Tag Archives: college football rivalries

A Time and a Place: The Rules of Rivalries

Let’s get a few things straight before I delve into my rant here. It will be well organized, but a rant it will be nonetheless.

1). As you know, I love the witty banter and relational benefits of well developed trash talking.

2) Even more, I love collegiate rivalries. It is where words become actions and battle schemes become war. But even war has rules of engagement.

There is a time and a place for everything. And one Alabama fan did not understand this.

Admittedly, the lack of judgment from this particular southern fanatic surprised me. Residents of the Bible Belt should be the first know the Ecclesiates  3:1 reference of “There is a time for everything and a season for every activity under heaven.” The only thing that rivals football in the south is God. In fact, I might fit in rather nicely there if I didn’t enjoy wearing flip flops in December so much. But I digress…

Let me tell you about one 62-year-old Harvey Updyke, Jr. Supposedly he has a daughter named Crimson and a son named Bear. He also poisoned the two famed 130-year-old oak trees at Auburn University’s Toomer’s Corner. Clearly this guy is a few parts short of the whole erector set.

Because had he known his Bible or his college football better he would have known that this was neither the time nor the place.

Every university has something called “Rivalry Week.” At my alma mater we call it “Troy Week.” It’s a celebration of all that is right with the nation of Troy juxtaposed to all that is..well..not. For one week all Hell breaks loose. It’s everything one school has to win the city that has everything. Dyed fountains and painted statues are a must. Flee flickers are prayed for. Then, just like that, the Easts and the Westwoods, the Reds and the Blues go back to angrily eying each other from across the freeway system. Because we know if its not the last week in football season, it’s not that week.

Certain targets are also better than others. Inanimate objects are optimum. Do just enough damage to shame the opposing school’s student body, but not enough to give your enemy enough claim for a lawsuit. Go far enough that its annoying as heck to try to clean up, but not far enough that you’ve permanently taken away a premium target for your institution’s future mischievous endeavors. You have to keep in mind posterity. Don’t kill the live mascot. Don’t dismantle the statue.

And don’t poison a living object older than your great-grandmother.

Sport is the Great Common Denominator. It’s serious enough to turn relatives into enemies and friends into family. It can unite a country. It can almost start a war. But it’s not so serious that at the end of the day, we all can’t remember it’s still just a game.

Sport is the Golden Opportunity. It’s serious enough to teach our children right from wrong, honor from shame. But…

That Updyke fellow took it too seriously. He told future generations of Bama fans that there is no line too thick to be crossed, no rule of decency too binding to be broken. Forget a time, forget a place. Live for yourself and no one else.

So do me a favor. Someone find Crimson and Bear. Show them this post. Teach them what their father failed to do. Because I really do not want to be forced to write another post about an SEC institution.


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