What’s In a Rival?

What’s In a Rival?

If you’ve ever been around me at a sporting event and asked who we’re playing, you’ve likely heard me end my answer with “…and I don’t really like them.”  And that’s true—there are a lot of schools we play that for whatever reason I really don’t like—some of them more than others.

That’s not to say that rivalries are bad—they are often a good thing—but if you’d ask me, 75% of our games would be rivalry games.  But who are the schools that are our “true rivals”—or perhaps, who could become our “true rivals?”  To analyze these rivalries, I decided to judge schools based on four main categories—geographic proximity, (perceived) school culture, competitive contests, and any background events that may contribute to the rivalry.

Let’s start with our rivalry with International.  This is one that’s perhaps the highest-profile of all of our rivalries, and it scores high in three of the four categories.  All things considered, we’re pretty close to ISI geographically (it’s just under a 10 mile trip down Michigan Road) and our school cultures are largely similar—small private schools drawing most of their kids from urban and suburban areas of Indianapolis.  Competitiveness, however, is lacking.  We’ve played 20 girls and boys basketball games against ISI in school history, and we’ve won 20 (including one where our 4-13 girls basketball team beat their 16-4 team).  Boys soccer hasn’t lost to ISI in the last five years, and volleyball’s been dominant as of late.  All that said though, our rivalry with ISI is one that’ll continue to be important because of the final category—the backstory of the rivalry.  As was pointed out by Dr. Fadely earlier in the school year, ISI was originally part of the consortium developing University High School in the late 1990s before pulling out to build their own high school—the very one we’re rivals with today.  Additionally, we’ve pulled many kids from ISI in the past to make up our student body (and continue to do so today), and the rivalry between the schools will continue to exist and be fierce—though we should be careful to never celebrate beating them too much.

I’ll talk a lot about is a “rivalry” we have with Sheridan.  There’s certainly been some intensity over the years—a summer basketball brawl being the most notable—so the backstory’s there, as is the geographic proximity.  We’re the two smallest schools in Hamilton County, and while the “school cultures” are probably different, there still should be some level of county pride to play for.  The competitiveness, however, has been an issue—more often that not, their teams are stronger than ours and as a result, there’s probably not as much in games between the two of us as there could be.  However, with both of our basketball teams coming off of the two most successful seasons in recent memory, perhaps it could be time to rekindle the rivalry on the hardwood and really let it thrive?

Bethesda Christian’s most certainly another one of our natural rivals.  They have our number in some sports—volleyball and softball immediately come to mind—while we have theirs in sports like basketball and, for now, baseball.  More often than not, games are competitive, and there’s the added bonus of geographic proximity (both northwest-side private schools) to throw into the loop.  School culture is different yet similar—as was mentioned, we’re both small private schools—and the backstory is most definitely there.  From their girls basketball team showing up at the sectional final to root against us to the way we’ve dominated events at BCS over the past couple of years, this rivalry is one that is certain to flourish as time goes on…perhaps it may be our strongest one.

However, this final rivalry is one that’s new—and confined largely to just two sports—but has the potential to be the most intense of them all.  We’ve met them in 3 of the last 4 basketball sectional finals, and the two schools are by far and away the basketball powers of the sectional.  With Tindley’s boys team a state title contender next season, we’ll be the ones most likely to knock them off, and the girls basketball rivalry seems to continue to grow and thrive.  The sectional rivalry is there for geographic proximity, and the “private vs. charter” card can certainly be played.  But above all else, this is a rivalry being built on the court itself…and perhaps that’s the way rivalries are meant to be built?

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