Raucous Rivalry Wreaks Havoc

Haley playing basketball

Our granddaughter, Haley Tyler #5

Deafening screams rock the packed gym. Unnerved by the intensity of the rivalry, I feel my stress level rise with a vengeance. I have three choices:

  1. I can resort to the fact that it’s just a game, the normal persona of competitive sports.
  2. I can detach my emotions and support our granddaughter with controlled loyalty.                                                                                         or
  3. I can plug my ears when I can’t stand the noise and yell like crazy when the pressure of the game gets to me.

Which do you think I choose? If you guess #3, you’re right. Why does this raucous rivalry wreak havoc with my emotions? Perhaps it’s because the kids live in the same area and are friends, except at sports events.

It’s an enigma to me. After the game, everyone resumes their lives as if they haven’t been through a war. Not me. I go home battle worn and bitter. And the scars don’t heal quickly.

I’m reminded of my experience as a freshman at Wesleyan College in Macon, Georgia. (a girl’s school, at the time)

                                                                                                                   *  *  *  *

We lowly freshmen were called rats and the sophomores made it their duty to harass, berate and embarrass us.  When we walked the dorm halls, they lined up and yelled insults at us.

One night, the perpetrators burst into our rooms demanding us to get up and follow them. Petrified, we stumbled out of our beds and lined up behind them in our pajamas. What were they going do to us now?

Our solemn procession made its way across campus and into a large room with stadium-type seats. There, we sat in silence and waited. A group of girls sat at a table in front, looking like the Gestapo. One by one, they called various names to come forward. I don’t remember what was said. But I vividly remember I was the last to be called. I also remember how devastated I was when the Gestapo named me the #1 rat.

In light of what happened next, perhaps my rank was a term of endearment. Or perhaps not. At the end of the interrogation, the sophomores started hugging us lowly freshman as if we were long-lost friends. The hazing was over and we were expected to come together as if nothing happened. Now we were one in spirit.

Not so fast and not for me. I didn’t understand the benefits of the whole thing. And as you can probably tell, I’m still not over it. Was that the best way to build relationships and school spirit? Not by my standards, it wasn’t.

Not long after that, Wesleyan stopped the practice, which was a good thing. My question is: Why do we human beings tend to hurt each other in the name of gamesmanship or the pursuit of loyalty? Especially our friends. Makes no sense.

One thing that does make sense is the need for lasting friendships that stand the test of time, as well as the trials of difficult circumstances or petty rivalries. Consider the following qualities I gleaned from the biblical account of the friendship of David and Jonathan.

10 qualities of a dynamic and lasting friendship:  (I Samuel 18:1-4; 19-20; 23:16-18; II Samuel 1.)

  1. Like-minded – Realize the importance of being “one in the Spirit.”
  2. Love – Love each other *unconditionally, *sacrificially and *beneficially.
  3. Commitment – Accept each other as equals, regardless of status.
  4. Encouragement – Recognize and applaud each other’s success.
  5. Loyalty – Defend and always speak well of one another.
  6. Influence – Inspire each other to find your “strength in the Lord.”
  7. Respect – Guard against resentment or jealousy when one receives more attention and accolades than the other.
  8. Prayer – Pray with and for one another.
  9. Honesty – Be willing to be vulnerable in sharing your mistakes and needs.
  10. Perseverance – Be prepared to honor your friendship for the long haul.

Can you think of other suggestions that will help sustain a quality friendship? By the way, feel free to advise me on how to avoid emotional trauma over the rivalries of our grandchildren’s sports events. I need all the help I can get. 🙂

6 Responses to “Raucous Rivalry Wreaks Havoc”
  1. Jackie Donohoe says:

    Liz…I loved all of your suggestions and I can honestly say that you practice every single one of them in your life. I am thankful that I have been the receiver of each of them. I love you…Jackie

    • Thanks, Jackie for your comment and for your encouraging words. I can definitely say the same for you. Our friendship goes way back and has grown sweeter with every year. Hope to see you soon. Love you, Liz

  2. clittle-greene571@comcast.net says:

    Hi-wrote you a note but I guess I used the wrong e-mail address.  I enjoy your mailings and coul d really relate to this last one.  I also despised Ratting at Wesleyan.  I refused to take a part in it when I was a Soph.  I even hid some of the girls in my room.  I visited a lot of them when we were not supposed to talk to them.  I am so glad that they finally eliminated the Ratting  .  I also enjoy your writings and I hope we can get together before long. Keep in touch. Love, Sis

    • Thanks, Sis, for checking in. I thought of you as I wrote the post. I never heard you talk about the ratting. I look forward to discussing it with you. I’m so glad you’re connecting with me through my blog. But we do need to get together in person! Love you, Liz

  3. Lisa says:

    This was great Mom! So glad to have your blog back!! Great reminders on what true friendships are, thank you!! I love you!

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