Rivalries abound in Frontier League
We don't know how it all came about, but rivalry exists within all of us. Competition. Tradition. Pride. School Spirit. A rival is defined as a person who competes with or tries to outdo another; a person or thing that tries to equal another; to prove to be worthy of one another; to equal one another in match; to be competitive.
Schools of the Frontier League and all over the state of Kansas have had top rivals. But what has caused such deep rivalries? Some say it is the fans, not the players themselves. Others disagree, saying the team is the controlling factor of the level of rivalry with one another.
"Rivalry is caused by the year's past," said Josh Flett, Wellsville High School football player. "We have been playing the same teams over and over again since junior high and we know those players on those teams by heart."
"Rivalry is probably caused by the teams themselves," said Andy Potts, Student Council President of Anderson County. "The close scores in athletic events just seems to go back and forth. The fans really get excited and that is how the rivalry gets started."
Shena Niedens, Eudora High School Student Council President, said that a lot of the rivalry between Eudora and Wellsville is because the towns are so close, and the competition is among the best in the league.
Hostility through sporting events is what makes the rivals so competitive. Negative attitudes of not necessarily the players, but the fans can play into effect between rival towns.
"The fans are the rivals, not the players," said Jade Alexander of Anderson County.
"Competition between the schools when the kids grow up together," said Sarah Phillips, Student Council President of Gardner-Edgerton. "We have grown very competitive in and with what we do."
Kathy Patton, a senior at Wellsville High School, agreed that rivalry is caused by tradition and constant competition.
"People that are from close towns that know each other make the difference in rivalry," said Daniel Squires of Santa Fe Trail. "It grows more and more each year between those two schools and they lose the reasoning behind why they disliked each other so much. Both teams go into that game knowing they have to win, or else!"
"Rivalries start when the towns know each other," said Anna Sinclaire, Student Council President of Osawatomie High School. "The students will be rivals with their friends from the next town."
"Our rivals definitely seem bigger than they really are. It is all caught up in pride and spirit. When the student body knows we are going to be playing our rivals, then we start to show our school spirit and promote ourselves even more," said Phillips of Gardner-Edgerton.
Many times students don't exactly know how the rivalry started, but in fact it was very tense competition between those two schools when it came to athletic sporting events.
"During a sport we honor our school and we don't play dirty. At least, that is how Baldwin plays," said Adam Turk of Baldwin.
"The fans are the real rivals. Our senior guys think they are always going to get in a fight, but they never do. We were going to have a bonfire before the game, but there was a burn-ban so that was canceled. Anderson County won their first game in four years just last Friday and so we flooded the field and tore down the goal post. It was great," Alexander of Anderson County said.
What is it that schools do to get the student body so pumped for the big game?
"To pump up our spirit we will have a pep assembly. For the teachers it seems to me that their rival is Baldwin. I'm not sure exactly why, but most of our teachers are Eudora High graduates. And when those teachers went here, their biggest rival was Baldwin. It may not be that Baldwin is our biggest rivals today because up until this year, we haven't seen their face in football for quite some time. I think all the faculty had been waiting a long time to see that. Mr. Perry, a BHS graduate, had a reason to want to beat Baldwin," Niedens (Eudora) said.
Rivals will do anything to prove that the other is better. They just get so passionate into what they are doing and get caught up in the moment and sometimes end up doing something they regret.
"Some of the things this community has done has made our rivals out to be more than they really are, one of them the community pep rally," Sinclaire (Osawatomie) said. "In past years Paola has come to Osawatomie and spray painted graffiti on our football field. They have also egged our school, seniors cars and houses. One year they even went as far as burning our football field. Osawatomie has just resulted in leaving the football stadium lights on all night during spirit week before the Paola game just in case they were thinking of doing something again."
"I have no idea how the rivalry between Baldwin and Wellsville came about," Flett (Wellsville) added. "As far back as I can remember it has always been Baldwin. Everyone comes out to see that game. Right before the game everything gets really tense. We know the competition is coming up and what is in store for us that night."
Rivals are caused by many things, such as pranks. They can even be formed when there is a discrepancy over a sporting event or referee call. Rivals between small towns can even be formed by jealousy.
"In my opinion, our rivalry with Wellsville all started way back in junior high when a lot of Eudora guys dated the girls from Wellsville," Niedens (Eudora) indicated. "At least the rivalry with the girls sports started then. I don't know what happened with the boys."
No matter how passionate the teams are about winning, rivals will remain through the ages. Even though that dreaded town can be dangerous with pranks, the level of intensity in the athletic showdown is worth it. Rival schools will be remembered as they seem to make athletic contests that much more memorable.