A week of spirited events promises to rev the campus up for the 145th installment of college football’s most-played rivalry between the Lehigh Mountain Hawks and Lafayette Leopards on Saturday, Nov. 21, in Goodman Stadium.
The annual Spirit Week features bed races, a race around campus and the Lehigh-Lafayette bonfire, as well as a concert by popular mash-up maestro Girl Talk.
Not that Lehigh needs a reason to get fired up to face Lafayette on the gridiron. The 144 games so far played by the two schools represent the highest total in all of college football and exceed by 13 the next most-frequently played rivalry between Princeton and Yale.
In the 2006 book Big Games: College Football’s Greatest Rivalries, Kim McQuilken ‘74, a star Lehigh quarterback in the early 1970s, said this about the Lehigh-Lafayette football rivalry: “I played professionally for 10 years [in the NFL and the now-defunct USFL], but no other game I played in made my blood boil hotter than Lehigh-Lafayette.”
Here’s a list of some of this year’s key Spirit Week events:
Lehigh wrestling vs. Pittsburgh—Sunday, Nov. 15
No. 17 Lehigh, led by head coach Pat Santoro, a former two-time national champion at Pitt, looks to tame the Panthers. Pick up your free ticket in advance for the best seat, or come on match day and show your ID for upper level and balcony sections. The match will start at 1 p.m. in the Leeman-Turner Arena at Grace Hall
The Class of 2011 All House Decorating Contest—Monday, Nov. 16
The Class of 2011 is encouraging all residence halls, fraternities, and sororities to decorate their houses beginning on Monday, Nov. 16, in the spirit of the rivalry.
Lehigh Warm-ups—Monday and Tuesday, Nov. 16-17
Free hot cocoa and warm cider will be served from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on the front lawn of the UC.
Tattoo Tuesday and Thursday—Nov. 17, 19
Stop by the Lower UC or Rathbone from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and get a temporary tattoo or two. Members of the Hawk’s Nest will be there to inscribe you.
Spirit My Ride—Wednesday and Thursday, Nov. 18-19
From 2 to 5 p.m. on Wednesday and 2 to 4 p.m. on Thursday, the Lehigh University cheerleaders will paint your car windows for free on Library Drive. Once you’re in the spirit, you can drive up to Stabler Arena to watch the defending Patriot League women’s basketball team play its 2009-10 home opener against Fairleigh Dickinson at 5 p.m. and stay for the men’s basketball team’s home opener against Quinnipiac at 7:30 p.m.
Bed Races—Wednesday, Nov. 18
Starting at 5 p.m., students will race beds down Library Drive, in teams of five in a drag-race format. Teams will contain four pushers and one rider, and will decorate their bed before their matchup. More than 30 teams are expected to participate.
55th annual Turkey Trot—Thursday, Nov. 19
One of the oldest traditions of Spirit Week, the Trot starts at Packer Memorial Church and winds through campus to the top of the hill and back. Prizes are awarded to the first 300 runners to cross the finish line. Registration takes place through Nov. 18 in the intramural office in Room 128 of Lower Grace Hall. The race begins at 4:20 p.m. Turkeys (runners) should report to the flagpole in front of the UC.
Lehigh-Lafayette Bonfire—Thursday, Nov. 19
For years, the bonfire was the capstone event leading up to the ever-important football game vs. Lafayette. Built to a height in proportion to the number of students in the freshman class, the fire was guarded day and night for a week from upper-classmen who tried to ignite the opposing school’s bonfire early.
The week-long vigil no longer exists, but the Lehigh-Lafayette bonfire still embodies the same excitement and emotion. This event, which is presented by the ASA, Class Officers and Spirit Committee, will have all the ingredients of a pep rally—the football players and coaches, the Lehigh dance team, cheerleaders and marching band—plus a performance by Girl Talk.
The event will begin at 7:30 p.m. on the Goodman Athletic Campus. Buses will pick up those needing rides at 7 p.m. on Taylor Street.
Campus Brown Out!—Friday, Nov. 20
Dress in brown the day before the big game. If you’re spotted, you might receive free candy.
Marching 97 “Eco Flame” —Friday, Nov. 20
One of the highlights of Spirit Week each year comes when the Marching 97 weave their way through campus buildings, dining halls, and classrooms serenading people with all the traditional Lehigh fight songs. You can request that the band members visit your class on Friday by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lehigh football game vs. Lafayette—Saturday, Nov. 21
This is the big enchilada, the event that all other Spirit Week activities build up to: the 145th meeting of college football’s most oft-played rivalry. The game has been sold out for weeks and alumni clubs around the country will gather in their home states
to cheer for the Mountain Hawks. Kickoff is at 12:30 p.m. in Goodman Stadium.
Postscript—Saturday, Nov. 21
The women's volleyball team will travel to West Point to play Army at 4 p.m. in the opener of the Patriot League Championship series.
Photos by Douglas Benedict