The lawn outside the Cambridge Public Library transformed into a wintry warzone Sunday, as approximately 50 students from MIT and Harvard faced off at high noon for a snowball battle.
As advertised on Facebook, the event called “MIT vs. Harvard Snowball War” promised to be “an all out snowball war, MIT vs. Harvard.”
“I know you all spend about 93% of your time on a computer, there's no reason why we can't/shouldn't spread the word, go outside, and put some snow shrapnel in some harvard kids,'' the Facebook notice said.
Gabriel Villalobos, a first-year graduate student at Harvard, said the competition began Saturday night, when MIT students snuck onto Harvard’s campus, and decorated the John Harvard statue with MIT gear.
(Photo by Tyler Crain)
“There’s an ongoing rivalry,” he said. “It’s a healthy love-hate relationship.”
Villalobos, who is from Mexico, said this was his first snowball fight. “This is like the movies for me,” he said with a smile.
At first, it seemed as though the brawl might be a bust.
Erica Simmons, a graduate student at MIT, said that by noon, only 15 Harvard students and four MIT students had shown up. The event started with some trash talking, she said, mostly from Harvard students who were mocking MIT students for being anti-social.
But soon enough, the troops came.
The students positioned themselves on the main lawn, with Harvard on one side and MIT on the other. Both sides initially dug trenches, but the students quickly realized that the snow was too soft.
Simmons said an MIT student stood on the sidelines and mixed the snow with water to create more powerful weapons. Harvard students destroyed the trenches, and used large blocks of snow as their ammunition.
Some MIT students decided to play dead, though they were not able to stay still for long and ended up making snow angels. Harvard had a shield with a large “H” on it, which became a coveted item in the game: MIT stole the shield, but Harvard ultimately reclaimed it.
There was a lot of charging, secret attacks, and martyrs. The only break was halfway through the game, when four young men and women shed clothing and streaked across the lawn. No one seemed to know if they were from Harvard or MIT.
Simmons, 30, said that although her glasses were knocked off her face a few times, her enemies were kind enough to let her get them. Simmons could not decide whether she thought Harvard or MIT won, but she said she was pleased with how her team played.
“I think we definitely had an enthusiastic show,” Simmons said.
Josh Schecter, 27, from the Harvard Graduate School of Design, said he thought the MIT side was a little weak. MIT students vowed that for next year’s fight, they would play to their strengths and bring the technology -- namely a catapult and a potato gun.
Schecter also said that because MIT had so few representatives, one of his Harvard friends volunteered to play on their team. But Schecter and his friends did not give him a break.
“He was a traitor,” Schecter said. “And we destroyed him.”