It’s homecoming week at Simpson College. The red and gold banners are waving. The hunt for the medallion is on, and fans are gearing up for Saturday’s game. This year we’re taking on Central, our IIAC rivals.
Much has been made of this rivalry in the past. It has been considered a bad thing.
Some school officials think we need to improve our relationship with students at Central, but maybe there’s not anything wrong with that relationship.
Just because we consider someone a rival doesn’t mean we actually dislike them. When we ask a question like, “Why are Central girls uglier than Simpson girls,” do we really believe that’s the case? No, we are sure there are attractive students on both campuses. The question isn’t meant to be taken seriously, and neither are the answers.
We contend that having such a rivalry is actually a good thing. It helps to build a sense of community on both campuses. For students at Simpson, it gives us something to rally around. We’re all coming together to battle that one team we want to beat above all others.
Rivalries can help to build a connection between current students on campus, but also among alumni. The Central/Simpson duel is not new – it’s been around for years. Students and alumni from different decades can find common ground in these experiences.
Games against rivals seem to carry an extra importance. Fans are more engaged, and so are players.
ESPN even devotes an entire week of college basketball to rivals: Duke and UNC, Oklahoma and Texas.
Rivalries can improve the level of competition too.
The local Iowa/Iowa State battle is a perfect example. In 2002, the Hawkeyes only lost one game during the regular season, and it was to Iowa State. Was it because Iowa State was the best team they played that year? Not likely. There was more at stake than adding another tally in the win column.
Pride and bragging rights were on the line.
Students, particularly athletes, are constantly trying to improve school spirit at Simpson. Promoting support against Central can help.
Students understand that it’s all meant in good fun. Many of us have friends who attend school there. Maybe some of us even considered going there ourselves.
At the end of the day, a healthy rivalry can contribute a lot to our student body’s energy and participation in Homecoming activities. A lot of people have worked hard to put together all of the events occurring this week. We owe it to them to make the most of it. We owe it to our athletes who have been preparing all season for these showdowns. So go out and cheer on the Storm.
If a little “FTD” shout gets mixed in, it won’t be the end of the world.