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Monday, March 31, 2014

The Quirk: Friendly Rivalries

Well, a very exciting run is over. The UVa men's basketball team was eliminated from the NCAA tournament over the weekend. We all stayed up way too late on Friday night, so Charlottesville was pretty quiet on Saturday morning. Side note: I know students are used to staying up late, but a 10:15 PM tip off is brutal! They were still playing at midnight!

Anyway, I thought I'd share a little story to tell you about how tight the UVa family is. When the NCAA tournament started, I sat CavDog next to the logo of the team's first opponent to see if he would do anything funny for my camera. He just looked bored. I could work with that.


 For the next game, I gave CavDog a stuffed toy that resembled the other team's mascot. He loved it. He loved it so much he destroyed it quickly and efficiently.



The poor tiger toy was in pieces by the tip off of that game.


The last opponent we had was from pretty far away. I had a couple days to find something for CavDog to play with in videos and pictures to represent our opponent (and at this point, people were asking what I was going to do next, so I felt some pressure!). Desperate, I put out the word on social media that I needed someone in the state of our opponent to help me.

Three UVa graduates volunteered. I can't tell you how much running around they did, but one went to at least five different stores to track down some sort of toy for CavDog. He struck out. Another graduate explained that they take their in-state rivalries much, much more seriously than we do in Virginia, so her area (where our opponent's in-state rival was located) wouldn't have anything for CavDog. She literally had not seen anything in her town with the other school's logo on it.

I found the temperature of the rivalry in that state kind of interesting. At most of the stores in Charlottesville (excluding the ones on the UVa Corner), you can find items with the Virginia Tech logo right alongside the UVA items. This is true at the little boutiques and the big chains. These flags are not uncommon around here:

While we talk about having a rivalry with our sister schools in the Commonwealth, it really only exists in the sporting arena. Most UVa students have high school friends at the other state schools, so while we obviously hope we win the "big game," we don't hate our peers. What's more, if they ever needed us, we'd be there for them.



Oh, in the end, one of the UVa graduates came through with a football that sang our opponent's fight song. CavDog was so, so pleased.


Some teasing is fun on game day, but remember that in the end, we are all part of a the amazing network of public schools in the Commonwealth. I've found that some of the people who make the rivalry out to be bigger than it is are people who didn't actually go to the schools involved.