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Memories of “The Rivalry”

Lehigh Football Team, 1904

On Nov. 20, Lehigh and Lafayette will meet for the 140th time in college football’s most played rivalry. Lehigh has won eight of the last nine meetings between the teams, including a 30-10 triumph at Goodman Stadium in 2003.

This year’s game is at Lafayette, and a new generation of students will create their own memories around this storied rivalry. In the October edition of the Lehigh Alumni Connection, we asked readers to share with us their fondest memories of the big game. Here they are.

Kristin Kohler, ‘89

The Lehigh-Lafayette game I remember most vividly is the last game in Taylor Stadium. I don't mean to be depressing, but that one sticks with me the most. It was also the coldest game I ever remember attending. The band waited in the Physics building until it was time to go on for the pre-game show, but it was no use. The instruments froze by the time we hit the field. Most of the drum heads cracked and all the valved instruments were frozen.

We marched but could not play the frozen, cracked instruments. After halftime, it was completely useless to try to play, AND being the last game in Taylor Stadium, we figured anything, including band uniforms, might be fair game for souvenir hunters (it had happened before).

So, we changed into regular clothes and froze with everyone else until the end. It was incredibly cold, but I seem to remember that few people left before the end. It was the end of an era. And at the end, not only the "fake" wooden goal posts came down, but seat-backs, bleachers, the LEHIGH letters on the pressbox ... EVERYTHING that could be taken was.

I know it was off to "bigger and better" things, but for those of us who knew Taylor Stadium and football games right on the main campus, it was a sad day. Especially seeing the stadium being torn apart on a gray, bitterly cold day.

Robert F. Good Jr., ‘73

It was Freshman year—fall 1969—and we of the mighty Marching 97 prepared to march on field for the half-time show. This was my first Lehigh-Lafayette game and the upperclassmen had told us all kinds of stories and legends of the rivalry. But nothing prepared me for the reality.

As I looked across the field to the Lafayette side, the members of the Lafayette band were using their suspenders as catapults to launch eggs at us!!!! The melee that ensued at the end of the game to tear down the wooden goalposts in Taylor Stadium seemed only par for the course by that point. Things were much tamer last year ('03). I sat in the Lafayette side on the 50-yard line with a good friend from Lafayette. It took some courage to stand up and cheer all alone on every Lehigh touchdown! But the Leopards around me were quite good sports.

Jack Jeffrey Laverty, ‘64

I don't think you want to read about my freshman memories of the infamous Lehigh-Lafayette game of 1959. Needless to say, the “activities” surrounding that game made the front page of the New York Times sports section. Also, the entire campus was placed on Social Probation for one semester because of those “activities.”

Larry Reisman, ‘82

I have many fond memories, including:

• Watching future NFLers Kim McQuilken, John Hill and Jack Rizzo blow out the 'Pards in 1971, I think, (my first LU game as an 11-year-old).

• Winning a drawing for an autographed LU football as a freshman in 1978.

• Being part of a Phi Sig group that collected large segments of wooden goal posts in the late '70s and early '80s (I imagine the statute of limitations is over).

• Meeting some fascinating alumni and enjoying some great parties, including our traditional Hawaiian-themed one with a double-entendre name after the games.

• Doing a story on the rivalry for Service Electric Channel 2 News in 1984 (?) and having it picked up and run by a then-fledgling ESPN. It was my first and last time on national prime time as a broadcast journalist.

• Ongoing: Every-other-year "reunions" with classmates and fraternity brothers when the game is played in Bethlehem.

Posted on Monday, November 08, 2004

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