Ra Ra Brunonia: Athletic Rivalries

Let’s settle it up front — Brown is not the most spirited when it comes to athletics. While we do hold claim to the fourth largest intercollegiate athletics program in the county, our Tide most certainly does not Roll and our Jayhawk does not Rock Chalk. For many students, football under the lights may be the only interaction they have with Brown athletics.

Interestingly enough, this distant relationship with sports at Brown was not always the case. In the late 19th century, students were so fixated on (and seemingly distracted by) intercollegiate sport at Brown that President Alexis Caswell responded by stating, “The College is…losing scholarship by the very interest…in boating and baseball.  Boating and baseball, that’s what Rhode Island does. There was an undeniable sense of excitement surrounding athletics at Brown and a distinct feeling of competitiveness with its rivals.

Though many readers may not be familiar with the intricacies of college sport, we can all agree on one thing: Yale Princeton Penn Cornell Columbia Dartmouth Harvard sucks. We’ve come to appreciate it, it’s literally a fact of life. Yeah they might have the largest endowment in the world and educated seven U.S. presidents, but seriously, did Rutherford ‘Big Shot’ Hayes ever accomplish anything?! (He did.) Brown and Harvard have played each other over 110 times in football and maintain one of the longest college hockey rivalries in the country, playing their first game in 1898. Despite this long-standing history, we have still yet to manage to make one of these. I think GQ definitely should have reconsidered the order of douchiest.

Modern Ivy League rivalries may not be what they once were in the ‘olden days,’ but Brown does still hold a somewhat deep-rooted grudge with our friends north of the wall, Dartmouth.  In the late 19th century and into the early 20th century, the Brown-Dartmouth rivalry was second only to that of Harvard-Yale. The rivalry deepened in 1907 during a baseball game held on Lincoln Field Ruth Simmons Quadrangle. The captain of the Dartmouth squad was not entirely satisfied with a call made by the umpire and took his team from the field. While plans were made to hold a rematch, Brown refused to accept due to the behavior of many of the Dartmouth fans. Classic. Athletic relations with the Big Green were severed until 1917 and by then, much of the fervor around the matchup subsided.  It may be because of their similar academic structure and comparable size of their student body, but I find that this rivalry still lives on today. Let’s try to keep it alive. Ra Ra Brunonia!

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