The Big Green Weekend Primer

by Blaze Joel and Brett Drucker | 6/1/15 6:10pm

The sports season has ended for all but two Big Green athletes — shoutout to track and field’s Dana Giordano ’16 and Kaitlin Whitehorn ’16 for making it to the NCAA Outdoor Championship — and teams are beginning to look forward to next year when the ’15s will be gone and a new class of ’19s will help propel Dartmouth athletic programs in their quests for Ivy League or ECAC titles. As such, that puts our column in a little bit of a bind. But, as dedicated columnists, we decided to call an audible and change our tactics for our final column.

As former sports editors and beat writers for the football, women’s hockey, baseball and men’s lacrosse teams, Big Green sports have been a huge part of our lives at the College. Between the two of us, we’ve been to competitions for 27 of the 34 varsity teams over the past two years. We’ve gotten to know our fair share of athletes and have had our fair share of Dartmouth sports memories, both as writers and as fans.

Blaze: My favorite Dartmouth sports memory as a writer was my time covering the women’s hockey team from freshman to junior year. Being committed to a team for that long has allowed me to make some great friends and see a lot of good hockey in my four years here. In fact, I have only missed one home game. Freshman year, I even road-tripped down to Fenway Park to see the team play in Frozen Fenway against Providence College and got to go onto the field to cover the game.

From a fan perspective, the football game against Princeton University my junior year easily takes the cake as my favorite sports moment. The “Snow Bowl” took place during finals that year, and I trekked to Memorial Field with my backpack to take a break from my studying. The game had huge implications for the Ivy League title that year, as Dartmouth’s 28-24 victory denied the Tigers the chance at an outright Ivy title. The game was the most exciting I’ve attended on campus, and the fans that braved the weather all rushed the field afterward to make angels with the team before taking part in the presentation of the Governor’s Trophy to the Big Green.

Brett: As a writer, there are two moments that stick out. The first was sophomore year when I had the opportunity to interview Olympic Gold Medalist Hannah Kearney ’15, who was taking classes during a break from her skiing season. That interview stands out for letting me spend half an hour in Novack with such a decorated athlete and talk about topics as mundane as the balance between academics and sports as if she were just another student. My second moment comes from this fall when I covered the football team as it finished its strongest season since 1997. Having also covered the team in 2012, I loved being able to see the program’s progress and the inner workings of the team on the brink of breaking through to another championship. Being able to travel to Princeton for the final game of the season — which might have been during final exams review period, sorry Mom — was a great capstone on the campaign and the ’15s’ careers.

As a sports fan in general, there are few things better than a good hockey game, and my three opportunities to see the Big Green take on Princeton at home really stand out. To see the whole student body fill Thompson Arena and give the building a contagious energy is an experience I’ll always remember. To top it all off, Dartmouth is 3-0 in those games, which can give the sports fan eternal hope that they might, even in some small way, be able to impact the game.

If our last four years here have taught us anything, it’s that Dartmouth sports matter. We may not be a Division I powerhouse in every sport, but games are consistently competitive, entertaining and exemplify great levels of skill from all the student-athletes. So, the next time you’re sitting in your room on a Friday evening or Saturday afternoon, go to a game. We guarantee you won’t regret it.

And, because we can’t leave without one final prediction as we transition into full-time fandom, here it goes. The Dartmouth football team will run the table in the Ancient Eight and win its first Ivy League title since 1996. It has the talent and the team has shown that it has the capability to win in recent years. Next year is where it takes the next step and brings home the hardware.