“The Game” 2006: Yale 34, Harvard 13. Je-Sux! Harvard Sucks

What a difference a year makes! A year ago this Saturday I saw the Harvard-Yale game at the Yale Bowl in New Haven. Yale was leading in the 3rd quarter, but Harvard came from behind to win in triple-overtime. Today the tables were turned. Yale won, 34 to 13.

For official confirmation, see Yale University Football; the site was updated less than five minutes after the game ended.

The Game is a title given to several U.S. college football rivalry games, but most particularly the annual contest between the Harvard University “Crimson” and the Yale University “Bulldogs.”

The Game has also been the scene of several well-known football pranks, notably the We Suck prank by Yale during the 2004 half-time, when a card display that was meant to say “Go Harvard” was altered to say “We Suck.” You can find a link to a video of the prank at Harvard Sucks (video).

Other pranks have been perpetrated by Harvard and MIT, but one of the best known ever is by my own alma mater, Caltech. See The Great Rose Bowl Hoax, rated the #1 all-time best college prank.

To fully appreciate the “We Suck” as well as the phrase “Je-Sux” in the title of this post, we need to dig into the history of suckiness. To Harvard grads who happen to read this post — suck it up and read on.

“JE Sux!” is the motto of Yale’s Jonathan Edwards College. The story can be found at the JE web site: Jonathan Edwards College, in particular Why JE Sux!.

Today’s game resulted in a tie between Yale and Princeton for the Ivy League Title, though I prefer to think of it as Yale victory, as the venerable Jonathan Edwards, one of Yale’s most notable graduates, went on to become the third President of what is now Princeton University in 1758.

Notable graduates of JE include Jennifer Shields (JE ’06), a star of the Yale Symphony Orchestra’s (YSO) Halloween Film in 2005; John Kerry, U.S. Senator from MA; Theo Epstein, General Manager of the Boston Red Sox the year they last won the World Series; and Murray Gell-Mann, Nobel prize-winning physicist. [1]

In case you wonder why I tagged this post as being about “open-source,” let me remind you that Jen Shields played a key role in the history of Jikes, notably in the creation of the Jikes Coupon; see the Jikes Archives for more details.

Back in the Jikes days I drove Jen to school almost every morning, and at one time boasted she was the world’s expert in open-source licensing in the 14-and-under age group. I happened to speak with her soon after Sun’s momentous announcement earlier this week and relayed the news:

Dad: Jen, did you hear the news? Sun has open-sourced Java. We used to talk about Sun, open-source and Java back in the Jikes days.

Jen: Really‽ About time. I’m in graduate school now. I was in junior high-school back then. [2]

(She pronounced “really” with the same intonation used to say “Duh!” from time-to-time in parent/child conversations.)

I’ve previously reported that Open-Source is Sexy! I suspect it is also Suxy and hope to address that topic in a future post: “Open-Source Sux!”


1. Steve O’Grady is both an ardent Red Sox fan and principal of the analyst firm redmonk.com. Rumor has it that “Red” stands for Redmond and “monk” for Armonk, though I prefer to think of “Red” as in “Red Sox.” To illustrate the difference between “Sux” and “Suck,” note that the Yankees Suck, but the Red Sox Sux. Perhaps Theo Epstein brought success to the Sox because of his Sux-ness.

2. “‽ ” is one form of writing the interrobang. My mother liked it so much she had a special rubber stamp made up.

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