If you’re looking for what is wrong about UR sports, maybe you should have traveled several hours east on the Thruway last Saturday afternoon. SUNY Cortland hosted Ithaca College in the Cortaca Jug, the biggest Division III College Football game in the nation. Think of it as a D-Day in frigid November with a football war sandwiched in between a 7 a.m. beer pong tournament and a late night kegger to end the festivities.
The Cortaca Jug brought students of the opposite ends of the economic and social spectrum together in the same stands. It pitted students who could be typified as wealthy Abercrombie wearing, Dave Matthews jamming, spoiled preppies from IC, who rolled up in their SUV’s from their $30,000 a year school to tailgate on a campus that charges its students fifteen times less and has more steroid abusers than a Monday Night Raw event, enough GHB–the date rape drug–for Darryl Russell and Sebastian Janikowski to use on their dates for the rest of their careers, and enough physical education majors to fill every gym class in China. If you didn’t expect a near riotous situation, your name is either Gandhi or Mother Theresa.
“I am actually scared to go there,” Ithaca junior Christopher Normile said before the game. “Cortland students are unable to distinguish right from wrong.”
Nearly 9,000 tickets were sold two weeks before the game even started. Students from Ithaca were so desperate to get to the game, that they purchased counterfeit tickets from scalpers in the hours before the battle. What UR student in their right mind would purchase a ticket to see a Yellowjacket game?
The mass consumption of alcohol and wild, belligerent behavior didn’t stop once the game started. The fans were so inebriated that they probably weren’t even cheering for their own team. “The Cortland cheerleaders were on mid-field, when out of nowhere I saw a student run onto the field and gently slap a cheerleader on her backside,” Ithaca junior Bryan Poole said. “The student made it five feet away from the bleachers before he was tackled by security guards.”
The fans in the stands were missing a game that was nearly as intense as the Army-Navy rivalry. The only thing that Ithaca and Cortland share is hate for one another. This year’s affair was especially heated as Cortland had dropped the last two contests. For the seniors, a victory over the Bombers would erase the misery of the previous two years.
UR football has no rivalry that remotely resembles the tenacity of the Cortaca Jug. The proximity of the schools, the tradition of their football teams and their economic diversity is what makes the Jug special.
Although an instant rivalry cannot be forged between UR and one of its opponents, there is a school that could be Ithaca’s Cortland for the Yellowjackets. That school is St. John Fisher.
I remember sitting in the stands for a thrilling Fisher-UR barnburner my freshman year. The game went back and forth for four quarters with the Yellowjackets finally scoring the winning touchdown in the final seconds. Throughout the fourth quarter we taunted the Fisher fans with chants of “It’s alright, It’s okay, you will work for us someday,” and “SAT-SAT-SAT.” The Fisher fans responded intelligently by starting a physical altercation in the stands.
Perhaps the two schools could get together and start an annual Rochester Cup. . Obviously, the game wouldn’t compare to the Cortaca Jug now, but maybe in fifty years or so the teams could both improve to the level of Ithaca and Cortland.
The Cup could be a selling point to recruits, as what football star wouldn’t want to play in a heated rivalry in front of 10,000 or so fans. Besides, what UR student wouldn’t have the urge to steal The Cup when it would be in the possession of the opposing school.
For those concerned, Cortland won the game 16-12, with two defensive stands in the final five minutes. It gave SUNY Cortland students an excuse to party even harder. For them, their D-Day takes place in the fall. We need our own version of the Cortaca Jug. I don’t think any student here would be opposed to having a second D-Day each year.