Sunday, November 23

Brown Bears Tie Ivy

Sunday morning it snows; the kids listen to Harry Potter CDs in Eitan's room where their "buddies" cover the floor (Madeleine has 83 "buddies" and transports them from her bed on a sheet. Smart). It is a big weekend in sports as Brown ties Harvard for first place in the Ivy League football (photo of Brown vs Harvard in 1959 from the George Street Journal). The Brown Bears earned its place defeating Columbia 41-10 playing in sub-freezing temperatures on the frozen Brown Stadium before a capacity crowd of 7,865. Just the way it should be. This is Brown's third Ivy title in the last 10 years and fourth ever league championship. I remember trudging to the athletic complex for football or track meets - it was about a 35 minute walk from campus so not taken lightly; the walk passes through Providence's East Side, a lovely tree-lined area with the highest concentration of Victorian houses in America - I should now since I painted many of them. While thinking of Brown, when I was a student the schoolchanged the team mascot from the Bruins, which I thought was kinda tough and fighting to the Brown Bears - which is sorta girlie, if you ask me. Going back further, Brown's first mascot was a burro, introduced in 1902 in a game against Harvard. The burro mascot was not retained after it seemed frightened by the noise of the game, and due to the laughter it provoked. The University eventually settled on the bear after the head of a brown bear was placed at an archway above the student union in 1904. In 1905 The Bears introduced Helen, the university's first live bear mascot, at a game against Dartmouth. Bruno, Brown's current mascot, was introduced in 1921, originally also as a live bear. A number of bears represented Bruno over the years, later being represented by a person in costume by the late 60's, including my friend Sarah who served from 1887-89.

Brown BTW played its first football match against Amherst in 1879. Playing for Brown was John Heisman, who attended the college from 1887 to '89 before transferring to the University of Pennsylvania 1890-91. Heisman's statue of course is famously given the America's best college footballer.