EA moves cross country, golf, limiting fan support

Aditya Sardesai ’20 – Index Staff

Dr. Nagl belted out a deep groan of – as he put it – “dismay and enormous sadness” when asked about the change to this year’s EA Day schedule. This groan echoes along the halls of Wilson Hall, as students too are disappointed in the change to this year’s EA Day schedule. This year both the golf and cross-country teams will compete concurrently on the Saturday morning of EA Day.

     Last year cross country and golf competed on the Friday before EA Day, allowing for more students to witness their classmates triumph on the track and the golf course. This successful change last year was a result of two external factors. First, Haverford did not have access to the cross-country course due to an NCAA event at Haverford College. Secondly, Gulph Mills Golf Club – logically and reasonably – decided it would rather have Saturday for paying customers than a Friday afternoon because there is not as much demand for a round of golf.

EA cross-country race, Friday, November 9, 2019. – Courtesy of Marketing and Communications

     These fortunate conflicts led to what  Dr. Nagl called “one of the best moments of my tenure as Headmaster. When A..J walked into the lunchroom on Friday afternoon, and everybody stood up and chanted ‘A.J. Sanford!’” 

     Having cross country on Friday, although not initially the school’s intent, was a good decision.  An event typically attended by parents and Dr. Nagl on Saturday morning became a school-wide spectacle. Cross country became exciting. All three hundred third, fourth, and fifth formers huddled on the bleachers, belting songs and cheering on the runners. Once it became clear that the Fords took this first conquest by a single point, students rushed the field to surround the team in support, admiration, and glee in the greatest start to EA Day in recent history.

 “We were not consulted on that [the EA Day schedule]. It is their home day, and so they get to make that decision.” 

Athletic Director Mr. Mike Murphy

     So, why the change? 

     “We were not consulted on that [the EA Day schedule],” said Athletic Director and football coach Mr. Michael Murphy. “It is their home day, and so they get to make that decision.” 

     “They told us how it was going to be. Similar to how we told them last year [about the change in schedule],” Dr. Nagl said.

      The change Dr. Nagl hypothesizes likely came from them, “wanting to have a day to focus on the boys and a day to focus on the girls.” Coach Murphy echoed this hypothesis saying, “The girls have their AIS/EA day on Friday and they want to keep their days separate.”

     Although cross country typically races Saturday morning, it is unusual to have golf compete concurrently. Dr. Nagl said, “Recently golf has been on Friday.” 

     This adds to a stream of curiosities surrounding golf on EA Day. During the 2017 EA day, a decision was made to include the JV golfers into the competition, costing Haverford a win. Typically, golf, like soccer, football, and water polo, is restricted to varsity athletes only. A Haverford golf win would have resulted in an overall tie and the retention of the sweater.

     The change, in the eyes of many, does not come from a wish to separate the days, but rather from EA not wanting lots of Haverford support during golf. “The vast majority of spectators [are] parents and Haverford students,” said Sixth Former Charlie Baker. This was the result of seniors having the privilege to watch their fellow classmates compete on Friday. The large amount of spectators was a, “privilege for golfers, because on no other day are there fans out [on the course] watching you,” Baker said. “In my opinion, EA changed [golf] to Saturday as an attempt to decrease Haverford student attendees.”

     Perhaps, the sudden change to the schedule is EA’s attempt at neutralizing Haverford’s greatest asset on EA Day: the student fan section. Dr. Nagl said that this “may be true.”

     Whether or not this was EA’s primary intent, the end result is the same, fewer Haverford students watching their brethren triumph on the golf course and on the cross country course.

     EA also wants to keep Haverford/EA and AIS/EA day separate. They do not wish to face the Fords on Friday — but face us they shall. If EA wants a day to focus on their girls, we too can take that day to focus on our friends at AIS. Fords’ fans must make its voice heard on Friday supporting our sisters on the cross country course, tennis court, soccer field, and field hockey field. 

We must arrive in droves on Saturday morning to Aronimink Golf Club and on EA’s campus to support our cross country and golf brothers.

     Perhaps, more importantly, students cannot allow the change of schedule to hinder to force of the student fan section on Saturday morning. We must arrive in droves on Saturday morning to Aronimink Golf Club and on EA’s campus to support our cross country and golf brothers. The goal should be to recreate the scene during last year’s cross country race this year on EA’s campus.

     Attendance at these events cannot waver as a result of the schedule changes because as our illustrious President Vince Scauzzo so eloquently declares, “EA. Must. Be. Defeated.”