On the Friday before the Lehigh-Lafayette football game, senior players, their families, and coaches had lunch with members of the “50 Game Club,” — individuals who have attended 50 or more Lehigh-Lafayette games.
The Beat Lafayette Luncheon was held on Nov. 19 in the Asa Packer dining room at the University Center.
“The Beat Lafayette Luncheon is one of many traditions surrounding the big Rivalry game each year,” said Tom Gilmore, Lehigh football head coach. “It gets people excited for the big game the next day while recognizing those who will be reaching milestones this year.”
He said all of the events surrounding the game make it a special weekend and distinguish the Le-Laf Rivalry from others.
This annual tradition has changed in the past two years due toCOVID-19, according to Eileen Biro, Lehigh football’s secretary. Biro has helped organize the luncheon for the past several years.
Biro said none members of the 50 Game Club were not at the luncheon this year because of COVID-19 restrictions.
“We are just scaling back this year because of COVID and next year hopefully we’ll have the large event once again,” she said.
Biro said the 50 Game Club members were given the option to have a designated section in the alumni tent outside Goodman Stadium at The Rivalry game. She said some members planned on attending while others decided to organize their own tailgate this year.
Biro has met many of the 50 Game Club members at previous luncheons.
“I know that the ‘50-gamers’ are very proud of their accomplishment,” she said. “They enjoy getting to go to the luncheon to get to know the seniors and they feel like they are a part of the team. It just makes everyone more excited for the game.”
Nate Norris, a fifth-year on the football team, attended the Beat Lafayette Luncheon. While his family did not attend the luncheon, they came for the game.
Norris said the Beat Lafayette Luncheon is a meaningful tradition for the football team and their families.
Norris said he has met members of the 50 Game Club before. He said the number of alumni who return for The Rivalry is a testament to the strength of the Lehigh community and demonstrates how much people want to get back to Lehigh to reconnect with past classmates and support current students.
“It is one of the last times all the seniors will get to be together and it’s a nice way to reflect on how close we have grown from when we all arrived on campus four years ago,” Norris said. “Looking back on my football career at Lehigh, The Rivalry game has meant a lot to me. It’s always exciting because of how much the game means to the school and all the energy on campus leading up to the game.”