Spanish mackerel is the ideal throwing fish, according to a Wegmans employee.

Jose Covarrubias / Sun Staff Photographer

Spanish mackerel is the ideal throwing fish, according to a Wegmans employee.

January 23, 2019

KANTOR | Holy Mackerel

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What’s the best fish to throw on the ice at the Harvard game? It’s Spanish mackerel, of course.

First of all, if “fish” and “Harvard” in the same sentence means nothing to you, see here.

But for those of you who are familiar with the tradition but have never participated, here are some decisions the Lynah Faithful made before last Saturday’s game against the Crimson.

The first of those decisions was where to purchase the fish.

After some research and asking around, one is, unsurprisingly, directed to every Cornell student’s favorite vendor — Wegmans. But the best part is not that Wegmans sells fish; that would just make it another average supermarket.

What sets Wegmans apart is that the store prides itself on being the premier fish vendor for the Harvard game. The store is so proud that it even mentioned it in response to a fan on Twitter. And this isn’t an Ithaca Wegmans page, we’re talking @Wegmans — the national Twitter account.

This gives the fans a great excuse to get some food shopping done while also supporting their favorite hockey team. But upon entering Wegmans, another decision had to be made, perhaps the most important of them all — which type of fish to purchase.

But the fans didn’t actually make this decision on their own, and the following is generally how the transaction went down.

A group of college-aged students would walk up the fish counter, and the fishmonger, without skipping a beat, would say, “You’re going to want to get the Spanish mackerel, it’s definitely the best throwing fish.”

Talk about quality customer service. Wegmans knows exactly what their customers are looking for, and the best options, without the customer even uttering a word.

Students would inquire about other fish, but the fishmonger would insist on the Spanish mackerel, as it is the most dry to the touch, whereas other fish are far more slippery.

The fishmonger would also describe to fans the versatility of the mackerel, how it can be thrown either like a football from its body or like a frisbee from the tail.

But most importantly, this fish is no slouch. The Spanish mackerel at Wegmans tend to weigh around a pound — some well heavier. Needless to say, it’s the perfect hurling fish and ideal for the Harvard game.

But even once fans have acquired their fish, one more decision had to be made — how to get the fish into Lynah Rink. Fans technically are prohibited from bringing fish to the game (at least that’s what Cornell says), so they can’t just be in plain sight.

Nevertheless, fans have fun with the restrictions, cooking up fun ways to sneak fish into the rink. Some fans stick the fish up their sleeves, some tape it to their bodies and clothing and others will stuff their fishy friends down their trousers.

All of these methods are pretty much foolproof, since fans are only asked to simply unzip their jackets upon entering the rink. So to anyone planning on doing this next year: Just don’t stick the fish inside the front your jacket and you’ll be fine. In other words, getting fish into Lynah is even easier than getting an A at Harvard.

As the clock nears 7 p.m., the Lynah Faithful arrive at their seats, and it’s just like Christmas morning with everyone unwrapping their goodies — except the surprise is the foul stench of mackerel and other sea creatures. And as the smell builds, the fans begin to question their actions as they eagerly wait for their rivals to take the ice.

But the moment the Harvard team takes the ice, the building erupts and the barrage begins. And holy mackerel, when it rains fish at Lynah Rink, it pours.