Rivalries always add to the excitement of competition. In sports, there is no better feeling than the one you get after beating your most hated opponent. We see that in basketball with the Lakers and Celtics. We see that in baseball with the the Red Sox and Yankees and we even see that in soccer with Real Madrid and FC Barcelona.
For the longest time, UC Riverside has lacked that kind of rivalry. Now, with the creation of the Riverside Mission Cup, UCR will finally get that rival with cross-divisional opponent California Baptist University.
It’s an exciting move by both campuses, but to be completely honest, I have mixed feelings about it.
For starters, CBU is in a lower division than UCR. The competition the Lancers face is not as tough as the ones the Highlanders go through each and every week. I think the win column will easily be lopsided in UCR’s favor. That kind of takes the excitement away.
Secondly, it feels a little too forced. With other rivalries, there is some sort of history involved. UCR and Cal Baptist rarely play against each other so there really isn’t much to add to the thrill of competition.
On a positive note, however, the interesting part of the rivalry is that these two universities are located in the same city. In a community as big as Riverside, it might actually be a good idea to integrate the residents of the city in some form or another. After all, we all know very well that UCR could benefit from more and more community involvement. A cross-town rivalry could do just that.
Although I may not be too thrilled about who our rival will be, I am pretty excited about the potential the Riverside Mission Cup has. If nothing else, this rivalry could bring new life to the community and in turn, to the sports program here at UCR.