The Rivalry! The title of this post must be in capital letters! The Rivalry is the single most powerful uniting force on Lafayette’s campus. It still holds the title of “most played college sports rivalry,” with 148 games played and one of the most obsessively guarded and updated Wikipedia pages, which I have witnessed reflecting final scores and outcomes mere seconds after the end of a game.
Indeed, the Lafayette-Lehigh football game gets everyone off the couch (OK, I slept through it once when Lehigh was hosting it), cheering, dressing up to the nines with maroon and leopard lampshades on their heads. It’s a beautiful sight. It also brings out the, well, leopard in people- myself included. I was once fortunate enough to have a press pass that enabled me to walk the edges of the field as the game went on and it was a fantastic experience. While the pictures I took weren’t the greatest as I was plunged headfirst into the art of sports photography, the experience was something truly special. I ran with the team up and down the field, taunted the Lehigh fans from a cheerleader’s point of view, and allowed the whole atmosphere to wash over me.
With the risk of sounding like a clichéd youth soccer coach, it really doesn’t matter who wins the Lafayette-Lehigh football game. What matters is that it is the manifestation of a tradition that originated before Lehigh existed and that the excited lifeblood of tradition flows through us mightily on that day. Collective effervescence is a beautiful thing.