I took some time off this weekend to be a supportive Alumni. Michigan State was playing Ohio State at home but I took the train down to Philly to go to the see the Penn vs Cornell game.
I don’t get down to Philly the amount of times that I would like to and I take the train when I need my cheese steak fix. New York City is known for so many cuisines but no one I can find can make a cheese steak like Carmine’s in the Reading Market.
I lucked out too. The day of the game it was a beautiful warm afternoon and the last time I went to Philly for the Penn vs Cornell game it was cloudy and cold being the end of November. This year we are having a surprisingly warm Fall. The game was a complete bust as Penn walked all over us.
What really annoyed the Cornell Alumni was that they closed off the other half of the stadium for “construction purposes”, a fancy way of saying that they did not want to clean up the whole stadium after the game was over with so we had to sit with the Penn Alumni who we outnumbered like we did the Yale Alumni in their own stadium a few months earlier. It did not make much of a difference as our team has had a terrible season coupled with the only win over Columbia and that was with a field goal.
Penn was no better. Most of our Alumni went to the far reaches of the stadium as the blood-bath started and by the second half, we started to turn things around but it was too little too late. We caught up somewhat in the second half but still lost the game 34-21. So much for another Cornell season.
Before the game made up for it. It was nice to walk around Philly in the nice weather. We had an Alumni tailgate a few blocks from the stadium and we have a really good band. Like Michigan State (one of my four Alma Maters) , even when the season is at its worst, Cornell Alumni are really supportive, so it was nice to listen to the music before the game. They started to march down to the stadium while I was touring around the Penn campus.
University of Pennsylvania
Before the game, I got to walk around the Penn Campus which is really nice for a city campus. You would never know you were in a section of downtown Philly. The stadium itself is really nice. One of the more traditional stadiums in the Ivy League which is sadly never filled with Penn students and alumni. For a team that just shared the Ivy League title they are constantly being outnumbered by supportive Cornell Alumni who out cheer them every season. You should have seen the game two years ago, a nail biter that went down to the last play in which we upset them by one point.
Although not the game of the century, for us at Cornell it was the big game. We filled a big portion of our side of the stadium while the home team seemed to drift in when they wanted to that afternoon. Their Alumni seem to have gotten a little more supportive in the last two years.
The best part of the afternoon was not the game itself or the cheering fans, it was the food vendor located outside the stadium in on non-descript truck. These Greek gentleman (as they proudly told me when I asked if they were Italian) made one of the best sandwiches I have ever eaten for only $4.00, compared to the highway robbery of $9.00 in the stadium.
The Chicken Philly Cheese steak and their homemade Meatball subs on a fresh chewy hoagie roll when heaven on earth. Maybe it was the quality of the meat, the freshness of the bread or just the way it all came together with their friendly personalities but that experience really made the game. The truck is located outside the stadium and I don’t know if it is there all the time but if you are in Philly, flock to this truck which is one block from the Penn Museum. The meatballs are so full of flavor and the sauce so rich the sandwich itself is a reason to go to Philly.
Even though we got our butts kicked that afternoon and it ended our season on a low note, it was still fun to walk around and experience Philly on a brisk Fall day. Very different from New York but unique in its own way.
At least on the way back on the Acela, my best friend, Kris and I exchanged phone calls on the Michigan State-Ohio State game. That nail-biter ended as I exited the train in Penn Station, New York City. That game we won 17-14 on a last minute field goal.
Go Spartans and Go Big Red!