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Sports: Heart of the conflict

Jesus hates Eastern, according to a poster held by Cabrini fans at the Eastern-Cabrini men’s basketball game last February.

Indeed, harsh words and a general feeling of hostility have become commonplace when the athletic teams of Eastern and Cabrini clash.

“Without question, Cabrini is our biggest rival,” Eastern’s Athletic Director Harry Gutelius said.

In a rivalry where even the mascots get involved there is clearly some heat on the fire. As part of a crowd pleaser, the Eastern Eagle and the Cabrini Cavalier (a musketeer-looking mascot equipped with a sword in his hand), have been known to square off during sporting events between the schools.

“[The rivalry] is way too intense,” Eastern’s mascot said. “It stems more off of vandalizing each other’s schools. All of the vandalism involved just costs us more money in tuition.”

Without the convenient narrow gap of a road between Eastern and Cabrini, there would unlikely be so many acts of violence inflicted on each other’s campuses and likewise there would be less of a rivalry.

Unbeknownst to many of the students on both campuses is the fact that Eastern’s and Cabrini’s athletic departments share a tight and cooperative relationship.

Cabrini’s baseball club, for instance, practices on Eastern’s baseball field since they do not have a field of their own. Vice versa, Eastern’s swim club is given permission to practice at Cabrini’s pool facilities.

In the past, when both schools have undergone construction, the athletic departments have generously opened their doors to allow the other school access to their athletic fields.

Despite vandalism and provocative signs, Eastern’s and Cabrini’s rivalry can better be defined by its fiercely competitive nature.

“I view it as a very friendly rivalry,” Gutelius said. “It’s like playing your brothers or your sisters. You don’t want to lose.”

For the record, Cabrini won 10 of the 16 meetings between the two schools in ’05-’06, while both schools have won three of their six meeting with each other this year.

Over the years, the level of competition has risen between the two schools, as evidenced by the major upsets that have taken place.

As an example, Eastern’s nationally ranked field hockey team went into their game with Cabrini this season undefeated at 8-0 in conference play and were defeated in overtime on Oct. 11th by Cabrini’s team, which finished their season sixth in the PAC at 7-4.

“It’s been a true rivalry in that the team that’s supposed to win doesn’t always win,” Gutelius said.

Aside from the hard-to-avoid exchange of unpleasant game comments between athletes, Eastern and Cabrini still hold to the concept of sportsmanship when playing each other.

It’s the hope of all athletic directors, coaches and staff that both sides embrace and shake hands at the finale of each game, demonstrating good spirits and class.

The competition between the schools is fierce, but to speak of hatred is a little too extreme.

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