Pitt vs. MSSU: When a rivalry loses its’ steam

Kelvin Duley II

Kelvin Duley II

What comes to mind when you hear the word rivalry? For me it’s Jay Leno versus David Letterman, Red Sox versus Yankees, Coca Cola versus Pepsi, Missouri versus Kansas, and Right Twix versus Left Twix. Those are rivalries. I’m talking about hate, blood, disrespect, war.

Initially, some of you may have thought of your favorite sports team rival or your high school’s cross-town rival. Hell, some of you maybe even thought about your roommate, classmate, sibling, or coworker. But don’t you dare think of Pittsburg State University (Pittsburg, Kansas) versus Missouri Southern State University as a rivalry.

That statement left you scratching your huge head, didn’t it? A few of you may have read that sentence again just to make sure you read what you didn’t expect to read. But, you read correctly.

Missouri Southern does not rival PSU!

What makes a great rivalry you ask? Well, both teams have to be winners or successful right? Think about it. Would you consider Facebook a rival of Twitter or vice versa? Of course you would. Facebook and Twitter are only the two leading social networks on this planet. What about Apple versus Samsung? Of course you would. Every college student I look at has their eyes buried into an iPhone or Samsung android. What about the Royals versus the Yankees? Of course you wouldn’t! The Yankees only have 27 World Series Championships to the Royals one. The Yankees are consistent winners, the Royals… not so much. For God’s sake the Royals just ended a 29 year playoff drought.

Compare that to a 4-31 record against PSU in football since 1980. You mean to tell me that’s a rivalry? We can only afford a win every 7.75 seasons and that’s our rival? Not to mention PSU just came into our house this past weekend and dismantled us. You got to be kidding me.

Only winners have rivals. Only winners have the say so as to who rivals them. Winners want to beat other winning teams and they look down upon the losing ones. Winners take pride in beating the teams they’re supposed to beat. It just so happens that MSSU is that team they’re supposed to beat. A rivalry can’t be as lopsided as this one.

Cut us a break, there are other sports. There’s no rivalry like a football rivalry though. Football is America’s most popular sport. Granted, since the State Farm Trophy Series got under way in 2009-2010, the Lions have hoisted the trophy three times. That speaks to the balance we have in all sports. But, the trophy currently resides in Pittsburg, Kansas as the Gorillas have won it back-to-back years.

A real rivalry touches on levels much deeper than wins and loses. A real rivalry should inculcate our campus with an infectious spirit of rivalry. A real rivalry should have a week dedicated to beating just this one team. A real rivalry should spark nasty chants and the want to fight. A real rivalry should dominate all social media headlines and is taken over with the omnipresent #BeatPittState hashtag. A real rivalry should bring tears to your eyes when you lose.

What makes for a great rivalry you ask? Well, what about the fans? Whose fans are more involved? Whose fans represent their team the best? Whose fans will go through hell and back to see a victory? I’ll say this; football seems to be a little closer to heart to PSU fans than to MSSU fans. I could be blowing smoke or could it be that they’re just winners at PSU. You decide.

I recall seeing not one PSU fan leave their seat until the game clock said 0:00. As for the MSSU faithful, lord knows where they went. Some say they fell off the edge of the earth. Some say they never showed up. Hell if I know.

What makes for a great rivalry you ask? Take it that only 30 miles separate the two schools. It helps that the trash talk between the two schools is only a 40 minute drive away. There’s a lot of local pride in both Joplin and Pittsburg. That alone should always make for a highly anticipated game regardless of what sport. For us Lions though, how much trash talking can we do when our neighbors own our home? They have the power to come next door, beat us up, talk trash, and proceed back home. That’s not a rivalry.

This isn’t a rivalry folks. If you ask me, it’s just another day at the office for PSU.