Rivalries and Reality

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In a time of division, is rivalry an escape or a blunt reflection of reality?

FROM THE DESK OF: Nina

A few months ago, I wrote about an annual tradition my alma mater carries on known as Blue and Gold Week. It’s that week prior to the UCLA vs. USC football game, when Bruins show their school pride and rally to face our cross-town rivals in football. Trojans call this week by a different name, of course, but however way you look at it, one thing is sure: it’s one week when both schools do not hold back in painting the town blue and gold and red. And it gets pretty nutty.

I’ve mentioned this before, but when I first started tinydeskwriters with Aiza and Deo, I always thought I’d for sure write a snarky little post (laced with USC burns) about why it’s awesome to be a Bruin when Blue and Gold Week rolled around. (Ideas for possible headlines: Questions for Trojans, or Did You Really Get Fooled By a Giant Toy Horse?; Brilliant Bruin Comebacks; Brown Bears Eat Gullible Humans… the possibilities are endless.) But now that it’s here, I’m finding myself at a slight loss of words. Not because I feel differently about my alma mater – I bleed blue and gold – but because I’m starting to question the merits of rivalries and their outcomes. In this age of politically heavy divisiveness, are rivalries an escape or a blunt reflection of reality?

When I really think about it, rivalries are fueled by feelings of competition and divisiveness; how can we resort to division as a recreational escape when those attitudes are are big part of our current reality?

But then I wonder: if I looked at this rivalry as a longstanding tradition that hasn’t changed in the midst of our changing world, could it actually be seen as a comforting escape? Is this just what we need right now? Games and traditions that transport us briefly to a place where our concerns boil down to simple things, like bringing back the Liberty Bell or bragging rights to victory for a year?

I don’t have the answers to these questions, nor do I know where I’m going with this, really. But in the end, I really hope this weekend allows for some much-needed fun – whether you’re repping the blue, the gold, the red, or anything in between.

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