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January Cohort Discovers Lost Harvard Cup Tradition

In a stunning amateur archaeological find, the athletic representatives from January 2002 have discovered a long-lost Harvard tradition. Michael Holt, Jeff Albee, Zack Kramer, Henry Jones and Nick Shurgot unearthed a chest containing artifacts that detailed a 200 hundred-year-old competition. The contents of the chest included a gilded trophy, stacks of aged photos, and a diary containing a rich history of a sporting competition called the Harvard Cup.

Shortly after the Revolutionary War, several enterprising Harvard students created a two-year competition between groups of students. The idea behind the Harvard Cup was to have groups of students challenge each other in various sporting and intellectual pursuits. According to the diary, the first years of the Harvard Cup were dominated by competitions in boasting, smallpox avoidance, witch burning, hygiene, wooing of wenches, imbibing, and tomfoolery.

The diary contained several excellent passages that give the reader a first-hand account of 18th century hijinks…
And so, during the finals of the imbibing contest, as Joshua momentarily turned his attention away from the steins of beer on the table, I deftly replaced his glass of beer with a glass of mine own urine in full view of the gathered masses. When Joshua returned his attention to the table, he wath none the wiser. The competition commenced and Joshua, making haste, downethed the glass with nary a moment of hesitation. The crowd erupted in joyous laughter as the urine flooded past his taste buds and he spit the urine back up. He chased me round the table, screaming about the “moral bankruptcy” of the situation. Hilarity ensued.

The Harvard Cup ran virtually uninterrupted throughout the 19th century with the exception of minor pauses for the War of 1812 in 1812 and the Civil War in 1861. The sports comprising the Harvard Cup proved to be extremely flexible as popular culture in the 1800’s dictated moves to events such as billiards, homesteading, train robbing, and darts.

The Harvard Cup was gradually expanded to include the graduate schools. Unfortunately this fine tradition met with tragedy in 1930. After a heated Fiscal Policy vs. Monetary Policy Tug o’ War, the 1930 Harvard Cup title came down to a moonshine-drinking contest. In their desire to win the coveted Cup, the overzealous students drank themselves into severe comas. (On a historical note, the only student that never fully recovered from his coma was a visiting Yale law student. This student, Gerald Ford, later became the thirty-eighth president of the United States.) The administration learned of the tragedy and canceled all future Harvard Cups. So it was the paraphernalia was locked in a chest and buried on the opposite side of the Charles River.

With the discovery of this buried treasure, the January cohort has the honor of rescuing a tradition that many thought lost so many years ago. The Harvard Cup has been a great success so far. Sections H, I, J & K have competed fiercely in IM basketball, “Rock, Paper, Scissors”, and golf. Over the summer and throughout next year, the four January sections will compete in events such as tennis and squash, golf, chess, road races, pie eating, poker, volleyball, scavenger hunts, kickball, soccer, and softball.

If you would like to see any events added to this list, simply talk to your section’s athletic representative. The goal is to have everyone participate in at least one sport. If you want to learn how to play a sport that is in the Harvard Cup, just ask your athletic representative to outline the rules and show you the basic skills involved.

June 4, 2001
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