by Sena Hughes
A couple weeks back, a student writer at Whitman College had an article published in the Seattle Times, which largely focused on the classic Whitworth-Whitman rivalry. Her entire article can be read at http://seattletimes.com/html/take2/2020288050_taketwo04.html, but her story closes with these thoughts:
“Bragging rights are at stake every time we match up with each other. It’s us-versus-them and may the better team prevail. Everyone who has ever been part of the Whitman-Whitworth rivalry understands what I am talking about.”
And know what she is talking about we do. Anyone who walked into the Fieldhouse for the men’s Northwest Conference Championship showdown last weekend felt that energy. Our faculty (who were just recognized as some of the best in the nation by the way and I think this is a huge part of the reason why) will fearlessly participate in cheer-offs with the raucous student section. Our student activities coordinators go to the lengths of collecting and distributing newspapers to their fellow students just to accentuate our lack of reverence for the Missionaries from the south. And us, the students, will blow off all homework, make “the game” our social plans, clog Facebook and Twitter feeds with “s’go Bucs!” posts, paint our bodies in crimson and black and pack the bleachers sweaty body to sweaty body with some random students we may not know.
All for a Northwest Conference championship game against our archrival? What is the Northwest Conference anyway? And is there even a difference between Whitworth and Whitman?
I have close friends who attend schools who compete in NCAA Division I conferences such as the Pac-12, Big Ten, and West Coast Conference. Despite how jealous it may make me that ESPN GameDay will make occasional visits to their campuses, I could not be more proud of my school. We may be small, but we get out there. Our athletes have worked to bring home five consecutive NWC All Sports Trophies, so we support them. We do not allow our division or size stop us from going all out in cheering on our Bucs. We have a lot of which to be proud.
Feb. 23’s NWC championship game was a superb example of what makes Whitworth, Whitworth. Sure, we love to talk up our “Mind and Heart” mission, stellar academics, study abroad programs and our aesthetic campus. I mention these things because they are some of the things I value about this institution most. And yet, there is something exceptionally special about a jazzed up Fieldhouse on a Saturday night anxiously waiting to cut down the nets once more. When else do faculty, staff and students dance in unison other than at halftime during the Interlude? Indeed, there is something integral about the Whitworth basketball experience.
So congrats, Bucs. And here’s to bragging rights for another year.
Contact Sena Hughes at firstname.lastname@example.org