Fight to Rush the Field
By Shaun Stewart, Staff Columnist
Published on Friday, October 19, 2007
Ah, Homecoming. A chance to come together as a school, get drunk and burn things. Seriously, though, Homecoming is probably my favorite big weekend, and for the freshman class, it is a right of passage into Dartmouth woman- and manhood.
First some practical advice: wear long pants and long sleeved shirts to the bonfire. It will probably be cold on your march to the Green, and it will be insanely hot while you're running around the fire. Both ways, you want as little skin exposed to the elements as possible. Also, when you are running around the fire, watch out for athletic teams, kayaks, and Pat Martha '05. Seriously. Look out for cops, too. I accidentally ran into one of them last year. It didn't end well.
I could fill up the whole page with advice about homecoming like which is the best party (Sig Nu 80s) or what a good non-Greek alternative activity is (there aren't any) but that's what every other article in this edition of The Dartmouth is for.
Instead, I am here to encourage you to break the law. I am not telling you to break the law in the total anarchy, roving-mob way, and honestly, normally I am all about the rule of law. However, there comes a time in every student's life where they need to practice a little civil disobedience.
Specifically, I am talking about rushing the field. If you are an astute reader of The Dartmouth, you may have caught the article "College seeks to curb field rushing" on October 8th and may be thinking "But Shaun, the athletic department is letting us rush the field." Yeah, they're letting you walk on to the field and be herded into a giant "11." Awesome. Anyone who actually does this should destroy any Dartmouth gear they have and stay in their rooms for the duration of Homecoming weekend.
Rather, true Dartmouth 'shmen should keep the old traditions from failing and rush the field in the good old hop-the-railing way. However, I am not telling you to do this just for the hell of it. Rather do it as a sign of protest against one of the most asinine rules at Dartmouth.
Freshmen rushing the field at halftime of the homecoming game is one of the oldest homecoming traditions at Dartmouth. It has always been a way for the youngest class on campus to show their dedication to their alma mater. In the old days, the whole class would take over the field after the marching band was done playing and then run off through the opposing bleachers.
The College officially made it against the rules to rush the field in the 1980s. Even more ridiculously, at some point they decided that not only should they make one of the most time-honored traditions at Dartmouth against the rules but that it should also be considered criminal trespass, so that not only would those students with the most school pride be in trouble with the College, but would also be arrested by Hanover Police and charged with a misdemeanor.
The reasoning given by the college was that they were afraid of Dartmouth students getting in fights with opposing students, and receiving delay of game penalties against Dartmouth. On the first point, when was the last time a student from another Ivy-League school cared enough to go to an away football game in New Hampshire â€“ especially from Colombia, the sissiest, Cosmo-sipping Ivy? Colombia will literally have no students in their stands, thus there is no likelihood of a fight. On the second point, just get off the field quickly. It is not rocket science (and keep in mind you're there to support the football team). In any case, the reasons for criminalizing a great tradition seem totally out of sync with the times.
Class of 2011, if you think running onto your field to celebrate your school should not be considered a crime, now is the time to act. Last year, 10 members of the class of 2010 rushed the field. Tomorrow, you have the chance to make a statement. Don't have 10 people rush. Have 100. Heck, have all 1000. Send the school a message they cannot ignore: that we, the students of Dartmouth, reject the idea that celebrating our school should be criminal. And maybe, just maybe, you won't be the worst class ever.