Don Mahler: In Search Of a Few Good Fans

Let this serve as the clarion call to all Dartmouth College football fans.

Plain and simple, your team needs you. Listen carefully Saturday morning, and you’ll hear Reveille coming up from the Connecticut River, echoing across the Hanover green and crashing against the home stands of Memorial Field.

The call will tell you it’s time to get your green on cause Dartmouth’s in town again — and the Yalies will be coming across the line of scrimmage.

Yes, it’s Homecoming in Big Green country. And the guys in those legendary striped helmets need you — need your noise, need your energy ... need your support.

This could be the game of the season.

After last Saturday’s heartbreaking loss at Penn — by the length of a big palm blocking the game-winning field goal attempt — the Big Green must regroup for Saturday’s visit of the explosive and unbeaten Eli.

They can’t afford to have a quiet crowd, a late-arriving crowd or an early-leaving crowd. This time, you fans need to be serious. This is a football game, so get with the program. Act like a football crowd.

For alums, students and neighbors, it’s really not too much to ask.

Especially if the college helps out. Like not scheduling a conflicting event the way the Programming Board did on Sept. 28 — the home opener against Holy Cross — when it presented music duo Timeflies and DJ and producer Kap Slap on Gold Coast Lawn at the first-ever Fall Fling.

So what happened? At halftime, virtually the entire student body in attendance up and left to catch the 9 p.m. show.

Thanks a lot. What an incredibly poor scheduling decision. Didn’t anybody check to see how long a football game lasts? Especially one that is being televised?

Isn’t there any communication between departments? Heck, the football schedule is out years in advance. Didn’t anyone involved with programming think to check?

Meanwhile, the football team was in an exciting back-and-forth battle with the Crusaders that ended with Dartmouth on the short side of the score — when Holy Cross nailed a field goal in the game’s final seconds.

There were nearly 10,000 fans packed into the place when the game started — hollering, cheering, razzing — all those things you do at a football game — to help support the team.

But by the start of the fourth quarter, there were — maybe — half of that left. The support deflated like a punctured balloon.

The student section just about emptied out. The stream of older alums leaving the stadium made me think there was a 2-for-1 special being offered at the Golden Corral.

Hey, it’s not like the team is hard to watch. The offense scores nearly every time it touches the ball. All three games have gone down to the final seconds, and Dartmouth could easily be undefeated.

The backfield is liquid lightning, with quarterback Dalyn Williams leaving defenses tackling air and halfback Dominick Pierre already in third place on the all-time rushing list — and probably will land in second by the time he’s done. While the defense is still trying to find its game legs, it is a physical bunch that gives the fans plenty to cheer about.

The last two seasons, Dartmouth has finished with a 4-3 Ivy League mark — good for third last year and second place in 2011. This is a team knocking on the door to the title room. You could be the sledgehammer in their hands to finally break that door down.

All you gotta do is show up. And act like you’re a football crowd. The guys on the field deserve that much.

Don Mahler can be reached at or 603-727-3225.