What makes for a good rival? In "How Rivalries Bring Out the Best—And Worst," Matthew Hutson writes,
A rivalry is more than just a competition, according to Gavin Kilduff, a professor at NYU’s Stern School of Business (who’s currently in Rio for the World Cup). It typically emerges when competitors are similar, when they face off repeatedly, and when they’re about evenly matched. When these circumstances are present, they can lend a given competitive event a psychological weight that goes well beyond its tangible stakes.
Kilduff has found that rivalry increases both effort and performance. An analysis of competitive runners showed that they shaved more than four seconds per kilometer off their times when a rival was in the same race. In another study, Kilduff and colleagues found that NCAA basketball teams play stronger defense — a good measure of hustle — when competing against rivals. He believes that accentuating rivalry is a good tool for success when a task is effort-based and when there isn’t much leeway for cutting corners. It increases motivation, and “Motivation,” he says, “is a holy grail of management.” Rivalry also increases group cohesion: Universities with more intense rivalries receive donations from more of their alumni, and patriotism is never so great as it is during the World Cup.
But Kilduff and collaborators have conducted several studies, some of them presented recently at the annual meeting of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, showing that rivalry also has a dark side: It increases unethical behavior.Indeed, a rivalry is much more than just competition. In the throes of a heated contest, truly our rival can be our worst enemy, but both before, after, and in the moment they can be our greatest teacher. Though rivalries magnify differences—many of which are true, I believe that if we can take a step back, we will realize our rival is more similar to us than we care to admit. For example, I'll never forget when a classmate of mine at Notre Dame pointed to this truth about the Trojans of USC. Notre Dame fans will claim that this rival is also known as the "University of Spoiled Children" and for years they compromised academic integrity in order to win national championships. That might be true, but so is the fact that USC fans are fiercely loyal to their alma mater. They are known for proclaiming their allegiance to the Maroon and Gold within the first five minutes of any given conversation. Their interest in Fightin' On is loud and proud. So is their band. The alumni base is so strong and a significant number of the current student body qualifies as a legacy. Sounds a lot like Notre Dame to me...Agh!
Self-knowledge is never that easy to acquire. Perhaps we should look to our rival.
Students of SI and SHC might benefit from such an investigation. Though there are differences, Huston's claim is true: the "competitors are similar." The students who comprise each student body grew up together. They went to the same grade schools and many (may) make a choice to attend the same high school as one of their parents: SI or SHC, Jesuit of Christian Brothers, Red and Blue or Green and Blue both located in the City of St. Francis.
These teams "face off regularly," and the significance of the Bruce Mahoney trophy puts more weight behind those contests. Though the series is comprised of football, basketball and baseball, every varsity team in both schools as their team's "Bruce Mahoney game."
Though no senior class wants to be known as the group that lost the Bruce Mahoney trophy, a rivalry is strengthened "when they are evenly matched." The trophy should not become a relic at either institution; its vibrancy shines brighter when it is claimed or reclaimed by both parties. I would like to think "unethical behavior" does not factor in....
|The game came down to the bottom of the 7th inning. 2-1 win for SHC|
In "For the Love of the Game" Richard Gaillardetz writes, "In ancient Greek culture, sport was considered from two different perspectives. The first was termed agon and the referred to the spirit of competition and the second was arete, and was oriented toward the pursuit of excellence. There is an inclination to oppose these two but the agnostic character of sport is always, at its best, also a pursuit of excellence." I have no idea if Bill Bruce or Jerry Mahoney would ever guess that their service has become a legacy that allows young men (and hopefully women) to pursue excellence in the way it has and will in the future. Thank you for all you have taught us—in the rivalry and in that journey.
ND vs USC