By SARAH BOND
In the world of sports, rivalries are an integral part of the competitive nature which drives fans to stadiums and arenas. The opportunity to watch your favorite team defeat their rivals and have bragging rights is an experience that many sports fans look forward to. Specifically, on college campuses, rivalries with other colleges is an important part of one’s college experience. At the University of Mary Washington, the presence of a sports rivalry is unclear.
On Wednesday, Feb. 14, students filled the Anderson Center to watch both the UMW Basketball men’s and women’s teams play Christopher Newport University for the second time this year. Mary Washington students often refer to the Christopher Newport University “Captains” as our rival through sports.
The history of the rivalry is unclear and there is many conflicting theories on whether the rivalry is legitimate and mutual amongst both schools. On campus today, it is evident that some students feel strongly about the rivalry. Students can be seen around campus with “Beat CNU” shirts and other previous shirt designs targeted towards the Captains.
“I do think the CNU rivalry is legitimate. It definitely is not as intense as other intense Division I schools and it’s not taken as seriously as high school rivalries but given the size and division of our school it’s as strong as expected. I personally don’t have any emotional feelings against CNU, I just enjoy how it drives the teams and energizes the atmosphere during the games,” said senior, Purity Muthaa.
The presence of sports in the UMW community may impact the scale which the rivalry is taken amongst the student body. Some students enjoy the excitement and feelings which rivalries evoke.
“The rivalry brings the school together. It brings the competitiveness out of the student body,” said sophomore, Nehemia Abel who frequently attends men’s basketball and soccer games.
Rivalries have historically been important to the culture of sports and inviting a larger student turnout. On Wednesday, at the basketball game, the seats were filled with both students, community members and families of the players. The first three hundred students were given free “Rise Up” t-shirts. The games with CNU usually garner larger crowds from the student such as the Fall 2017 women’s and men’s soccer Homecoming game.
While there is a part of the student body who enjoys the rivalry, some students have a different take and question the legitimacy rivalry with CNU.
“I feel like our rivalry with CNU is hilarious because they don’t recognize us as rivals,” said junior, Erin Maguire.
The UMW men’s and women’s basketball teams both fell to CNU on Feb. 14 and may meet again during their playoff runs. So as for now, the CNU rivalry lives on.