Friday, July 3, 2009

Note to Tom Savage : 21st-century Freshmen have it way too easy at Rutgers

Like Billy Pilgrim in Slaughterhouse-Five, I feel like I've become unstuck in time. While every other college football blog in the universe is writing about the potential high-school recruits who may or may not be contributing to their teams in two to five years, I find myself looking back to the mid-19th century, or the early 20th. Maybe I just feel that all Rutgers fans should be aware of their very long and very rich history; maybe I feel that there will be enough material about the present and future to write about once the games actually begin on Labor Day; maybe it's just that summer can be a time for nostalgia (especially on a day like today, when I'm off from work for the Fourth and it's pouring rain outside for what seems like the 40th consecutive day).

Yesterday while searching for old pictures of the Stadium, I ran into this great storehouse of scanned Rutgersiana, including the picture of the freshmen and the pages reproduced and retyped here. Click on any of these images to enlarge, but be sure to visit the original source at, if only to find a postcard of your old dorm or frat house, or the 1885 lyrics to On the Banks of the Old Raritan.
Freshman Regulations [with annotations for the uninitiated added by], from the Rutgers College Handbook Volume XXVI, 1919-1920 for incoming members of the class of 1923
1. No Freshman shall wear the Scarlet until the right is earned on a varsity team. [this seems at variance with the current universal admonition to Wear Red to the Game]
2. Keep out of gin mills and pool parlors. [proving once again that rules are, and always have been, meant to be broken]
3. Don't smoke on the campus. Smoke only corncob pipes. [but only smoke them off campus? I'm confused already.]
4. Don't be outside the campus unaccompanied by an upper classman after 8 p. m. [during which the upper classman can smoke anything he wants, but you can only smoke your tobacco, or whatever, out of the corncob conveyance prescribed in rule #3]
5. Freshmen shall wear the regulation cap or toque. [no change here; though I'm not sure how you can wear the regulation Block R cap and not wear Scarlet (cf. rule #1 above)]
6. Wear no white ducks or flannels until after Exhibition Drill. [this rule should be no problem at all for Tom Savage's incoming class of 2013]
7. Enter and leave the Chapel only by the right hand door, and the dining room only by the left hand door. [feel free to write this on the back of your hand before entering either.]
8. Wear no numerals or letters from other institutions. [this applies even if your high-school girlfriend told you that the the baby blue of your UNC Tarheel gear brought out the color of your eyes!]
9. Don't chip. [wtf? Can any members of the class of 1923 clarify what this means? We don't want any members of the class of '13 breaking rules that they don't understand.]
10. Keep off the north side of Neilson Campus. [of course! Anyone who knows what's good for them has always known this!]
11. Wear only a green necktie. [preferably as a headband, but we're still not sure how Rule #11 coordinates or clashes with the 21st-century Wear Red to the Game rule.]
12. Failure to know the songs and yells before the first football game will be detrimental to your health. [emphasis added! This is truer now than ever, or should be.]
13. Freshman must carry matches. [see rule #3. While you can't smoke on campus as a Freshman, all Sophomores and upper classmen are smoking like chimneys and constantly running out of matches, which you are required to supply on demand. Reminds me that when I was 15, I had a friend whose mother made him carry cigarettes and matches when we went into Philadelphia, " case a bum asked for one," but that's off the topic of these rules, which are finishing with the most important one: a rule to last us past our college years and for the rest of our lives ...]
14. Be courteous to the faculty and have a cheery "Hello" for every fellow you meet. [Amen.]
Have fun on the banks Class of 2013! Go Knights!


pj said...

nice job coming up with those rules !

Stan Gable said...

Chipping is like Night know...putting at is what did in Mitch Cumstein.....