by SOPHIA HELLER '17
At sports game and pep rallies, Ursula girls go beyond the call of duty to support their teammates and classmates in athletic endeavors. However, when a game is against Ursuline Academy, the gyms and fields come alive with energy and athletes push themselves even harder to win the competition. But how did this come to be? Where did this intense rivalry come from, and how prevalent is it now?
The rivalry between Ursula and Ursuline is believed to have begun as a result of the similarity of the names of our schools, and the foundation of our schools by the same Ursuline sisters. This sparked the desire to win when competing because both schools want to prove that they are the superior local Ursuline school. Thus the rivalry was born, and overtime, it has grown to become equivalent to the rivalry between St. Xavier and Moeller. Not only athletes but the whole school--students and faculty alike--celebrate this rivalry.
The rivalry has thrived due to Ursuline Academy’s fierce competitiveness. Though this may be the case, teams focus on whomever needs to be conquered in significant games or the most challenging competition, diverting attention from Ursuline to whomever that competitor may be. There are other factors as well, such as other teams in the league who are known as hard to beat. Although Ursuline may be our rival, the games that are especially important are the ones that keep a team in a tournament, or lead to winning the the Girls' Greater Catholic League (GGCL).
Along with these variables, some sports are more competitive against Ursuline Academy than others. The volleyball team has a strong rivalry with Ursuline, as does the cross country team, but other sports are bigger rivals with McAuley or Mount Notre Dame. The soccer team is always looking forward to a great game against Ursuline. The Lions are one of their hardest opponents to beat, but Ursula has also developed a rivalry with McNick. The tennis team has also developed an alternative rivalry with Mount Notre Dame. Different sports have tough competition from a variety of schools, and is that not also a component of how a rivalry begins? Is a rival not also one of the hardest parts of competition a team will face?
Many students, when asked about the rivalry, have given the response that there are a lot of people on the Ursuline teams that are friends with our athletes, and that a game between us is always fun because we know the girls in green. Many also said that there is a social media war before a game between Ursula and Ursuline, and that those games are usually spirit games. According to Mae Rosenthall of the soccer team, “Both teams think that they are better than each other,” providing even greater interest in the match's outcome. Carlie Campbell of the softball team thought that there was not as significant a rivalry in softball because it wasn’t as big of a sport. Leah Grabowski, a member of the cross country team, commented that, “It’s always nice to have someone to beat,” due to the fierce competition that Ursuline provides.
Despite this rivalry, we are clearly very similar to Ursuline Academy. Our beliefs and our goals are the same, despite different schedules and zip codes. Both our school and theirs aim to teach all of us to be the best Ursuline women we can be. We stem from the same roots, from the same group of brave sisters who blessed us both with a school that is right for us, no matter which we've chosen.
Cross country runners get to spend a fair amount of time with the Ursuline girls and have the opportunity to get to know the other girls, exchanging wishes of luck and congratulations before and after meets. Flowers, candy, or even a card may be exchanged from time to time in any sport when a major accomplishment is achieved such as a championship in a tournament or state finals. The cross country team has been wearing bows in honor of Jordan, the Ursuline student who recently passed away.
Rivalries can cause unjustified negative feelings for others as a whole, but they can bring us together as well. When the final whistle blows, we all succeed and celebrate together as one family of Ursuline sisters.