WTF Fun Fact 12763 – The Harvard – Yale Prank

Every year, Ivy League universities Harvard University and Yale University meet up in a college football matchup that only alumni could possibly care about. (Yale has been bad for over a century, while Harvard has had a few eye-raising moments in the last few decades, but not enough to be a contender in the wider world of college football.)

The game is all about the rivalry, so pranks are fairly common. But a November 20, 2004 prank was at least good enough to make the evening sports news and go down as an embarrassment for Harvard.

Who carried out the Harvard – Yale prank?

Two Yale students from the class of ’05 named Michael Kai and David Aulicino gathered about 20 classmates to carry out the prank. The students dressed as members of the Harvard pep squad and handed out placards to the middle sideline section of Harvard fans. The idea was that when everyone held up the placards at the same time, it would spell out “Go Harvard.” At least that’s what the fans were told.

Impressively, they managed to hand out 1800 squares of paper, so it would have been hard for anyone to know what it was about to say (people only had small parts of letters).

Trolling their own team

Of course, now we know those placards didn’t spell out “Go Harvard.”

Instead, they spelled out “We Suck.”

The section was mostly full of alumni (which somehow makes it even funnier). The student section was off to the side, so the Harvard students couldn’t quite see it – and they later denied it even happened (despite the photo).

But Yale fans and players could see it, and so could that Harvard football team.

Prankster Dylan Davey didn’t feel bad about hoodwinking the alumni. According to the Yale Daily News (cited below):

“It was almost sad,” said Davey. “There were all these grandfather and grandmother types — and they all had big smiles, saying, ‘Oh you’re so cute, I’m so glad you’re doing this.’ I felt bad for about two minutes. Then I got over it.”

 WTF fun facts

Source: “Elis outsmart Harvard with prank at Game” — Yale Daily News

WTF Fun Fact 12657 – Daniel Gossett’s Hair Story

On August 1, 2018, pitcher Daniel Gossett of the Oakland A’s shaved his head following Tommy John surgery. The recovery after this kind of surgery is very lengthy, and Gossett knew his arm would be immobile for a while.

“I was in an arm brace for however many weeks,” Gossett told MassLive. “I was like, ‘Man, I can’t do anything with this hair.’ So I cut it all off.”

However, as baseball players (especially pitchers) are known for their rituals and superstitions, Gossett has decided not to cut it again. At least not for a while.

He was released by the A’s in 2020, but seeing his promise, another team snatched him up. In 2021, he was signed by the Boston Red Sox and played in their minor league system. Pitchers have to work their way back up to the major league teams.

It was at that time that Gossett made the decision not to cut his hair until he was back on a major league team – no matter how long it took.

And it’s taking a while!

The Red Sox released him as well (at the end of 2021). But he didn’t spend long as a free agent. In 2022, the Minnesota Twins signed him to their minor league team.

Now, we’ll have to wait and see how long it takes for him to work his way up, but his hair is still growing – many inches down his back, in fact.

Luckily, it’s healthy, beautiful blond hair and he’s promised to donate it when the time comes.

 – WTF Fun Facts

Source: “Meet Daniel Gossett: Boston Red Sox depth starter lives in RV, won’t cut long hair until he returns to big leagues or he can donate it” — MassLive

WTF Fun Fact 12650 – The Largest Stadium Ever Built

Today, the world’s largest stadium/arena is Narendra Modi Stadium, which holds 132,000 spectators. But that’s a far cry from the largest one ever built. For that, you have to go back to ancient Rome’s Circus Maximus.

The Circus Maximus was a chariot racing stadium and the largest stadium in the entire Roman Empire. To this day, no one has ever built a bigger enclosed stadium.

Built in the 7th or 6th century BCE, it was also used for festivals and other competitions. It was big enough to hold wild animal hunts that people could watch from their seats.

The Circus Maximus was 621 meters long and 118 meters wide. Historians estimate that it could hold an amazing 250,000 people at once (some say it may have been closer to 300,000). Even more could watch from the surrounding hillsides. There is seating for around 150,000.

While you may be more familiar with the Roman Colosseum, by comparison, that stadium only ever held 50,000 spectators.

In any case, it’s hard to imagine a city accommodating that many visitors all at once!

As Christianity took over Rome, the stadium was used less. By the 6th century AD, it was no longer in use. The space it sat on is now a public park and little of the ruins remain because of a combination of theft of the building materials and degradation from flooding and the passage of time. However, concerts have been held on the site, including shows by Genesis and The Rolling Stones. – WTF fun facts

Source: “Circus Maximus – History and facts of the largest circus in Rome” —

WTF Fun Fact 12603 – The Rigors of Sumo Wrestling

Sumo is an ancient Japanese sport born out of centuries-old temple rituals in the Shinto religion. It is also Japan’s national sport (although many successful wrestlers have come from Mongolia more recently).

Sumo training takes place in Japan only, and those accepted into training are assigned to one house, or “stables,” where they spend their entire careers (you cannot transfer to another). The “stable masters” are former wrestlers who oversee their training – and just about every other aspect of their lives. For example, no women are allowed in the stables, so marriage is atypical, and those who have not reached level 2 in the skill rankings are barred from having girlfriends. Sumo wrestlers are also not allowed to drive a car – although many people point out that their weight often makes it physically impossible for them to reach the wheel anyway because of the size of their stomachs.

