November 24, 2002
Postcard: On the Faithful
and their fish

ITHACA, N.Y. — "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.

The students 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 intended.

David Barker, a senior at Cornell, said, "It's the one weekend of the year where everyone knows what's going on."

Anticipation 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.

"People 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.

The 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.

Students remained standing throughout the game and vocal support continued, peaking when Red sent Crimson to the boards and after each of the five goals.

The Faithful 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.

Doug Murray, 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.

Cornell's performance 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.

The ovation continued until the Cornell players gathered at center ice. They raised their sticks amidst the din and you knew they sincerely admired the Faithful.

– Joe Gladziszewski

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