I have lived in Philadelphia for my entire life. I have lived the ups and mostly downs of the Philadelphia sports teams. Loss after loss starts to really make even the best fans immune to defeat. After the Donovan McNabb era and always being so close, I was one of the many fans who didn’t really believe in the ’07 Phillies, so when they made it to the World Series in 2008, I was pretty prepared for another loss. But when they won… the city and I erupted! My mom and I went to Center City at 11:30 p.m. and I banged my pot through the sunroof as we drove through Philly.
So when I came to Tufts University, I wasn’t all that devastated to learn the football team hadn’t won a game in three years. After all, their mascot is an elephant… P.T. Barnum’s pachyderm-Jumbo! BUT, Tufts’ PR has not given up. This past weekend was Parents’ Weekend and the bleachers were packed, giveaways were rocking and everyone was pumped for Tufts’ most competitive game against rival Bowdoin.
It was a close one. With eight minutes left Bowdoin was driving, eating away the clock. They made it to Tufts’ 35 yard line, where after a sack, and an incomplete pass, they finally relinquished possession. The crowd got back into it.
Everyone inched up in their seats. And Tufts did not disappoint; a run up the gut, followed by a pass to the sideline, and the next thing you know they are on the 50 with two minutes remaining. On the next play the quarterback dropped back, got flushed out of the pocket, rolled to his right, evaded one tackler and lobs a pass down his sideline over a defender’s head into the outstretched arms of his teammate for a 21 yard completion — First Down Tufts! Everyone in the stands can feel that our painful losing streak will be broken. The next play presented a similar set up: roll out, pass and first down! They’re at the 15 with a minute left, down by three points. The quarterback drops back and nails a quick pass bringing Tufts to the 10 yard line with 45 seconds left on the ticking clock. Everyone is standing. The volume has exceeded heavy metal concert levels. Everyone braced for what came next: no huddle, quick snap, a fade route to the corner, the QB chucks it up, and a pass interference call ensues! The crowd goes nuts!!! The end of the streak is within reach. The ball is at the two yard line with 35 seconds remaining. The crowd is pumped, the players are euphoric, and Bowdoin knows they are participating in an historic moment.
The ball is snapped, the quarterback drops back, rolls to his left, throws across his body into the end zone — It’s caught! And the ball is brought back out of the end zone to the two yard line, following an incredible interception. And just like that, after an extraordinary amount of hope and excitement, the losing streak continues.
This is Tufts football. This is what I’m living with. So after the game, as I am heading out of the stadium, I am given a free “Fan the Fire” t-shirt, compliments of the Tufts Athletic Department. Even after the game, the Public Relations team at Tufts University hasn’t given up, so why should I? At least we have a priceless education to take pride in, which will help us win countless victories during our lives after college. So, I have that going for me, which is certainly something I appreciate.
Nick Cohen, Guest Blogger & Tufts Freshman