Rivalry games - it doesn't get any better

Being a sports fan should be all about having fun. You cheer for your team and ride an emotional roller coaster through their ups and downs, wins and losses. It is great. <br><br> Something almost as great is rooting against your team's archrival. This should be fun too and the crowd at Reser has had some fun with it this year.

The Jumbotron at Reser shows a commercial each week featuring Mike Riley and Mike Bulloti. Everyone cheers when Riley talks and boos when Bulloti talks, good stuff. I have no idea what either of them is saying because I am cheering or booing or laughing so loud that I have no chance to hear the Mikes talk.

Rivalry games turn the intense-O-meter up a notch. Games are crucial to fans regardless of the participants' records. Here are some quotes to enjoy. I've broken them down into two categories: Have Things in Perspective, Might Want to Take a Chill Pill.


Have Things in Perspective:

  • It is exciting to be involved in a rivalry. Anytime you are going to play somebody who is right down the road from you, it has some special meaning attached to it. We look forward to the ballgame every year and for me personally, I look more forward to it each year.
  • Her connection to the Beavers runs deep. While walking on campus, she saw a guy who she said was "really hot." She then noticed that he was wearing a Duck hat and said to her friend, "He's not hot anymore." "That's just how it goes," she said. "I'm never going to marry an Oregon fan, unless I can convert him. I'm all about missionary work."
  • "I don't understand much about American football because I'm from Brazil," he said. "But just by working in Corvallis, I learned how to hate the Ducks."
  • The rivalry is ... just fun, drama and entertaining to watch. My dad told me once, "The Beavers might break your heart. You shouldn't cheer for them." That may be true. But I'm still going to cheer for them just because how fun it is.
  • Throughout our nation's glorious history, we have developed the cheeseburger, jet ski, all-you-can-eat buffet, and most importantly ***-kickin, sports rivalries.
  • Trash-talkin', face-painting, sweatshirt-sporting, deep-seated rivalries-- college football just wouldn't be the same without 'em.
  • Rivalries are great. I buy toilet paper with our rival's image on it and I parody their fight song with deeply obscene lyrics. That is what a true rivalry is all about.
  • In the coming days, some of the nation's strangest tribal rites will undergo an annual renewal. These rites, often ingrained from birth, will engulf even the most levelheaded citizens in a tide of hatred toward a rival tribe. Family members will turn on each other, old friends will become sudden enemies and pretty acts of sabotage will infect workplaces everywhere.
  • Both schools have tremendous numbers of alumni within the state who get very excited about this game. The loser has to take a beating all year.

Might Want to Take a Chill Pill:
  • Rivalries ignite sport. They may involve hatred, but hatred is by no means essential. All that is required is marrow-deep intensity, a real desire not just to win a match but to beat this particular opponent above all others. It need not be a matter of bad blood, just red blood.
  • They say rivalries are not a matter of life and death. They're more important than that.
  • You either make history or are history.
  • It is the kind of rivalry where any fan wearing the visiting teams colors will most likely end up in the hospital.
  • The contest has one of the common ingredients found in great rivalries: Heaping helpings of hatred. Year-round, supporters on both sides -- and there is no in-between -- are consumed by this religious war, er, game.

In conclusion, if you can't get pumped up for this week's game, you might think about getting another hobby. So, make your annual Civil War bets, wear your team colors to work every day this week, tease your opponent's fans unceasingly, think about redecorating your co-worker's cubicle, and most of all, have fun with it!


P.S. Here is a good article about the Stanford-Cal game. This is hilarious.

Tree surgeons

When hordes of California fans swarm on him with the intention of tearing him apart, literally limb from limb, Matty Merrill will be ready. "Been training," he says. "Me and my men, and one woman, have been drinking raw eggs and vita-shakes."

Merrill has assumed the perilous role of Stanford's mascot, which involves building his own 9 1/2-foot costume replica of the Stanford pine tree and withstanding the pummeling that is sure to come from Golden Bears fans when the two teams meet.

"1991 was the worst," says Tudy Gooding, a Cal graduate who has been to every Stanford-Cal game since 1975. "There was nearly a riot. Some of the players got involved. When it was done, when security cleared everyone away, all that was left were the branches. And last year was an absolute mob."

In 1996, Stanford mascot Chris Kary was mauled at Cal's Memorial Stadium. Kary, in celebration of the Cardinal's 42-21 victory, dashed onto the field, thinking a throng of Stanford backers would be behind him. But security intercepted the throng and only 40 Cardinal fans hit the field.

On the Bears' side, security crews assumed that with the demoralizing loss, Cal fans would just go home. Instead, many lingered. When they saw the lumbering tree and the fans behind it, about 200 Bears supporters charged back at the Cardinal crowd, unimpeded by security guards. It wasn't much of a battle. The tree was lost. "It was a low point, sure," Merrill says.

But within two months, money for a new tree was raised on campus and an improved model was produced. "This one is lighter and stronger, maybe the best model we've ever had," Merrill says. "It has a large mechanical arm that comes out of the top and is capable of punching oncomers or spraying a can of mace. But I don't know if I'll get that past security."

But even without the mechanical arm, Merrill insists he is prepared to defend himself. "I'm up to 185 now, and that's with 4.5 percent body fat," he says. "Plus, I'll be surrounding myself with some of the largest men on campus and one woman wrestler. Proper protection will be there."

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