History Moment By William “Doc” Halliday

First American Intercollegiate Athletic Event

First AmericanWhen you think of intercollegiate athletic events, what comes to mind? Do you think of football? Do you think of Army vs. Navy on a cold afternoon? Or perhaps you are not military minded and prefer to cheer for either Alabama or Auburn. There is also the Michigan – Ohio State rivalry and many more. Football is not the only collegiate sport. My daughter-in-law is a diehard Tarheel fan in the Duke – University of North Carolina rivalry in basketball.


Don’t get lulled into thinking that these are the only intercollegiate sports. There is also baseball, volleyball, rugby, soccer and even wrestling. In 2010 Michigan State at Michigan set a new attendance record of 113,411. My stepson coaches lacrosse and told me that in 2007 there were over 52,000 in attendance at the NCAA men’s championship semifinals in that sport. Just about every sport is played at some college, and most are held in competition with a rival college.


Whether you want to participate in field hockey, fencing, golf or gymnastics, there is not only a college that offers that sport, but a competitor as well. We don’t have a record of the first two Neanderthals that ran from an aggressive tiger, but there has always been competition among Homo sapiens. In that first example the second place winner probably paid with his life. In today’s competitions the non-first place winners may be humiliated at worst. Even in rifle shooting the competitors use paper targets.


Harvard University is considered by many to be the first institute of higher learning in the United States. It was established in 1636 as the New College. It changed its name to Harvard when John Harvard left half of his estate and his 320 volume library to the school. Similarly, the Collegiate School was renamed Yale after a gift from Elihu Yale in 1718. That school had been established in 1701.


Yes, Yale and Harvard play “the Game” each year. The football teams of each school battle to obtain the most points on a football field, but that is not the contest I am referring to. Twenty-three years…

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