Regional rivalries are the best rivalries. Whether it’s Calgary vs. Edmonton, Texas vs. Oklahoma, USA vs. the world, everyone loves a good fight between neighbours. Proving the superiority of our community/city/country is the reason we have sports. “Where we live is awesome and where you live SUCKS!” If I can’t shove my community’s superiority in your face, then what’s the point of having a superior community? And what better way to do it than have the guys wearing our community’s jersey beat the everloving crap out of the guys wearing your community’s jersey. Rivalries between neighbours are great because the rivalries are personal. They exist not just in the sports world, but in our daily lives. Sure, I might not know any of the UBC athletes personally, but I definitely know a bunch of snotty UBC grads, and sports gives me an opportunity to prove to them that their school is CLEARLY inferior to mine!1 That’s what rivalry is all about. That’s what sports is all about!
Unfortunately, SFU rarely gets to partake in this kind of rivalry because they’re the only Canadian school in the NCAA. One of my biggest concerns over SFU joining the NCAA is that instead ofplaying against local schools like UBC, they’re playing against schools like Azusa Pacific and Humboldt State. Doesn’t exactly get the old heart-rate up, does it? How am I supposed to tell them to go back to the hellhole they call a home if I don’t know for sure that their home actually is a hellhole? I don’t even know where these schools are! Wyoming? Oregon? Who cares?
Thank goodness for hockey! While there is Div. I and Div. III hockey in the NCAA, there doesn’t seem to be anything official for Div. II schools. So instead, SFU plays in the British Columbia Intercollegiate Hockey League (BCIHL) alongside the University of Victoria, Trinity Western University, Selkirk College, and Eastern Washington University. Admittedly Selkirk and Eastern Washington aren’t much to get excited about, but Victoria and Trinity Western? Now we’re talking! I know lots of UVic and TWU grads I can harass!
Last Saturday I had the opportunity to watch the Clan play on home ice for the first time this fall. SFU took on the Trinity Western Spartans in a preseason game that I was expecting to be a decent evenly-matched tilt with little emotion and low stakes because, well, it was a preseason game. Boy, was I wrong.
The 1st Period went as expected, ending in a 0-0 draw. Players kept up a good tempo without resorting to the usual hockey extra-curriculars we see so often after the whistle. SFU had been swept out of the playoffs by TWU the previous season, so I wouldn’t have been surprised to see a chippy game, but again, it’s preseason. The players had bigger things to worry about, as some of them were still fighting for a roster spot, so they kept it clean. Until the 2nd Period, that is.
The coaches on both sides must have said something to spur them on, because immediately after the 2nd Period began the players started going at each other a lot harder. Unfortunately, this ended up working out a lot better for TWU than it did for SFU, and the 2nd Period ended with the Spartans up 5-0. Preseason games don’t really matter in the big picture, so as a fan you try not to sweat it too much, but it’s never good to be down five goals, regardless of the circumstances. I’m getting pretty tired of seeing the Clan lose.2
By the time the 3rd Period rolled around, SFU’s players were feeling appropriately humiliated and apparently decided that if they weren’t going to get back at TWU with goals, they were going to get back at them with their fists instead. The game got uglier and uglier, and before the whistle blew on a 6-1 final score, things dissolved into a line brawl in the last minute of the game. Goalies got nailed with cheap shots. Players came off the ice with their faces bloody. The coaches yelled at each other from their benches. The only thing missing was the roar of a raucous crowd, mostly because the crowd consisted of a smattering of players’ families who were more concerned with the well-being of their kids than getting their money’s worth. Fair enough, but I don’t have a kid in the game, so I was happy to see SFU get some form of vengeance on Trinity Western. I’m a paying customer! I DEMAND BLOOD.
And to take it out on crosstown rivals was the cherry on top! Ugh, those Trinity Western Spartans. They’re nothing more than bunch of namby-pamby do-gooders living in the boonies with all the hicks and rednecks not sophisticated enough to make it in a real city (or a real school). I don’t care what the final score of the game was. Trinity Western is where losers go to lose. They stole their team colours from UBC, a school only 50 kilometres away. They have a mandatory “community covenant” that prohibits alcohol, smoking, and fun.3 And their hockey team has never won the BCIHL championship, which is very important because I’ve decided it is. The only nice thing I can say is that they didn’t name their team the “Crusaders,” which is the usual go-to team name for Christian schools.4 But couldn’t you think of something more appropriate for a small Christian school in Nowheresville, BC? What about the Trinity Western Exiles? Or the WWJDs? Personally I’m partial to the Fighting Flanders. Regardless, you can do much better than the generic “Spartans,” which was probably Trinity Western’s worst decision until they wondered if a law school would be fun to have. In summary, Trinity Western is lame, their goody two-shoes team is lame, and I hope that the next time these two teams face off, the Clan makes the Spartans cry.
See? Regional rivalries are fun!
NEXT WEEK: I head back up the hill for Homecoming at SFU as the Clan football team hosts the Central Washington Wildcats!
- Even though we lost. ↩
- I should probably watch more SFU soccer and volleyball, since those teams are dominating at the moment. ↩
- And swearing! I heard plenty of Spartans dropping F-bombs at the end of the game, and I’m more than happy to identify them for appropriate discipline. Just give me a call, TWU. ↩
- Ironic, given that the real-life crusaders were a bunch of idolatrous Catholics. ↩