As I sit here at my desk, fervently procrastinating instead of studying for my Math mid-term in two short days (asdkfja;ldskfjsldakfjdsl;fjkasd;ljkafsdkl;j is how I feel about that right now), I’m contemplating going to Queens to visit some friends during the Fall Reading Break. I tell my roommate and suite-mates, all of whom condone the idea. “Just don’t tell them you’re from Western,” one of them quips.
I laugh, wondering why we should be getting so worked up about the (apparent) Western-Queens rivalry. I’ve only been a Western student for a month, but I already love my new home and the people in it. But internalizing this school rivalry is going to take a bit longer. It’s a comical thought to me that I should be hating on Queens just because I go to Western.
People often cite the insane levels of school spirit as the cause of strife between the two schools. I can’t say much about the school spirit at Queens, but let me tell you that I find it almost ridiculous how spirited the students at Western are, the operative word being almost. I have a love-hate relationship with Western school spirit. Half the time, I’m drunk on the exhilarating feeling of belonging to something bigger than myself, of belonging to a community comprised of such brilliant and enthusiastic people. The other half of the time, I feel overwhelmed, like I can’t quite keep up. It’s exhausting to be so energetic and involved all the time.
Homecoming taught me that Western students don’t joke around when it comes to spirit; everywhere I turned that sunny Saturday morning, flashes of purple and white accosted my eyes. Hordes of students heading to parties and other events on campus contributed to the parade-like ambience. I go to Western, I thought, smiling inwardly as I strolled down Broughdale. I’m one of them.
In all honesty, I don’t think Western has a monopoly on school pride. According to friends who go to Queens, the people at their school are overly spirited too. But let’s be real here: sometimes it’s fun to feud when there is no calculated malice involved; think of how boring life would be if we never disagreed with one another. I’d like to think of school rivalry as a flirtation, a delicate dance, a type of courtship. After all, Queens has to be a very special school in the heart of the Western student if he/she devotes so much time and energy to bashing it. And there’s no doubt that the Queens student feels the same.