Friday, 16 December 2016 12:48

Traditional Rivalries!

By Damian Fantauzzi | Sports
One of the best rivalries in college football returned between the No. 25 Navy Midshipmen and Army Black Knights, where for the first time since 2000 both teams enter the game with winning records, with Navy at 9-3 and Army at 6-5 I love watching this rivalry. There is something about a game like that, comparatively speaking, that places it on the same pedestal as holiday bowl games. This year Army defeated the Naval Academy 21 to 17 for the first time in fourteen years. To most true Army fans, that game competes with the Chicago Cubs fans’ feeling jubilant over winning the World Series. In my opinion the biggest form of rivalry comes from the amateur level. It’s the big fish in the little pond scenario. When I was a kid in Mechanicville, our high school arch rivalry was with Saratoga. We were in a league that was primarily made up of Class B schools. These schools were part of the league’s make up, a very competitive league, with many rivalries throughout. Saratoga also had its in town foe, Saint Peters (Saratoga Central Catholic), a history worth researching. Mechanicville’s biggest rival now is neighboring Stillwater, a school that MHS did not play back in my days. Saratoga and Shenendehowa are now archrivals in the Suburban Council, with Ballston Spa still in the mix. Saratoga’s cross-town games with Saint Peters are no longer. Part of our country’s backbone is its love for sports, and high school athletics seems to be the prime motivator for the continuing romance in this competitive environment. Those events are a big part of community environment. I love this stuff, and it’s meant to be good clean fun. But what it represents is the tradition of why our country leads the world in athletics. I know that we, as a country, aren’t dominating in some sports, but the overall picture shows that we have this tradition that exists at the interscholastic levels. Essentially our country’s athletic situation is rather unique. In Europe, for example, the interscholastic scenario is nonexistent, they do something that’s almost an extramural venue, but nothing like what we have. Japan has something along that line like the Europeans, but nothing like what happens in the USA. Last week I mentioned the crowd control of the fans, much of which relates to this subject. I have witnessed this so many times in my career as a coach, there were some great atmospheres that coincided with big games, such as the rivalry between Saratoga and Shenendehowa. This stuff was electrifying and I couldn’t help but feeling, at the time, that there was nothing like it, I was as fired up as the players. It’s just pure fun and the experiences have indelible memories! Let’s hope this American tradition keeps its place in our way of life, it’s our true identification.
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