the day the BC football team lost a game but avoided a disaster

On November 28, 1942, #1 ranked and undefeated, Boston College squared off against unranked Holy Cross at Fenway Park in one of the more memorable football games in the history of the rivalry. If BC won the game, they would go to their Bowl game and an eventual national championship. There was such excitement that BC reserved a local nightclub in order to celebrate the victory and the season. Though everyone expected BC to win, the day was still billed as “anything can happen” day.

In one of the more shocking upsets in the history of #1 teams, BC lost the game 55-12. Holy Cross dominated the game from the opening kickoff. Holy Cross beat BC in every aspect of the game – running, passing, and blocking. Some still call it the biggest upset in the history of college football.    

BC was crushed, demoralized, and embarrassed. Their chances of a national championship were finished. The loss was so crushing the players declined their reservations at the local nightclub, the Cocoanut Grove.  

Good thing they cancelled.

That night the Cocoanut Grove caught fire, killing 492 and injuring more than 1,000. It remains one of the worst fires in the history of the United States. Most died because they tried to escape the way they came in – a single revolving door at the front entrance. Once the door was jammed with people, their fates were sealed. Some side doors and emergency exits had been bolted shut so people could not slip out without paying their bill.

But the BC football team missed it all.

Not all of our losses are as bad as we think. And sometimes they are what is best.


Leave a Reply