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Feud or Rivalry?

Feud or rivalry no matter what you call it?  It’s a war!  In the past we’ve called it feuds and one of the most famous of all feuds was between the Hatfield’s of West Virginia and the McCoy’s of Kentucky.  Now their famous feud started over the ownership of a pig of all things.  That feud lasted between 1878 and 1891.  Today we classify feuds as rivalries and these rivalries have lasted a lot longer than 13 years.

Some of the biggest or may I say most famous sports rivalries of the century can basically be classified by who you are asking.  Ask a boxing fan and they’ll tell you that the Ali – Frazier trilogy was the greatest of all time.  Ask a football fan and if they are from the Philadelphia area like myself they’ll say the entire NFC East, just depends on who the Eagles are playing that week.  Ask a baseball fan and they’ll say the YankeesRed Sox or they may even say the DodgersGiants.  In basketball there is nothing bigger than the Lakers – Celtics, but where I’m from we hate Boston.  Period.

In college athletics it depends on which state you are in.  In North Carolina there’s nothing bigger than DukeCarolina in basketball.  In Los Angeles nothing is more important than the USCUCLA football game.  In the Midwest the biggest football game of the year is always the Ohio StateMichigan game.  The list can go on and on, but the rivalry that is interesting me the most these days is the one between Hampton University and Norfolk State University.

Located in the Southeastern part of Virginia or what we call the “Hampton Roads” area and a mere 16 miles between both campuses and separated by the most congested tunnel on the east coast “The Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel”.  These two universities simply hate each other and both are big customers of mine’s, so I’m in the middle of their feud sometimes too.

HBO will do a documentary on the feuds between Carolina and Duke in basketball or more recently the Ohio State – Michigan war that I watched the other night, but as far as Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) go.  There is nothing bigger than the rivalry between Hampton and Norfolk State in ANY SPORT and can be well documented.

Both were proud members of the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) and with Hampton leaving for the Mid Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) in 1995, not to be outdone, Norfolk State became a member of the MEAC in 1997.  That scenario is so similar to the Dodgers – Giants departures from New York in the late 50’s.  You ask why did the Giants follow the Dodgers out to California?  There is only one answer to that question.  Rivalry.

The National Football League recognized the importance of rivalries when they set up their divisions many years ago that we have grown accustomed to when they kept the Dallas Cowboys in the NFC East.  Again you ask why?  Well because of their rivalry with the Washington Redskins.  Not to mention that the Cowboys are a mere 3 million miles away from the east coast.

Hampton's biggest fan Ms. Thompson and Mr. CIAA dressed in his "Green & Gold" at last years Hampton - Norfolk State basketball game.

Hampton's biggest fan Ms. Thompson and Mr. CIAA dressed in his "Green & Gold" at last year's Hampton - Norfolk State basketball game.

When it comes to Hampton and Norfolk State, it doesn’t matter what the sport is, they hate each other with a passion.  I cover everything for both universities and take my word for it, I’ve seen and heard it all.

The 2009 basketball game at Norfolk State was sold out

The 2009 basketball game at Norfolk State was very close to being sold out.

In football the feud continues at it’s annual showdown on October 17th at Dick Price Stadium on the beautiful campus of Norfolk State.  It’s billed as The State Farm Battle of the Bay.  Last year the Pirates’ of Hampton blew out the Spartans’ of Norfolk State 35 – 17, but in 2007 the Spartans’ upset the Pirates’ 20 – 19 on a last second missed field goal.

Radio & TV host Tom Joyner of "Tom Joyner in the Morning" tossing the coin before the 2008 "Battle of the Bay" won by Hampton 35 - 17.

Radio & TV host Tom Joyner of "Tom Joyner in the Morning" tossing the coin before the 2008 "Battle of the Bay" won by Hampton 35 - 17.

In 2007 the late 4th quarter TD run by Hampton's TJ Mitchell set up the stage for the Pirate's to tie only to have their extra point attempt blocked.  Norfolk State wins 20 - 19.

In 2007 this late 4th quarter TD run by Hampton's TJ Mitchell set up the stage for the Pirate's to tie only to have their extra point attempt blocked. Norfolk State wins 20 - 19.

Basketball is no different either.  Although the Lady Pirates’ have been having their way with the Lady Spartans’ in recent seasons, both programs are going through coaching changes this season.  On the Men’s side the Pirates swept the Spartans during the 07 – 08 season while last year the Spartans returned the favor by sweeping the Pirates in both games.  In these games both the fans, the bands and the cheerleaders do battle as well.

Norfolk State fans show their compasion during last year's basketball game.

Norfolk State fans show their compassion during last year's basketball game.

Not to be outdone the Hampton fateful show their spirit too.

Not to be outdone the Hampton fateful show their spirit too.

Norfolk State fans show how they feel about Hampton

Norfolk State fans show how they feel about Hampton.

These are actually Norfolk State Cheerleaders.

These are actually Norfolk State Cheerleaders.

In Track and Field the Lady Pirates have won 4 straight MEAC Championships while the Men’s squad finished 2 in last years event.  While the Spartan Men won their 4th straight MEAC Championship last season the Lady Spartans’ finished 3rd.

Hampton and Norfolk State sprinting side by side.

Hampton and Norfolk State sprinting side by side.

So, if you aren’t doing anything during the weekend of the 17th of October?  The Pirates’ and Spartans’ get their annual football feud on.  Make your hotel reservations now because it starts off with the “Battle of the Bands” that Friday night.  Then the tailgate party the next morning on the Norfolk State campus, which is something you don’t want to miss either and the kickoff is at 1 o’clock.  You don’t want to miss this feud or may I say rivalry.  I know I won’t.

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