Don’t send my boy to Ripon, a dying mother said
Don’t send my boy to Ripon; I’d rather see him dead
Send him to ol’ Lawrence; it’s better than Grinnell
But rather than at Ripon, I’d see my boy in hellFolks, it’s been a long time since Lawrence football had this much to play for. Not only do the Vikes close out the 2006 campaign on Saturday at home against the hated Red Hawks, but a win guarantees a winning season for the Vikings, most of whom were in diapers the last time Lawrence’s record was weighted left. As far as college football in Appleton, WI goes, this is as exciting as it gets.
The LU/Ripon rivalry has a long, brutal history. It is, in fact, the oldest college football rivalry in the state of Wisconsin, having started way back in 1893. Only three games into the series, there were already inclinations of the game’s significance.
In 1896, ****The Lawrentian**** said of the brutal feelings between the teams, “Such playing will kill football . If Ripon or football must die, we are sorry, but it ought to be Ripon.”
The rivalry doesn’t stop with football. LU-Ripon basketball games the past few years have had all the intensity of Cameron Indoor Stadium, both in Alexander and down the road at the Storzer P.E. Center, Ripon’s court.
In 2004-05, Ripon handed the Vikings their first conference loss on a jumper from Bo Johnson (whose name shall never be said aloud) with two seconds left. That game was in Ripon, and the students rushing the court in the middle of December proved just how seriously Red Hawk fans take the rivalry. By the way, the Vikings beat Ripon twice that season, including in the final game of the MWC tournament.
And the rivalry isn’t just limited to the “fan-friendly trinity” of football and men’s and women’s basketball. Ask a baseball player, a tennis player, a softball player. They’ll all tell you the same thing: Better dead than red.
But I digress. The issue at hand is clearly this: Never since anyone who reads this paper — besides perhaps Goldgar and Warch –came to this fine institution has a Lawrence/Ripon football game meant as much as this one does. Saturday afternoon. 1:00 p.m. Wear Blue.
Lawrence Bleeds Blue: Better Dead Than Red.