by Alex Cyr
On my first day as a Lancer in 2017, I asked the front desk employee at the Forge to tell me a bit about my new school. Purveying his knowledge on me like a seasoned bartender while he wiped used gym equipment, he told me three things: you will always get ticketed if you do not buy a parking pass, you are most welcome in the facility when wearing blue and gold, and you are expected to hate the Western Mustangs.
Really? Do we want to hate Western, our leviathan neighbour? The school that nearly doubles us in size and perhaps has the nation’s top football program? I mean, sure, I’m all about aiming high, but poking the bear and making an enemy of it seemed silly to me. I had to find out where this beef came from.
Why not rival against a school our size, like Queen’s? They’re hateable, aren’t they? Why not Ryerson? There can only be one blue and gold ruler in this conference. Why not Trent? Winning all the time would be fun.
We picked Western. Perhaps the winningest team in OUA history. Why?
Could it have to do with location? Geographically, Western is closer to Windsor than any other university participating in the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) conference. Sharing landscape can surely help rivalries germinate. Look at the Yankees and the Mets in New York, or the Cubs and the White Sox in Chicago. Perhaps sharing southern Ontario creates similar animosity, but taking the 401 and driving the long and sightless two-hour stretch separating both schools should be more than enough to cool any bad blood.
Is it simply in the name? Do we want to be recognized as the best school starting with W, so that we can avoid being belittled by one of our clueless uncles who wrongly asks “how’s it going at Western?” over the Christmas break? Such a harmless slip-up, though frustrating to hear, can’t possibly be enough to make us hate our alliterated counterpart.
Did Western start it? Are we simply reciprocating hate? I doubt it, given that your quintessential Western student will call Queen’s their rival school. Yes, while we think we are involved in a generation-transcending rivalry, the Mustangs do not realize it. They don’t even acknowledge us.
That, right there, is your answer. We quarrel with Western in search of recognition due to our massive David’s complex (not to be confused with a King David’s complex – look it up). We want to prove ourselves as a top-notch athletics program by beating the Mustangs because they are the favourites – the fact that Western has no clue we have declared war against them decades ago makes us want to beat them even more. We want to vanquish the big guy, the playground bully, Goliath. We want to be acknowledged of being a worthy rival – not the discounted weak little brother.
Now, the rivalry may not be two-sided, but it is effective in elevating our play. Punching above our weight class (Western has 28,000 students and we have 16,000) has made us contend with top schools. Don’t use our slow start to this year’s varsity athletics campaign as an assessment of our standing vis-à-vis rival – instead, check out this stat. Nobody has won more OUA championships than the Windsor Lancers between 2011 and 2016. Perhaps our will to measure ourselves against a top program has made us one as well.
So wake up and hate on, feisty Lancers, and ride the Stang until they notice.
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