With the UConn Huskies on a hotter than hot run towards another National Championship, debate on Twitter has heated up between UConn students and students at CCSU, SCSU, WCSU and ECSU. The topic? Should you be rooting for UConn.
For me, the answer is an overwhelming yes. I will be the first to understand and comprehend school pride. You should have it and you should hold on to it for the rest of your life. But what about state pride?
Like many others that attend one of the four “lower-tiered” state schools, I grew up a UConn fan. I remember the 1999 and 2004 National Championships and have in the past paid good money to cheer them on. We must not forget that the University of Connecticut is also a public state school that resident money helps partly fund whether they attend the school or not.
I’ve also probably been a UConn football fan longer than you have. My first game? Nov. 4, 2000 in Storrs. Yeah, they haven’t played in East Hartford for that long. I saw the Huskies get beat down by Middle Tennessee State 66-10 and somehow still became hooked on the team, atmosphere and game. I was even at the last game that would ever take place at Storrs and still vividly remember police officers shooting pepper spray in the eyes of harmless fans trying to celebrate a historic moment.
So tell me, why should my allegiance of more than a decade be thrown aside because of the school I decided to attend? While I fully support the Blue Devils in all they do, I went to school for school, not for sports. I got accepted to UConn, and even though I was obsessed with the UConn football and basketball teams at the time I didn’t make my choice based upon that. In fact, I went to another Big East school (St. John’s) before wisely ending up at CCSU.
And don’t even bring up the world rivalry. For whatever reason, UConn hasn’t played CCSU in basketball in what seems like ages and I doubt the Huskies would schedule the Blue Devils as one of their cupcake opponents. The teams, while sharing Division I status in many sports, are worlds apart. Sure, they teams clash (the baseball teams took each other on in last year’s opening round of the College World Series in Norwich), but there is nothing about the games that resemble America’s many other in-state rivalries.
UConn athletics is a Connecticut thing. In a state where pro sports are limited to women’s basketball and minor league hockey and baseball teams, the UConn Huskies are about the only thing that can unite the vast majority of the state as one in the world of sports. Professional baseball, football, basketball and hockey will always be divided and it should stay that way, it makes our state especially unique in the realm of things.
To even begin to tell a student at CCSU or one of the other state schools to remember where they go to school when rooting for UConn is wrong. While the support those students given won’t ever be the same as the support you give, it should be welcomed and not fought. And if UConn students want to feel special, they should. They’re the students, we’re not. You’ll be the alumni, and if that matters to you, congratulations.
Conversely, as long as that CSUS student supports their school in what they do on the field, rink or court, they should feel free to root for the team they grew up watching and not be forced to sit out from cheering because of where they decided to get their education.