teaching the rivalry young

I am a proud alumnus of Indiana University. As a sports fan, particularly of college sports, I’m also a proud fan of my Hoosiers. Yes, even in football. Yes, even in recent years when basketball watching has been a little rough around the edges (that was putting it nicely don’t you think?). And as a resident of our fine state of Indiana, I’ve got plenty of friends who are Purdue alum and/or fans. I’ve got nothing against that fine institution of learning but it is still fun to participate in the inter-state rivalry when it comes to sports.

There is nothing like an IU vs Purdue game. When both teams are playing well it is one of the most exciting events in sports. Even when one or both teams are having a mediocre year, they often rise to the occasion. It’s fun to have a game that always means something no matter what is happening the rest of the season. It’s fun to find some good-natured Boilermakers to talk smack with in the days leading up to the big game. And it’s fun to teach our youngest Hoosiers & Boilers to get into the spirit of the rivalry. Which leads me to the point of this sports/rivalry ramble…

About six years ago when E was just a preschooler she became best friends with another little girl named E. Now it just so happened that E2 was being raised in a family of Boilermakers (poor thing). As we all became closer friends, both girls and their mothers, we would have a few conversations about upcoming IU vs Purdue games. This particular basketball season the game was bound to be a good one. Little E2 and I exchanged all kinds of pre-game jabs in the days leading up to the game. And when the Hoosiers came out on top, E and I decided that it was time to make little E2 eat her words (yes I realize she was only four – back off). So the next day at preschool, we brought in an IU t-shirt and offered it to E2 so she could wear the shirt of a winner.

She promptly burst into tears.

Luckily, her mother burst into laughter. She agreed that if the 4yo was going to dish it out, she’d have to learn to take it. And while I felt a little guilty about the whole incident we all knew it was in good fun and remain friends to this day.

Present day: E2 isn’t quite as little these days, she’s 10 years old. Our families no longer live in the same town but we still keep in touch and see each other a few times a year. In a recent email exchange with her mother we remembered and laughed about that day long ago when I brought her daughter to tears. Ahhh… good times.

Shortly after that exchange IU played Purdue in basketball and Purdue soundly kicked our ass. For the second time this year.

Yesterday I received an unexpected package in the mail from E2. I ripped it open to find a note, written in marker complete with a few smiley faces. I’d like to share it with you now:

Dear Barb, How are you? I’m doing very well. In this envelope you will find a Boilermakers coozie. This is so you can remember Purdue’s domonation [her spelling error, but excellent word choice] against IU in the 2010-2011 sports season. (Forget football, that Old Oaken Bucket is ours anyway) Please say Hi to E for me. Boiler Up! P.S. PLEASE don’t cry!

Oh I’m crying… tears of laughter! A whole new generation of Hoosiers & Boilers raised to talk smack lovingly.

Don’t worry. I’ll be back. And, for the record, that Old Oaken Bucket does indeed rest happily in Bloomington right now.

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4 thoughts on “teaching the rivalry young

  1. E2’s mother pointed me to your post – what a hoot! I love seeing T’s influence in E2.

    And as a fellow Boilermaker, I emphatically approve of E2’s note to you (“domonation” really IS an excellent word choice).

    Cheers! Bring on the Big Ten Tournament!

    1. glad you liked the post Erin – even though you’re one of those darn Boilers you’re welcome to stop by anytime!

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