Our view: Kent State/Akron Rivalry Needs Turned up a Notch

DKS Editors

Sure, sports rivalries can seem kind of silly (how different can we really be from the students who attend classes 11.8 miles away?), but as a chance to display school spirit, it’s hard to top a basketball game against the Zips.

Encouraging Kent State’s rivalry with Akron can be hard to defend, especially when it leads to vandalism, violence or even just plain, old-fashioned mean-spiritedness.

But there’s no reason the intense feelings on both sides of the ball cannot be put to good use if we all band together.

The student-athletes on the men’s basketball team have a chance this weekend to unite a good portion of the campus for the common goal of defeating our Mid-American Conference rivals. That may not sound impressive, but how often are students and townsfolk, freshmen and seniors and even College Republicans and College Democrats in agreement?

Granted, getting people to chant “KSU! KSU!” or “Let’s go Kent!” is a lot simpler than getting people together to make a positive change, but those going to the game this weekend should keep this in mind. Although our campus is filled with diverse people with diverse ideas, we all, in our own way, believe in Kent State.

If not, we wouldn’t care if some athletic team wearing the school colors beat Akron. But we live and die with the team, or at least spend a half-hour moping if the team loses to our rivals.

The problem is keeping that same school spirit and camaraderie with our fellow Golden Flashes after we leave the M.A.C. Center Saturday afternoon.

If we care about whether the basketball team can beat Akron enough to come together as a group, couldn’t we theoretically come together on bigger issues thanks to something as silly as a rivalry?

We should also try to beat Akron in blood drives, charitable competitions and the like. We should try to make our campus a cleaner, safer, better place to live than Akron’s.

And they should try to do the same in order to earn bragging rights over the school they “hate” just as irrationally as we “hate” them.

So instead of discouraging the rivalry, let’s fan the flames a little just this once. To show we’re better than Akron, we should:

1. Donate some money to charity this weekend in Flash’s name.

2. Pick up some trash on the way to and from class.

3. Be polite to the Akron fans visiting campus, especially if they have kids with them.

Akron students and fans might not do the same, but the point of the rivalry is that we’re better than them, right?

The above editorial is the consensus opinion of the Daily Kent Stater editorial board.