But life as a sumo wrestler is not all eating and pushing each other around. Sadly, it’s a scandal-ridden sport where beatings are common to toughen up young men so that they feel less and less pain over time.

Life is incredibly strict, and many rules are dictated by tradition, such as how to dress, wear their hair, and address people in public. Because of their polite and soft-spoken nature, many citizens often bow to sumo wrestlers on the street as a sign of respect for their discipline.

Some have called sumo wrestling a dying art in Japan, and many of us know that when this kind of thing happens, the organizations overseeing a tradition try to hold on tighter to their old ways rather than adapt. More recent stories on the sumo world point out its secretive nature, part of which seems designed to cover up the violence that goes on inside.

Mark Buckton, a sumo expert and former commentator and columnist for Japan Times, told the BBC about a typical day:

“They do eat a lot. But what they do, which is crucial to them is, as soon as they’ve eaten, they go to sleep. They don’t eat anything for breakfast – they do all the training in the morning. They eat their lunch – they would have what you would have, maybe a bit more. But they would just eat it with large volumes of rice. Crucially they will then go to bed. They won’t wake up till mid-afternoon. Then they’ll eat again in the evening – they’ll eat a lot. And then they’ll go to bed quite early, because they’ll be up at 5, 6 o’clock in the morning training.”

While there are roughly 650 fighters, only about 60 are in the tier that gets paid. Everyone else trains and fights without financial compensation.

Things are more lucrative and lenient for the top-level wrestlers – they can marry and live outside the stable. But if they are injured and begin to lose and drop down to a lower tier, they must leave their wives and children and return to the stable!

Buckton also described the brutal conditions for fighters who do not meet the stable master’s standards:

“Oh, they are horrible. Before the boy was killed in 2007, there were regular beatings. You’d see guys with welts on their backs and on the backs of their legs, for not trying hard enough.”

Even champions recall the “kawaigari” or “doting” they experienced – violent beatings that can last as long as 45 minutes. According to Buckton:

“There is remarkable consistency in how the training, and the punishments, have been applied across the different stables and over the decades. This also means that when Harumafuji-style incidents happen, you don’t talk about them for the sake of preserving the group.”

It’s worth remembering when Westerners laugh off sumo wrestling. And it sounds like it’s time for things to change. – WTF fun facts

Source: “Inside the scandal-hit world of Japan’s sumo wrestlers” — BBC News

WTF Fun Fact 12599 – Philadelphia’s “Eagles Jail”

Philadelphia fans have a reputation for being…well, let’s say rowdy. For example, they’re the fans who booed Santa Claus and pelted him with snowballs. In fact, in 1986, the Eagles stadium stopped selling beer at halftime in the hopes of improving fan behavior. But it clearly didn’t do the job because, in 1997, the Eagles installed a courtroom and jail at Veterans Stadium.

During a Monday Night Football game that year, the Eagles played the 49ers in a matchup that somehow sparked around 60 fistfights in the stands, along with some yahoo setting off a flare gun. Enough was enough. Families claimed to be afraid to take their children to games. So, the next time fans returned to the stadium, Eagles Court was in order.

On opening day, 20 fans were brought in front of Justice Seamus P. McCaffery.

But here’s another fun fact: It turns out Philly fans weren’t really the problem.

McCaffery said :

Eagles Court was a lot of fun and it served a purpose. One of the interesting facts that came out of Eagles Court was that 95 percent of the people arrested were not from Philadelphia. But Philadelphia was getting broad-brushed as the city with horrible, horrible fans.”

So, apparently, Philly isn’t necessarily home to rowdy fans, but it encouraged rowdiness in people somehow.

For the most part, the court existed to bounce and/or fine people who got out of hand. Anyone who had committed a legit crime was handed over to the local police.

Eagles security and Philadelphia police had cited or arrested fans in the past, but most of them never showed up to their court dates weeks or months later, and their crimes weren’t serious enough for the police to track them down again. Eagles court made sure they were fined on the spot (or assigned community service).

But one of the problems with Eagles court is that it virtually forced people to plead guilty on the spot to avoid being arrested for real. It’s unlikely that everyone was sober enough to understand what was happening.

Some media outlets report that the court was only housed in the stadium in 1997 and was transferred out and into an actual court by 1998, while others say it was in the stadium for its whole (short) life, from 1997 to 2003. When the Vet was replaced by Lincoln Financial Field, there was also a 4-cell jail inside, but that only lasted two years. – WTF fun facts

Source: “The Eagles’ history features a stadium jail, bounties and vomit, but lacks titles” — CBS Sports

WTF Fun Fact – Kurt Warner The Grocery Store Clerk

WTF Fun Fact - Kurt Warner The Grocery Store Clerk

In 1994, Kurt Warner was cut from the NFL and got a job at a grocery store in Iowa. Four years later, Warner would lead the St. Louis Rams to their only Super Bowl win, setting several league records, and winning both the NFL regular season MVP and Super Bowl MVP. – WTF Fun Facts

Source: Kurt Warner’s Grocery-Store Checker to NFL MVP Story a Tale of Perseverance | Bleacher Report | Latest News, Videos and Highlights