Upping the Ante for Yale Football

Personal History

The New Yorker, September 8, 2014

Phi Beta Football, by John McPhee

This is a great article by Mr. McPhee, whose father played football at Oberlin, was the Princeton Football team doctor, and whose next door neighbor was Tad Wieman, the Princeton coach.

“…Weiman won four straight games against Yale in those years (mid-20th century).  Before one Yale game, he collected his team and unfurled before them a banner large enough to cover ten guys at once, or so it seemed to me.  The banner was black with orange block letters a foot and a half high that said ‘PRINCETON.’  Speaking quietly, Wieman told his cloistered team that the banner before them represented what they were about to do, and nothing they had ever done was more important.I had never witnessed such a solemn scene.  Wieman, of course, was not alone in this genre of forensic doaching.  And, a decade later, Herman Hickman of Yale, was said to up the ante, telling his players that representing Yale on the football field would forever be the pinnacle of their lives.”

This is interesting because Mr. McPhee used a gambling metaphor, up the ante, in a sports article.  In my site, http://www.sportsidioms.com, I separated the sports idioms/metaphors from the gambling ones.  If you go to the above site and type in most U.S. sports idioms or game idioms, you can find the idiom in the derviative form and the idiomatic form as well as sentences and explanations.

Up the ante is used in poker.  Basically, it’s raising your bet.

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