Pat is a great Ivy booster. "I'll tell you one thing about the Ivy League," he says. "It's the most competitive league in the country. In the Big 10 or the Pacific Eight it always works out that during the year only one or two good competitive games are played...Michigan-Ohio State perhaps. The rest are walkovers for one team or another. But in the Ivy League you can be assured that each team will have four or five games on its schedule that will go down to the wire."
Shari Maslan remembers McInally, but not with much affection, since she is a Yale undergraduate. Her brown hair flies behind her as she scampers down the sideline behind the Yale bench, revving up for a cartwheel. Just over 5 feet tall, she is one of the Yale cheerleaders. She spends her summers teaching cheerleading under the auspices of the National Cheerleaders Association. She came to Yale from Southwest High School in Kansas City, Mo., where cheerleading is such an involved specialty that a single cheer might be accompanied by a tumbling act off a mini-trampoline, a "double-stunt"—in which one participant jumps onto another's shoulders—and finally a perfect human pyramid.
She arrived at New Haven full of expectation. "Well, it was really weird, especially after being involved with the National Cheerleaders Association," she says. "At Yale we don't even have matching uniforms, or pompons, or mini-trampolines. They gave us real old megaphones, all broken, and sweaters that had YALE on them, and a real tiny cannon, only about a foot long, to shoot off when Yale scored a touchdown. Why, at Southwest High we had a real huge cannon with spoked wheels that would look fine on a battlefield. I was the only one at Yale who had any experience."
That was not the only disillusionment. Facing the banks of alumni and students stretching up to the rim of the Yale Bowl on Saturday afternoons, she had the impression that she was trying to manipulate a vast class of truants.
"They don't do anything. They don't know when to cheer. They don't know what to cheer," she says brightly. "Of course, a lot of them are polluted and can't do anything. What a change! I had cheerleading friends who had gone to the University of Nebraska. There they practice two hours a day, all week long, and they look at videotapes to see if they can improve, and stuff. At Yale we practice at the game. There's not much to do. We have very few cheers. Let's see. 'Bulldog, bulldog, bow, wow, wow....'
"Then we have one that goes, 'Go, go, go.'
"And we have 'Eat 'em up, eat 'em up, rah, rah, rah...' and that's about it. We tried a pyramid during the Harvard-Yale game and it fell down. There were no casualties. You know what? They like it best when we try something and miss."
At first, all of this had a traumatic effect on Shari. She was close to tears; she wrote troubled letters home. And then slowly she began to appreciate what she was involved in. "I grew to love it—the humor and the attitude, which was real informal and easy, and the outlook, which was sassy and satiric, and sometimes real weird, too. One time we played one of the colleges up in New England—Cornell or Dartmouth—and it was too far for the band to go. So they sent just the bandleader and at halftime the public-address announcer came on: 'The Yale band presents The Face of God!' And just this one guy went out and stood there in the middle of the field with his face turned up to the sky."
The attitude at Yale seems to prevail throughout the Ivy League's cheerleading corps. "We're extremely informal," says Ken Rosenfield, the head cheerleader at Dartmouth. "We fool around a lot. When we try a pyramid, we put the girls on the bottom and collapse on them."
Nonetheless, Rosenfield thinks that the football spirit at Dartmouth is more intense and traditional than anywhere else in the league. "Why, I met this Harvard guy last fall and asked him if he'd been to the game that afternoon and he said, 'Not really.' Well, now what does that mean? At least at Dartmouth we know when we've been to a game. I'll bet 90% of Dartmouth men know the words of the alma mater. In the evening groups of guys go from one fraternity to another singing it. They sing it in Thayer Hall, where the entire student body eats, and one table will stand up and begin singing, and everyone stops eating. The whole place just vibrates with spirit."