was ever like that. --Dick Friedman