Leave it on the field: School allegiance does not determine character

Nise's Notes
by Denise Schoppe

The Marlin Democrat
October 19, 2005


It is no big secret that I graduated Texas A&M University and thus am a die-hard Aggie. I stand proudly for my school and consider it an honor to be part of the Aggie family.

However, I also have a lot of respect for all other schools. Rivalries that exist on the field and who wins the game does not interpret the level of education and worth of a school. I have friends that attend a wide range of universities around the state and around the country. They are all good schools, and you choose your school due to you own personal set of “requirements.” However, I firmly believe that when you earn your diploma from a school, you’ve worked hard for it and earned it. It doesn’t matter if you attended the University of Texas, Harvard, or Florida State. You earned that degree, and where you earned it does not determine your stature in society. Your character does.

I have a friend who is a die-hard Longhorn, and we tease each other mercilessly about being on opposing sides of a long-standing rivalry. Put us in a room together, and the “insults” fly almost non-stop. However, its done with a high level of respect for one another, and we know that the colors we wear on our shirts do not determine the person that we each are. At the end of the day, we will shake hands and go our separate ways with a grin. We laugh over our good-natured ribbing and know that it’s something that we will always do, it just gets a little worse during football season.

However, this last weekend I encountered someone from another school who did not good-naturedly tease due to rivalry. Those same “insults” that could be flung back and forth with laughter due to the underlying respect with my friend, were flung with malice and a “better than you” attitude. A two minute conversation left me with a bad taste in my mouth, and my blood pressure sky-high. There is no reason to judge someone based on the school they attend/attended and to treat them as if they were an idiot for not being on the same side of the field as yourself. This person tarnished my opinion of them, and what respect I’d had went out the window in a look and a few words. They failed to look past my Aggie ring and maroon shirt; they let a school rivalry determine how they treated me in a private setting far away from our respective campuses.

I often jokingly say I have two strikes against me: I’m blonde and I’m an Aggie, referring to the stereotypes associated with those groups. However, give me a chance to prove that I’m not dumb and I do have a little common sense. Don’t judge me before you know me.

While I am using school rivalry as my example, this is a problem that exists all over. It exists between political parties, gender relations, race relations, religions, and in business dealings. There is a serious lack of respect in the world today. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but having an opinion doesn’t mean its right to treat someone like dirt because they do not agree with your way of thinking.

I’m not a Longhorn fan and I never will be, but you’ll not hear me put someone else down because they are (not outside of playful teasing, of course). They have a right to their beliefs and allegiances just as I have a right to mine. Even though the two beliefs are different, it doesn’t make me right and them wrong or visa versa.
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