This past week was huge for the rivalry between the University of Dubuque and Loras, as we went head to head in a variety of athletic events. Everyone knows that our rivalry with the school up the street is one of the biggest that we have. Even if you aren’t interested in sports, it’s still almost impossible not to feel that natural sense of competition flare up when the name “University of Dubuque” is mentioned. However, there are definitely times when this rivalry is taken two steps too far, on both sides of University.
Now, I won’t deny that friendly competition can be a good thing. It can fire up school spirit. More people will attend sporting events if the game is against an arch-rival than if it’s not. People will wear their school colors with pride, and really get into supporting their school’s team, in whatever type of game or competition or race it is. Increased support of school activities is never a bad thing, except when it becomes a malicious act against the rival school, in this case, the University of Dubuque.
Art Sunleaf, dean of students, sent out a great e-mail to students the week before our events versus UD, and made a lot of great points for students to follow for rivalry week. Some of these tips included: Duhawks cheer for Duhawks, Duhawks wear purple and gold proudly, Duhawks are good sports and ambassadors of the college when on other campuses, Duhawks strive to represent the very best spirit and tradition of Loras College. These words of advice all ring true. When we aren’t good sports in a rivalry, we are only making ourselves and our school look bad. Playing dirty doesn’t benefit anyone, but rather just hurts everyone. Luckily, I think that Loras usually does a pretty good job at representing ourselves well.
Of course, there will always be a few that can ruin the experience for all. Whether it’s on the Night Rider, walking into Hy-Vee or on one another’s campus, at some point you will probably come across some sort of altercation between UD and Loras students, whether it be physical or verbal.
It’s really sad to see this though, because really, swearing up and down at a rival school, with language that I could technically use in this article but won’t, isn’t showing loyalty towards your own team, but rather just making yourself look immature.
Friendly competition doesn’t have to be outright “friendly,” but it doesn’t have to be outright mean either. UD students and Loras students are both college students, trying to get through exams and papers and just trying to enjoy attending some sporting events. It can be tempting to dehumanize a rival team to a collective, but they’re people just like us, and they deserve just as much respect as the respect that we treat each other.
All in all though, I think both schools did a pretty good job during last week’s rivalry. We just have to remember that University of Dubuque is more than our rival school. They are fellow Dubuque college students, and believe it or not, it’s okay to be with friends with them. We can be friendly (or at least respectful) competitors with them. Being decent people comes before our desire to beat University of Dubuque. This extends beyond this specific rivalry as well.
Whether it be competition in the workplace or other areas of our lives, it’s okay to get into it, but there has to be a line. Use it as motivation to work harder and support your team or cause, but don’t take it so far that you lose sight of what it means to be a mature, upstanding person.