Two weeks ago, we were sledding down Mt. Whitman on dining hall trays, and in two weeks we’ll be basking in the warm glow of Spring Break. For some of us, that means flying to exotic locales where we can sip (?) margaritas. Or, just lying spread-eagled on the couch until everything you crammed in for midterms evaporates.
But the much-loved week of break was, according to Christian Chensvold of Ivy-Style.com, conceived in 1935. The year saw the first “Rugby Week,” during which rugby team members from Princeton, Yale, and Harvard flew down to Bermuda’s sandy shores at the behest of the Bermuda Athletic Association (who knew?).
A 1948 Life magazine article called Rugby Week “one continuous party for 500 U.S. collegians,” probably a testament to the amount of actual rugby-playing that got done. But hey, the 1948 equivalent of MTV’s “Spring Break 2010” had to be a little wild, right?
Before long, college kids all over joined in on the fun, and Rugby Week became College Week (fewer broken noses, probably). And the rest, of course, is history. (See the rest of the story at Ralph Lauren’s Rugby blog).
So next time your friends from home start talking about Spring Break, mention (casually, though, so you don’t come off as “that Princeton kid”) it was actually a tradition begun, in part, by Princeton students.
Then, if you’re feeling really brave, feel free to discreetly flex your biceps and drop the word “rugby” (preferably in conjunction with the word “dangerous”).
And who says Princeton is all brains and no brawn?