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Sunday, April 21, 2024

Column: Cause of the Way

Every athletic team has one. Some are more intense than others, but nonetheless, they exist for every squad.

I’m of course talking about rivals. Every high school has that crosstown school that it simply doesn’t like. It’s the same at the collegiate and professional levels.

But no two rivalries are the same. Every one has its unique history and intensity. For some, just the mentioning of the opponent’s name sparks fiery thought. Other rivalries are a lot, lot more tame.

For UC Davis, two “rivals” exist. There’s Sacramento State across the Causeway and Cal Poly down south. The Mustang-Aggie rivalry is much more centered on football, while the Hornets’ is much more complete.

Either way, it’s safe to say neither one is that intense. You wear a Cal Poly or Sac State shirt around campus? No big deal. You wear a Michigan jersey around Ohio State? Run for cover. Hell, a soccer rivalry between El Salvador and Honduras even led to a four-day war.

The reason for the intensity directly lies in the history. This is the biggest cause as to why the Causeway rivalry isn’t as intense as one might want.

I want that intense rivalry. Not to the point that wearing Sac State apparel this side of the Causeway is dangerous to one’s well being, but a rivalry where we want to beat the Hornets at everything and anything.

The Aggies recently won the seventh annual Causeway Cup over Sac State, an award given to the program that wins the most head-to-head athletic competitions over the course of the year. This was the fourth time UC Davis captured the Cup since its inception in 2005.

Because Sac State and UC Davis are in different athletic conferences (at least until 2012 when our football team joins the Hornets in the Big Sky), the Cup is mainly used to increase competition between the two schools.

And it has. Almost every coach on campus circles the match against Sac State as a key one. Not so much for the game itself, but the pride associated with it.

“There’s a sense of pride in your school,” said football coach Bob Biggs before UC Davis matched up with Sac State in the fall. “We really are competing for our student body. We’d like to come out and perform for them, and the more people in the stands to support us, [the more it] helps our football team.”

However it doesn’t seem like a majority of the student body cares about this rivalry as much as the coaches and players.

Sure, there are the select few students (specifically those that outlasted the rain and lighting at this year’s Causeway Classic football game) who do care about the Sac State rivalry as much as the athletes and coaches. To those Aggie Pack members, I salute you. I truly appreciate your intensity.

However, the overall rivalry is relatively lackluster – and I want more. The intensity of going to Dodgers-Giants games is untouched. I remember back in high school how the overall school community came together before those games.

Having a more intense rivalry with Sac State – and maybe even Cal Poly – can do wonders for the UC Davis unity prior to those games. I would like nothing more than to see the Quad littered with “BEAT SAC” shirts before the Causeway Classic next year.

It’d be awesome to see “WE BEAT SAC” shirts, too.

This was the first time JASON ALPERT mentioned the Giants in his column in a long time. That is all. To talk about the Causeway rivalry, e-mail him at sports@theaggie.org

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