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The Dartmouth
April 19, 2024 | Latest Issue
The Dartmouth

Inside the Hash Marks: Victory!

Dartmouth long snapper Josh Greene ’23 reflects on football’s first Ivy League win of the season.

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Dartmouth long snapper Josh Greene ’23 will be sharing his experience playing for the Big Green, covering topics such as the team’s preparation following COVID-19, the academic-sport-life balance required of an athlete at an Ivy League school and other musings on his experience in Hanover. This installment reflects on The Big Green taking home its first Ivy League win of the season against Columbia University

What a difference two weeks can make. Prior to writing my last article, I was struggling with what to discuss. It’s good practice in life to look for the silver linings in things. Writing about Steve was extremely emotional for me — and although it would have been nice to write about a big win, that topic was appropriate, especially with how the week’s game went.

This week, I find myself with too much to write about, and that is certainly a good thing. I’ll start with this: winning is hard. In this league, you can never take your foot off of the pedal and assume that you can cruise to a victory. When Columbia University got the ball back with a few minutes remaining in our game this weekend, and we were ahead 24-17, I looked over to Dino Cauteruccio Jr. — our incredible director of football operations — and said “winning is hard.” Dino, a man of few words, responded with a resounding “yep.”

Even when Columbia scored to tie the game at 24, and even when they were lining up for their game-winning field goal attempt, I knew that they were facing the same pressures that we face. Winning is hard because executing is hard, not making mistakes is hard and — without having experiences in these types of games — finishing the job is hard. Over the last several seasons, we have had many close games that have ended in heart-breaking fashion for either us or the other team. We have been there before almost in this exact same way.

Remember the Yale game last year? Homecoming. Close game late. We need a clutch field goal to give us a chance to win. How about at Harvard? Harvard missed their game winning field goal, we made ours. On these occasions, it was kicker Connor Davis ’22 coming up clutch. When I wrote about these moments, I talked about how proud I was to be a part of the specialist  “brotherhood” with Connor because I understood what he had to go through off the field, and that makes what happens on it that much more memorable. This time around, in an almost identical situation to what happened last year against Harvard, another member of the specialists brotherhood stepped up.

Let me take you back about three months. Ryan Bloch ’23, who has been a great friend and teammate throughout my time at Dartmouth, was enjoying the “retired” life. A two-time Ivy League champion, Ryan decided to call it quits and experience college without the intense schedule of being a football player. None of us — his teammates and friends — faulted him for this. Ryan decided to stop playing for himself, and we had no choice but to be happy for him and respect his decision. However, once a great teammate and friend, always one. When unexpected injuries came up in our kicking room, we convinced Ryan to come back for one last ride. After not kicking since the end of our 2021 season, Ryan was thrust back into the line of duty — off the couch and in one of the most important moments of our season.

Back to the game: the only way that I can describe Ryan’s performance on Saturday is “gritty.” He wasn’t thrilled with his kick-offs (even though they were very effective) and he missed a field goal in the fourth quarter. But, for someone who hadn’t been in a high pressure situation like this in a long time, he was unfazed. Just as Connor did last year, Ryan had a coolness about him preparing for his potential game-winner as Nick Howard ’23 helped to will our offense down into field goal range. 

As we trotted out onto the field for the game-winning attempt, a sense of confidence fell over me. Even as Columbia’s coach tried to “ice” Ryan, calling a timeout to disrupt his timing (twice), we had no doubt that this kick was going through the uprights. Unlike last year when I wrote about Connor’s kick against Yale hanging in the air for what seemed like forever, this one went by like a bullet train. But the same pride or euphoria or something else completely that I remember feeling for Connor swept over me. Ryan’s journey was different from Connor’s but the twists and turns of the last several months led to him becoming my teammate once again, and becoming a hero soon thereafter. Way to be, #30.