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Sunday
Oct092011

The History of the Goat

Carleton and St. Olaf have played every year since 1919 (except during WWII and the 1991 snow storm). The Goatrophy; however, was introduced to the Rivalry in 1931. In his book, The Greatest Game, Coach Porter provided some background on the trophy:

“The Toggery, a Northfield clothing store situated next to the post office, had funded the design and manufacture of a wooden likeness of a goat to accompany the longtime basketball goat trophy. Unlike the basketball trophy, the football trophy was to be up for grabs each fall on the basis of one game. A sportswriter under the byline of Ernie in the October 20, 1931, Manitou Messenger, described the introduction of the football goat: ‘When the abbreviated Carl megaphone manipulator approached the Viking cheering section with what looked like a phonograph, fans wondered. A minute later they had been introduced to the Goatrophy, a goat as colorful as the classic game. Presumably, the newcomer was a relative of the home-loving creature across the river.’ At a student body meeting following the Carleton game, Professor Henry Thompson, religion, presented Goatrophy to the college. Captain Syl Saumer accepted. ‘It is brightly painted and set in a velvet-lined box,' the Mess said.”

Going into the 2011 matchup, the all-time series (which is detailed on the back of the Goatrophy) is 47-42-1 in favor of St. Olaf. Another tradition is for every senior to receive a smaller version of the Goatrophy if the Oles beat Carleton in their senior season.

The most prideful aspect of the St. Olaf/Carleton rivalry is “turning the eagle.” In the town square next to the Jesse James Museum there is an eagle perched on top of a statue. After each St. Olaf/Carleton game the winning team walks to the square and the seniors each turn the eagle until it is pointing to the respective campus. No one seems to know when or why this tradition started, but it means a lot to the players and those who live in Northfield. After "the turning" you often find "of age" Oles and their fans in local establishments enjoying a beverage -- the players still in shoulderpads.





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