The Tattler

The Tattler

The Importance of Rivalries

For better or for worse, rivalries are a huge part of the game for B-CC athletic teams.
Jude Wilkenfeld
Rivalries at BCC.

For better or for worse, rivalries are a huge part of the game for B-CC athletic teams. Not only do rivalries promote school spirit and motivate players, but games against rival teams are usually more entertaining. Still, safety has been a concern at some of these games due to the passionate spectators and the long history of competition between the players. At times, these tensions have boiled over into violence in an attempt for teams to demonstrate their dominance. 

How do rivalries develop at B-CC? 

The biggest rivals tend to be the schools that are the nearest in proximity. Some of the Barons’ greatest rivals are Walt Whitman High School and Walter Johnson High School—both of which are located in Bethesda within six miles of B-CC. These teams often include athletes who have played against B-CC students for years on travel teams. Athletes in travel organizations such as Bethesda Soccer and B-CC Baseball play travel sports as early as seven years old. 

Junior Katie Mao said, “I play travel soccer, and my teammates from my travel team attend Whitman and WJ.” 

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When playing rival teams with familiar players, some students become particularly riled up, wanting to show their travel teammates whose school is superior. “My summer baseball team has several players from WJ and Whitman, so I was particularly amped up when I pitched against both those schools,” said Senior Bobby Burk.

What is so different about playing a rival?

The Association for Psychological Science backs up Mao and Burk’s perspective, stating, “Rivalry occurs between people who already know each other and who take their history of past interactions into account in competition.” This evidently helps the players’ performance. In fact, Premier Sport Psychology, a competitive sports psychology service, reports that rivals are “our best motivators,” adding, “rivalry increases both effort and performance.”

Senior Dean Hammerman said, “I always try my best, but when I face our rivals, I can’t help but try even harder.” Senior Pierce Tewksbury added, “The best games our baseball team has played this season also happen to be ones against our rivals—Whitman and WJ.” Varsity Baseball had two big wins this season against both WJ and Whitman, winning 8-5 and 7-3.

Safety Concerns

While rivalries can be a part of healthy competition, safety issues sometimes arise when playing a rival. The 2023-2024 Varsity Football season ended its first game with a blow-out fight between the Barons and the Walter Johnson Wildcats. Athletic Director Mr. Krawczel finds that games involving rivals undoubtedly bring more fans and spectators. Therefore, security is increased and proactive measures are in place to prevent any harm. Krawczel said, “At the end of the day, we want our athletes, students, and families safe—it is just a game.”

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About the Contributor
Jude Wilkenfeld
Jude Wilkenfeld, Staff Photographer
Jude Wilkenfeld is a junior at B-CC. His favorite sports are baseball, football, and golf.

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