Rivalry good for sport, overboard pranks irresponsible

Two of the most prestigious universities in the world – Harvard and Yale – are claimed to be home to some of the greatest minds, and some of the greatest pranksters, too.

Date: Nov. 20, 2004. Location: the Harvard-Yale football game at Harvard Stadium. Persons involved: the “Harvard Pep Squad” and fans. On game day, the avid pep squad arrived at the venue with placards in hand to pass out to a select group of Crimson aficionados who would then hold up the pieces in one big expression of school-spirited unity.

Cue in the catch.

Unfortunately, the “Harvard Pep Squad” does not exist and neither did the names that were on the ID cards that Yale students used to infiltrate the home stands. As the placards went up, Yale students had something to laugh at from across the field. The message “WE SUCK” sprawled across the Harvard side in crimson and white.

In the aftermath of the event, both schools proved to possess superior sportsmanship and claimed that it was all in good fun.

All schools have their rivalries. The University of Texas has Texas A&M, the Naval Academy has West Point, and, of course, TCU has SMU. But innocent rivalry can easily cross the line into unpleasant territory. That’s why on Sept. 29, Chancellor Boschini and SMU President R. Gerald Turner issued a letter encouraging TCU and SMU students to harness their incongruities during game day this Saturday.

Similarly, bipartisanship in American politics must be exercised to meet the ambitions of both Democrats and Republicans. Like enduring collegiate rivalries, both parties must “reach across the aisle” to achieve progression when addressing topics such as health care, the economy and ethical matters.

Our government takes to heart the value of weighing both sides of an issue before coming to a decision. Numerous political figures preach the importance of bipartisanship and would agree that a truly good sport could understand that Rep. Joe Wilson’s “You lie!” comment and former-President Bill Clinton’s mystified “relations” comment mutually fall under the category of reprehensible. To open-mindedly engage in debate about who might win the mid-term elections or who might win the football game would certainly be examples of fair game.

As the Horned Frogs and Mustangs gear up to play for the Iron Skillet, first-rate sportsmanship cannot be overlooked. In the past, intense athletic competitions have pushed crowd members, coaches, and even parents to make the wrong decisions, even at the little league sports level. All Boschini and Turner ask is that football fans practice responsibility and a certain degree of etiquette at this exciting game.

To me, that’s not too much to ask. Yell “Pony Down” here and make a little fun of the band’s uniforms there, but don’t go overboard.

Judith Schomp is a freshman political science major from Lindale.