As our train rolled over the zig-zag road out of Ithaca, we had a source of consolation in the fact that we had evaded the send-off which the Cornell men had planned in the expectation that we were to leave on the later train.
There were no outstretched hands at Princeton for our homecoming. But every man on that Princeton team was grimly determined to learn the lesson of the Cornell defeat, to correct faults and leave nothing undone that would insure victory for Princeton in the coming game with Yale.
MY LAST GAME
Every player knows the anxious anticipation and the nerve strain connected with the last game of the football season. In my last year there were many men on the team who were to say good-bye to their playing days. Every player who reads these lines will agree with me that it was his keenest ambition to make his last game his best game.
It was in the fall of 1899. There were many of us who had played on a victorious team the year before. Princeton had never beaten Yale two years in succession. This was our opportunity. Our slogan during the entire season had been, “On to New Haven.” The dominating idea in the mind of everyone was to add another victory over Yale to the one of the year before.
The Cornell game with its defeat was forgotten. We had learned our lesson. We had made a tremendous advance in two weeks. I recall so well the days before the Yale game, when we were leaving for New York en route to New Haven. We met at the Varsity field house. I will never forget how strange the boys looked in their derby hats and overcoats. It was a striking contrast to the regular everyday football costumes and campus clothes.
[Illustration: On to new haven
All Dressed Up and Ready to Go.]
There were hundreds of undergraduates at the station to cheer us off. As the train pulled out the familiar strains of “Old Nassau” floated after us and we realized that the next time we would see that loyal crowd would be in the cheering section on the Princeton side at New Haven.
We went directly to the Murray Hill Hotel, where Princeton had held its headquarters for years. After luncheon Walter Christie, the trainer, took us up to Central Park. We walked about for a time and finally reached the Obelisk.
Biffy Lee, the head coach, suggested that we run through our signals. All of us doffed our overcoats and hats and, there on the expansive lawn, flanked by Cleopatra’s Needle and the Metropolitan Art Museum, we ran through our signals.
We then resumed our walk and returned to the hotel for dinner. The evening was spent in the hotel parlors, where the team was entertained and had opportunity for relaxation from the mental strain that was necessarily a part of the situation. A general reception took place in the corridors, players of old days came around to see the team, to revive old memories, and cheer the men of the team on to victory.