By Clayton Ward
Good or bad, all things must come to an end.The original Battle of the Bluegrass will soon be reported as a college football obituary. The 94-year-old rivalry between Eastern and Western Kentucky comes to a close on September 6, 2008.
The Eastern vs. Western game has been a time when common ground where mutual respect and uncanny hate meet once a year for 60 minutes from goal line to goal line.
I thought about taking this opportunity and wishing Western the best on its way to a bright new future, and suggesting we should be good sports about the game at hand.
Then I slapped myself. hard.
Even if I had it in me to thank Western and be sincere about it, it just wouldn’t be this rivalry’s style to go out like that.
I would like to begin by sharing one example that shows why Western is not to be appreciated or trusted.
Between the two programs in football, a sole discrepancy plagues the record books.
In 1932 Eastern was scheduled to play Western, but early in the season the Colonels cancelled. Why this happened is unknown, lack of transportation, bad weather, polio, it could have been anything.
But Western ignores the cancellation and marks the game as a forfeit, giving the Hilltoppers the win 1-0.
It’s possible that Western honestly didn’t know the meaning of the word “cancelled”. If they did know what the nine letters put together meant, it would make them cheaters. If they didn’t know what the word meant then they’re stupid. I’m quite comfortable accepting either scenario.
In all seriousness, this rivalry means more to both schools than either realize.
A tradition that has seen two world wars, the first microwave and television, and the baby boomers right up till today is coming to an end.
Eastern and Western have used each other as best they could as a spring board into the playoffs. If Eastern beat Western it was considered a quality win over a deserving opponent and vise versa.
I like to believe the bragging rights and the level of animosity came second to the level of respect. The same respect that leads us to not only play our best because we hate Western, but because they deserve it, and anything less would be disrespectful.
As Saturday draws near, our window of time for truly showing how much we hate Western is coming to an end.
When Saturday finally arrives, show up to Roy Kidd Stadium and show Western Kentucky University how little you really think of them, not only because we hate them, but because out of respect they deserve nothing less.
To Western as a whole, I have one thing to say. One thing, sincerely, to anyone having anything to do with the Hilltoppers.
Thanks for being yourselves the last 94 years. it made it so much easier to despise you.
I hate Western!