O tempora, O mores!(1) Harvard has a winning basketball team, and the Ivy League school made it into the national top 25 this year for the first time in its history. But instead of embracing the Crimson, the Cambridge campus seems remarkably torn, with some students expressing no interest — or even a hint of disdain.
The ambivalence may reflect a desire to stand proudly apart from the sports mania that has warped many other campuses in partibus infidelium.(2) On the whole, that’s a good thing, and Harvard has its priorities straight. Academics ought to be more important than transitory success on the court. Sic transit gloria mundi,(3) or whatever.
But another way of looking at it is that Harvard is providing a public service by showing there is a better way to top-tier athletic accomplishment. The Crimson made it into the top 25 without handing out athletic scholarships, without sheltering any alleged child abusers, and while graduating virtually all of its athletes.
By today’s standards, those are records to be proud of, no matter how the rest of season unfolds. And, furthermore, Yale delenda est.(4)
For non-Latin-speaking fans, that’s roughly translated as (1 ) OMG, (2) outside Cambridge, (3) all glory is fleeting, (4) beat Yale.