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The Princeton Hockey Game!
Once every year at around 7pm, though the weather may be inhospitable and midterms are looming, students stream across campus to Thompson Arena for the biggest sporting event of the winter term: the Dartmouth vs Princeton hockey game! This year of course was no different—even though we were in one of the coldest days on record in Hanover NH. The temperature was -40F, and yet somehow Thompson was full! It is these demonstrations of persistent school spirit that make me feel at home here. Considering our relatively small school in a relatively secluded area, it is very easy to feel as though you are in a huge population when you attend events because everyone invests themselves!
Unfortunately those Princeton guys beat us (you suck Princeton) 4-2, but they couldn't stop our barrage of tennis balls after our first goal! Yes, that's right, tennis balls! One of Dartmouth's many age-old traditions is that after the first Dartmouth goal at every Princeton game, everyone throws tennis balls on the ice. We always get a penalty for it, and I'm sure the league isn't overly pleased with the systematic disruption, but hey, tradition is tradition!
My favourite part of this tradition is that it is basically just an extremely out-of-proportion revenge prank against Princeton that has been going on for decades. So the story goes, it was when we played an away game at Princeton that a few of the students threw tennis balls onto the rink. Dartmouth, not being a school to take such tomfoolery lying down, reciprocated this at the next home game, only EVERYONE was throwing tennis balls. We've now been doing it for decades—a perfectly reasonable response!
But for me this presents just how loyal and loving Dartmouth students are to this small College on the Hill. Our sense of community isn't just strong on campus, but persists over generations of Dartmouth students—each class year carrying the torch from the last. In many ways you could say that our tennis ball tradition is a manifestation of this; it is the current generation both giving a nod to, and paying their respects to, those who came before.
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