Go Maroons

The New York Times has a nice write-up about the football team of my alma mater, the University of Chicago, and what the sport means to a place where the students are proud of the reputation of the school being where “fun goes to die.” (The answer is: Not much, and fun doesn’t actually die there, it just becomes very very nerdy.) We’ve been Division III for decades but we were once national champions (106 years ago, mind you). But being Division III suits us better, I suspect. Anyway, a nice insight into my school for those of you who are curious.

25 Comments on “Go Maroons”

  1. When I was back in my college, football was dropped in favor of rugby and has never made a come back. (I have no idea what division we were in, it was the early 70s and most of us were proud not to know that fact) But hey, what can you do with a college mascot of a Coyote? “Man you should see us ravage a dumpster…”

  2. I’m sorry, John, but your neighbors are still gonna be talking about THE BIG GAME until you’re ready to scoop your own ears out with a Popsicle stick.

  3. I was just talking to my brother in-law who is a senior at the University of Chicago this morning about their football team. I asked if they even had one and he mentioned that they just lost a game to some place called Concordia and had a good running back who they go to all the time but apparently he gets tired from carrying the load so much.

  4. Having gone to Carnegie Mellon myself, I remember having a similar vibe there, although they did sink money into a nice stadium.

    I remember when I was a freshman, hearing that they were giving out free 3.5″ disks for students who showed up to watch a game… which probably underscores how old I am. :)

  5. I live within walking distance of a Nerdy Nine rival of UChicago–Washington University in Saint Louis, and my alma mater–Cornell College in Iowa–used to play against UChicago until they left to form their Nerdy Nine association. Had I attended Cornell a couple years earlier than 1989-93, I would have seen the Rams match up against the Maroons.

  6. at halftime, instead of a marching band, a giant kazoo was brought onto the field. Fans followed with smaller versions of the instrument, moving about haphazardly rather than in formation, an activity meant to celebrate the concept of Brownian motion, the random movement of particles.

    That is wonderful.

  7. “The old stadium, demolished to make room for a library that holds 4.5 million volumes”

    That one line is glorious. Glorious. All universities should emulate this example.

    But given my generalized loathing for organized sports, I may be a teensy bit biased on the subject.

  8. My own school, the University of California at Santa Barbara, used to play Division III football…but then the students voted down the football program.

    Here’s what happened: See, the Gauchos* basketball team was good enough to play Division I. The NCAA then changed their rules in 1992, saying that all the teams from one school had to compete in the same division. Not wanting to kneecap the hoopsters, the university was faced with having to spend the kind of money it would take to field a Division I football team. This would have required an increase in registration fees, which was put up to a vote of the student body. They voted down the fee increase. The university then disbanded the football program.

    Today, the old football stadium (Harder Stadium) is used by the soccer teams, who have been quite successful.

    * They’re Argentinean cowboys, OK? It’s not the weirdest mascot, even within the UC system…that would be the UC Santa Cruz “Banana Slugs.”

  9. “Hurl that spheroid down the field, and fight! Fight! Fight!”

    OK, wrong school, but the idea is somewhat similar. Though Chicago’s attitude towards their football is closer, IME as the child of two alums, to that of WPI than to Harvard. And personal attachment aside, any school that replaces a stadium with a library gets my vote.

  10. I have always been proud of my alma mater’s lack of a football program. We do have a basketball program that picks up the slack, this being North Carolina. Though that has been struggling since the loss of our old head coach.

  11. @7 Yeah? Well, when I went to Carnegie-Mellon we still had a hyphen!

    Anyway, the Tartans and Maroons play on Nov. 5th at Stagg Field. Anyone for a friendly wager?

  12. When I was at Chicago, we had a fairly good basketball team. The star player lived down the hall from me, and at graduation I found out that he was going on to be a Rhodes scholar. That about sums up how UChicago athletics ought to be…

  13. Chicago’s WFMT played Second City’s “Football returns to the University of Chicago” a week ago on their Saturday potpourri “Midnight Special.” From the playlist:
    The Second City: Football Returns to the University of Chicago The American Comedy Box Rhino R2 71617

  14. Elaine @1: “what can you do with a college mascot of a Coyote?”

    I’m thinking dynamite, anvils, enormous rubber bands… ;-)

  15. What a bunch of losers! Don’t these guys know why colleges exist in the first place? This is a drain on society as they are not producing the talent needed to restock the meat grinders of the NFL and NBA. This is a disgrace to higher education! I bet they even expect the players on this rinky-dink squad to attend class and do their own work. Even a brief scan of reports of the real producers of new talent indicate the minimum requirements of access to willing co-eds, hookers, blow and permission for a little light burglary and theft appears necessary to compete at a useful level. I sure hope no public money goes to this outfit!

  16. Go Maroons! I went to one game while at the U of C (or rather, at UChicago, as the school now prefers to be known). It was a fun break from studying, but mostly for the beer and hot wings we brought. As I recall, the class of ’91 also took the NCAA championship in fencing.

  17. When I saw your title I expected an article about Bugs Bunny’s football team. :) That “Brownian Motion” thing was worth the price of admission all by itself! :)

  18. Historical notes on University of Chicago football:

    Jay Berwanger, the first recipient of the Heisman trophy played for the University of Chicago.

    Enrico Fermi built the first working atomic reactor under the stands of Stagg field at University of Chicago.

  19. Hey, I attended U of C back in the days of the All-Kazoo Marching Band! I remember the Brownian motion half-time show, and the years they decided to invite all the small children in the stands out onto the field to spell the letter “O” for Chicago–because that was the only letter they could get everyone into, just by making people hold hands . . .made sense to me.

  20. Added to the article today:

    This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:

    Correction: September 20, 2011

    An article on Saturday about the University of Chicago football program, which was abandoned from 1939 to 1969 but is thriving again on its own measured terms, misspelled the surname of a star player. He is Dee Brizzolara, not Bizzolara.

    I think it speaks volumes that an article on the Maroons couldn’t be bothered to correctly spell the name of their star player. :)

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