From the Broadcast Booth: Opening Day

Sept. 21, 2007

by Ron Vaccaro '04

Preparing to call tomorrow's Yale-Cornell game has me excited for several reasons. First, it's probably as big a game as you can get in Week 2. To be sure, it is the opener of the Ivy League season, but I just get the feeling that this could be one of those classic early autumn days. Why?

Well, for one, Cornell is a good team. Yes, I know what I just wrote, but I don't care that the Big Red went 3-4 against the Ivies in 2006. Cornell beat Princeton - that's Ivy League co-champion Princeton - 14-7 last fall. In 2005, the Big Red knocked off a nationally ranked Harvard team, handily defeating the Crimson 27-13. So, while Cornell may not have been atop the standings at season's end in a while, the Big Red have demonstrated the ability to play any team tough, anywhere. Oh, they've also beat Penn each of the past two seasons. How many teams can say THAT? Add in the fact that Cornell opened the 2007 campaign with a 38-14 trouncing of Bucknell, and I think the stage is set for a great match-up tomorrow.

In addition to anticipating a strong game to call, I can't wait to set foot in the majestic Yale Bowl for the first time this season - a welcome sight for all, but particularly those of us who were in Georgetown last week. In seven days' time, we will have gone from a high school type stadium to one of the grandest in the country. Taking nothing away from the 2006 co-championship team, the restoration of Yale Bowl, to me, is the biggest and best thing to happen to Yale Football in recent years. The place really looks awesome. If you haven't been there, check it out this season. As an added bonus, tomorrow is Youth Day, always one of my favorite times of the year. The area children buzzing around the stands and the field at halftime add an extra vibrancy to an already special day. There's just nothing like Opening Day at Yale Bowl, anywhere. The sun glistening off of the miles of blue seats, contrasted with the bright, fresh, REAL green grass. Nothing phony or fake about the place. What you see is what you get, and you're getting a treasure.

While I am at it, I lay out this challenge right now. The Yale-Harvard game, when played in The Bowl, has drawn in excess of 50,000 people each year since 1999. This year an extensive dedication ceremony is planned and the weekend (The 124th renewal of the Game is Nov. 17) should be extra special. Attracting over 50,000 people is nothing to scoff at, but it leaves the place tantalizingly few seats short of a sellout. I challenge you -- alumni, friends, fans, parents, townies, etc -- to literally FILL THE BOWL. What better way to show appreciation to Yale, and specifically to my broadcast partner, Carm Cozza, who spearheaded the fundraising efforts -- for restoring the Yale Bowl to its original grandeur? Nothing would say thank you louder than 60,000+ fans on November 17. Let's all join in to make it happen.

I'll be writing each week before the game, so I hope you'll check back. And don't forget to bring your radio to The Bowl and tune in tomorrow. Our coverage on News/Talk 960 WELI-AM (online at 960WELI.com) begins one hour before the 12:30 kickoff. Go Bulldogs.

Ron Vaccaro '04 is the voice of Yale Football on News/Talk 960 WELI-AM.