The rivalry is unparalleled. It rages 24/7, 365. It’s not just about football, but boy does the game add fuel to the fire.
Yes, it’s none other than Byrd-Shreve week.
One school unequivocally claims Shreveport as its “City.” The other will simply tell you to look at the enrollment scoreboard and never wear purple to school. This week, the rivalry hits a fever pitch as thousands will pack a venue both call home – Lee Hedges Stadium – on Thursday.
Not only will the two biggest schools in Shreveport, with more than 3,000 students combined (Shreve passed Byrd in enrollment a couple of years ago), take center stage, the city’s two best football programs (combined 6-0) will battle, too.
How can it get better?
The easiest answer of the week. Get rid of the dark side of the rivalry.
Well-over-the-line shenanigans have recently plagued the schools, and they’ve been exacerbated by social media.
Byrd-Shreve has produced some pretty monumental pranks. Once, a live gator was placed on Byrd’s campus. And then there was the time Shreve’s trash cans were filled with bees.
School administrators, and maybe Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, would say those responsible for the high jinx crossed the line. Probably, but in the end, no one was harmed.
Toilet paper will be at a premium this week, and kids and parents all over town will be forced to extract the white stuff from their trees. Hopefully, it won’t rain.
The aforementioned gags can be simply annoying if done right (don’t roll the actual houses as a 2014 fire supposedly proved), but the folks void of conscience and couth – and perhaps supervision — are the real problem.
One tradition embraced by both schools involves often creative, but sometimes nasty posters about the opposing school and/or students.
All the tidbits of gossip from the past year are gathered and disseminated on signs that pop up in public places. The signs certainly aren’t used to congratulate the rival students and administration on honor roll or high test scores.
Last year, horrific posters targeted specific individuals. Nothing was off limits. Some signs hurled insults involving sexual activity, sexual orientation, popularity (or a lack thereof) and suggestions of suicide.
This is not what a rivalry entails. This is criminal.
How about we take the same approach with different material – especially since the old-school pranks have been thwarted by technology and security.
Police patrol the schools 24 hours a day, security cameras have been installed and students aren’t allowed on the campus of their rival.
Now it’s time for parents and the students to monitor things away from the campuses. That’s where the real damage is now being done.
Be witty. Be creative. Carry on with the trash talk, on and off the field of play. Embrace the emotion, but let’s steer clear of the mind-bogging unacceptable behavior.
OK, now who ya got Thursday?
Contact Roy at firstname.lastname@example.org