The reason behind the rivalry: Why Bethel and St. Thomas sports fans just don't get along

April 10, 2013 | 11 a.m.

The competition between the two MIAC contenders may have started in football but has reared its head in spring sports

Sports | Jenny Hudalla

Why Bethel sports fans love to hate St. Thomas

The rivalry between Bethel and St. Thomas escalates each year.

From the moment they step on campus, Bethel students are taught to dislike St. Thomas more than any other team in the MIAC. Season after season, the Tommies always seem to be the team to beat. Bethel’s football, basketball and hockey teams all fell to St. Thomas this year, who led the conference in all three sports. As spring sports swing into action, the Tommies again claim their reputation as a conference powerhouse in baseball and softball. In fact, St. Thomas has lost just three MIAC softball games in the past three years. Mix in the fact that the Tommies have also made it to the NCAA basketball final four, and it becomes easier and easier to see why they rub Royals the wrong way.

Indeed, what began as an intense football rivalry between neighboring schools has evolved into a full-scale athletic emnity. During Royal-Tommie showdowns, opposing fans hurl insults at the other side of the field and at each other. Players compete with more passion and energy. Coaches become more and more animated on the sidelines. But for what? Why are we suddenly gripped with the innate desire to crush St. Thomas when we become Royals? These Bethel students offered some answers.

“Because they’re rich. They play in a castle. And I heard they’re building a moat.” – Buck O’Flanagan, junior

“They’re one of the least creative teams in the MIAC. The St. John’s Johnnies. The Augsburg Auggies. The St. Thomas Tommies. Really? Can’t come up with anything better than that?” – Ben Price, sophomore

“Because they have this mentality that they’re God’s gift to the earth. News flash: they’re not.” – Haley Kuffel, sophomore

“Because they’re all way better looking than I am.” – Jesse Phenow, junior

“It’s always fun to beat the rich, overrated, over-populated school.” – Grace Thompson, sophomore

“Because they have too many weight rooms. My uncle went there, and now he drives boats like a crazy person and has no hair.” – Shane O’Rourke, junior

"Because they’re good at football?” – Alex Ashbaugh, freshman

"They have a jumbotron in their gym. Who wants to watch themselves play?" – Kelly Van Wyk, junior

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