Le-Laf traditions then and now: Alumni reflect on Rivalry week

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From left, Alan Bluestine, ’86, Sharon Nudelman Wolin, ’87, and Joel Stuttman, ’86, are all Lehigh alumni. Bluestine returns to Bethlehem every year to celebrate the Lehigh-Lafayette game. (Courtesy Alan Bluestine)

Editor’s note: The article was updated to accurately reflect the correct number of Rivalry games.

While some rivalry traditions have remained the same over the 154 games, many have evolved and developed with time.

Alumni certainly have different memories of Le-Laf than what students experience now.

One major difference in The Rivalry is the absence of Taylor Stadium, which was located where Rauch Business Center is today. Many alumni recall storming the goal posts in Taylor — and in Fisher Stadium at Lafayette College — after the game.

“The tradition that was most memorable was the tearing down of the goal posts at the end of the game,” said Alan Bluestine, ’86. “At some point after I graduated, this tradition was ended as it was a dangerous but beloved tradition.”

Jeff Konigsberg, ’83, left, and Leslie Konigsberg Levy, ’80, pose together at a Lehigh football game. Konigsberg and Levy both have fond memories of the Lehigh-Lafayette rivalry game from when they were students and as alumni. (Courtesy of Leslie Konigsberg Levy)

Kim Rosendorf, ’90, was at the last game in Taylor Stadium as a sophomore. She recalls being in the stands on the cold November afternoon in 1988. Even though the weather was not ideal, the stadium was packed at the final snap. She vividly remembers the crowd rushing the field to tear down the goal posts.

Like Bluestine and Rosendorf, Jeff Konigsberg, ’83, Jillian Winoker, ’88, ’21P, and Alyssa Yavner, ’92, also remember tearing the goal posts down as a major part of The Rivalry, both home and away.

Konigsberg said his favorite Le-Laf memory occurred the year after he graduated.  

“When the game ended, we prepared to rush the field and head to the goal posts,” Konigsberg said. “We watched these college kids killing each other trying to tear the goal posts down and we looked at each other, smiled and remained in our seats. We knew those days were over.”

Another tradition that has evolved slightly is “sunrise cocktails,” which is now called “MoCos” — short for morning cocktails. Winoker, Yavner, Rosendorf and Bluestine all said sunrise cocktails the Friday before the game was a major part of celebrating The Rivalry. When Julie Marks, ’13, was a student, the tradition was called MoCos, but it was still a big part of the celebration.

From Left, Daniela Sonderegger ’12, Liz Krumm ’13, and Julie Marks ’13 Lehigh Alumni celebrate The Rivalry throughout their years at Lehigh. (Courtesy of Julie Marks)

Despite other changes in tradition, Bed Races have been a longstanding event during Le-Laf week.

Leslie Konigsberg Levy, ’80, said she used to love watching the Bed Races with her friends. It was something they looked forward to each year.

Additionally, the Marching 97 band parading around campus and barging into classes, as they do today, is something many alumni remember. Yavner and Rosendorf recall the band once came into their economic lectures before The Rivalry game when they attended Lehigh.

Many alumni noted The Rivalry will always be a part of them.

Levy said one of her favorite parts of Le-Laf is boasting to Lafayette alumni when Lehigh wins. Konigsberg also said he has a long-standing tradition of calling a friend who went to Lafayette during The Rivalry.

Marks said she “will still yell at anyone (she sees) wearing a Lafayette shirt, even not on Le-Laf.”

Bluestine has returned to Bethlehem more than 25 times to celebrate Le-Laf. Since 2000, his fraternity brothers have used the weekend as an opportunity to host a reunion. They all gather at The Sands, have a tailgate and attend the Lehigh-Lafayette hockey game on Friday night.

Not all alumni are fortunate enough to be able to celebrate at Lehigh like Bluestine. For Rosendorf, Konsigsberg, Winoker, Yavner, Levy and Marks, Le-Laf will be on their mind this Saturday, but they will not be at the game. However, they all said they will periodically check the score in hopes of a Mountain Hawks victory.

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