(MAPLE II) Throw out the record books!

Despite what I said in MAPLE I, how this post would be a chronology of my chronicles, yesterday led to a more interesting topic of discussion.  I figure that if something interesting comes up between blogging periods, that will trump a stockpiled idea.  Just as in SPG (improv), spontaneity might be the name of the game here!

Where are record books thrown out? Rivalries in competition.  These can be either natural, developed, or forced, and can also be friendly or heated.  Obviously, I prefer natural or developed rivalries that are friendly.   The difference between heated and friendly rivalries is the difference between them being based on mutual respect or mutual “hatred.”  This is yet another reason that I prefer high-school and college sports to pro sports–it seems most rivalries are friendly.  Thus, I will stick to friendly rivalries in this account.

First, let me give MY definition of a rivalry.  It is a contest against a certain team or opponent that is heavily anticipated by one or both sides, and happens on a regular or semi-regular basis.  They can be in-conference or out of conference.   In the case of college sports, the rivalry need not extend across all sports mutual to both schools.  For example, I would say that Nebraska/Iowa State in volleyball is a friendly rivalry, but that Nebraska/Iowa State in softball was not particularly a rivalry.

I define a natural rivalry in sports as having a natural factor to make it an anticipated game, and most frequently this seems to be based on geography.  This is seen in college sports with series like Illinois/Northwestern, Texas/Texas A&M, Iowa/Iowa State, and Nebraska/Iowa, although the latter could also be somewhat seen as a forced rivalry on one or both sides.   Or, the natural rivalry that I played in yesterday–Runge-Kutters versus Alpha Epsilon Pi.  Of course, it might be a rivalry only to me, since a lot of AEPi members also are regulars (or at least semi-regulars) at Hillel.

I first noticed how rivalry games can be based off mutual respect when I was a senior in high school and went to the Southeast/East swimming meet at Lincoln East High School.  The schools are natural rivals, as they are in the same city, and also have similar student profiles… and are the schools that are the closest in age.  East ran away with both sections of the meet, but everyone was supportive of their own team and there wasn’t much jeering.  Of course, that could be partially because it was in high school and because fans don’t get as riled up at swimming meets as at basketball or football.

A developed rivalry is a game or series that doesn’t start as a rivalry, but eventually develops into one, either by the result of repeated scheduling, exciting games, or other factors.  I would potentially say that Northwestern has developed a rivalry with Nebraska in sports, perhaps one of the reasons being the whole fuss over the “NU” moniker.  For me, it is clearly developed since I have loyalty to both schools.  (Obviously, that seems to be a very rare trait of a graduate student!)  The all-sports series this year between Nebraska and Northwestern has also been quite even:   Northwestern actually won the all-sports series by a composite of 8 to 7 (football, volleyball, men’s and 1 women’s tennis , 2 baseball, men’s and women’s basketball for Northwestern; women’s soccer, 3 softball, 1 women’s tennis, 1 women’s basketball, 1 baseball for Nebraska).

Another example, outside of sports, has appeared in the times that I have played in Pokemon TCG tournaments.  When I was in Lincoln, I played in Kansas City, and developed some friendly rivalries by frequently being matched up against certain opponents.  The rivalry against Cora, for example, was one-sided.  In 2008-9, I faced her in three consecutive tournaments, and lost 3 down-to-the-wire matches.  Of course, having moved to Chicago, I haven’t faced her in a tournament since.

Some rivalries can be one-sided, but regardless of the rivalry, it seems to be one where the record books are thrown out.  It’s the mental identification of the game as a rivalry which seems to physically change how the game goes, and makes it very exciting.  Upsets frequently happen by a motivated rival who is seen as the “inferior” team, but it’s wonderful when the rivalry is based on mutual respect and after the game is over, there is no discord.

Here are today’s counts and nugget:

Today is the second day of MAPLE.

היום חמישה ועשרים יום. שהם שלושה שבועת וארבעה ימים לעמר {today is day 25, which makes 3 weeks and 4 days of the omer}

It’s always good to be diverse in your interests.


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