Storm faces Dutch at home Saturday

Storm faces Dutch at home Saturday

by Kelli Herzberg

The annual Simpson versus Central game is, historically, the big rivalry – the game everyone looks forward to.

This year is no different. Students and faculty alike are preparing for the game this Saturday at 1 p.m. in Buxton Stadium.

T-shirts have been handed out, the Storm Chasers are working to build support, and the Simpson community is gearing up for the big day. Sophomores Jordan Baird and Jay Keller are two students who are excited for the upcoming game.

“It’s a tradition,” Baird said. “The rivalry between the two colleges has made this an important game for quite some time.”

Head Athletic Trainer Neil Nelson said the rivalry between the neighboring colleges began long before he was a Simpson student. In fact, 2005 marks the 82nd game between Simpson and Central.

“It’s been such a huge rivalry … ever since I’ve been around,” Nelson said. “It’s not just football either, it’s for any sport or contest.”

When Nelson was a student here, the annual football game between the rivals was the biggest sports event of the year.

“It was huge,” Nelson said. “No matter what, everybody went. It was the biggest event, sports-wise.”

The tradition continues today for current students, but they aren’t the only ones who value the tradition.

The players feel the pressure of the rivalry too. Much like any rivalry, a lot of emotion is put into the game.

Baird, a Simpson football player, recognizes this.

“You try to prepare for each week the same but there is the rivalry so you have a different kind of emotion running through you,” Baird said. “Even though I’m injured, I can still feel it.”

Nelson agrees.

“There is more emotion put into this game just because of the rivalry,” Nelson said. “The players get more into it.”

The support for Simpson’s football team may increase this year because the Simpson-Central game is being televised for the first time on Mediacom.

“It gives Simpson a lot of exposure,” Keller said. “Putting such a big rivalry out there may cause people to notice Simpson’s athletic program more.”

Nelson added that this is great for Division III athletics in general.

“It’s pretty cool,” Nelson said. “It publicizes Division III sports and brings more attention to that. I hope it continues in the future.”

Baird hopes having the game on TV will build support for Simpson’s team.

“Because the game is being televised, it could bring more support to Simpson athletics,” Baird said. “The community can finally see how important it is to the campus.”

A rivalry such as this one creates a sense of involvement and unity around the campus.

“Forming an alliance against a neighboring team gives the campus a chance to come together,” Baird said. “It also gives everybody a chance, and a reason, to come support Simpson football.”