It’s all up for grabs once again Saturday as the cross-state rivals at Montana’s largest institutions meet on the gridiron for the 110th time.
The Griz-Cat, Cat-Griz game in any sport draws a thick line in the sand, but, while other sports develop their own traditions, when your cousins have been sitting at the Thanksgiving table for that many years the fur is bound to fly at some time during the encounter.
Everybody has an opinion.
Some say both the University of Montana and Montana State University are in-state schools and, while rivals, a fan should root for the other school unless they are competing against each other.
Others would tell you they can’t and won’t cheer for the opposing school no matter who they are playing. And there are those who could not care less about the outcome – because they have a mixed family of graduates from both institutions – just as long as it is a good game and no one is seriously injured.
For my part – and most of you already know this – I enjoy stirring the proverbial pot.
No, there’s never been a Cat-Griz game as far as I’m concerned. And, there’s never been a Husky-Cougar game either, but that’s from another time in my life.
I’m quick to point it out in conversation if you say it the “wrong” way and even have been known, in the case of a well known Ronan watering hole (you know who you are, after all), to make it known on a statewide network that their sign was wrong.
And I’ll guarantee you Julie never will make that mistake again!
Really fans, it’s all in good fun. But I understand when former players, coaches and the like say they dislike the opposing team and could never wish them to be successful.
I think the rivalry grew bitter after the Grizzlies began to dominate the annual matchup and, it almost got to the point, that it wasn’t even fun any more. And isn’t that why we are so enamored with sports anyway?
Games are just a diversion from everyday challenges and, in the grand scheme of things, maybe we should just take a step back, take a deep breath and remember there are far more important things than any athletic event.
Bragging rights, recruiting prowess, chiding opportunities, playful bets. Oh, you bet that should all be part of it, and in so many cases it’s about conference supremacy and playoff opportunities.
My buddies Gurns and Pinkie tell me if I played in the game I’d look at it differently, but I’m not so sure. I guess I’ve just mellowed from experience.
Yes, that does mean I’m getting let’s see more mature. Nah, not so much.
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