Postcard: On the Faithful –
and their fish
— "Have you got any extra tickets?"
It's a question
that we've heard hundreds of times while heading toward various
sporting events. In most cases that question is an advertisement.
The speaker has tickets to sell.
But this was
no sales pitch. Rather, a man's prayer to the hockey gods for admission
to this holy service –
Harvard at Cornell.
He wanted to
be a part of the congregation called Lynah Faithful, a boisterous
mix of students and Finger Lakes residents who come together to
worship those white-helmeted warriors from Cornell.
Any given night
at Lynah brings out the best in the fans and the team. It's a place
that defines home-ice advantage, where Cornell has won roughly three
out of every four games played there dating back to the opening
of the building in 1957.
are the leaders of the cheers and chants, and when Harvard comes
calling they do so with a little extra oomph. Hockey is king at
Cornell, and as far as opponents go, Harvard is the kingfish. Pun
a senior at Cornell, said, "It's the one weekend of the year
where everyone knows what's going on."
surrounds campus throughout the week. The pages of the Cornell
Daily Sun are lined with articles related to the game. Cornell
sweatshirts are in vogue for the week and T-shirts proclaiming that
"Harvard Sucks" are a hot fashion item.
plan their vacations around this game. They won't go home for the
weekend," senior Lauren Petrick said. "If you have tickets,
you're definitely here."
Then there are the fish.
Lynah Faithful made like a fish-flinging Muppet Friday night.
As the Crimson
take the ice, tradition dictates that fans shower the ice surface
with fish they've smuggled into the old barn. Friday's performance
would have made Muppet character Lew Zealand proud, as dozens of
fish or assorted shapes and sizes were scattered about the rink.
While a dozen
student employees and a few rink staffers removed the fish from
the ice, the student sections ceased projecting pisces and began
to project their voices. They were undecided as to which would be
the more appropriate cheer, so "Let's Go Red" and "Harvard
Sucks" were equally recited.
standing throughout the game and vocal support continued, peaking
when Red sent Crimson to the boards and after each of the five goals.
didn't have to wait long for the first, as Mark McRae's point shot
lit the lamp just 1:24 into the contest. The Big Red Pep Band helped
everyone "give their regards to Davy" and the students
echoed public address announcer Arthur Mintz.
Greg Hornby, Shane Palahicky, and Cam Abbott also scored for Cornell.
Dave LeNeveu made 24 saves, including a spectacular glove save early
in the third that kept the lead at 5-2.
rewarded the efforts of the fans, and as the clock wound down, students
implored the locals seated across the building to rise. "Townies
Up" was the chant as the ensemble Lynah Faithful stood and
showed their appreciation for a job well done.
continued until the Cornell players gathered at center ice. They
raised their sticks amidst the din and you knew they sincerely admired