With the famous Lehigh-Lafayette football game rapidly approaching, students all across campus are uniting against their biggest rival in various ways, from banners trashing the opposing school to the annual Bed Races.
However, some students have siblings at Lafayette College, and for them, The Rivalry goes deeper than just the game.
Megan Gibbons, ’20, and her younger sister Lexi Gibbons have an athletic rivalry of their own, as Megan plays for the Lehigh women’s lacrosse team while Lexi plays for Lafayette’s.
Lexi said she had only considered going to Lafayette, but when Megan committed to Lehigh, the idea of a rivalry made Lafayette more appealing.
“I think the fact that (Lafayette is Lehigh’s) rival school made me want to go there even more,” Lexi said. “We’re sisters, there’s always a competitive side to us so the fact that we’d be going to rival schools made it 100 times more interesting and cool.”
While they said it is fun to go to rival schools in close proximity to one other, Megan and Lexi ultimately chose their respective schools based on their interests.
Megan is an engineering student whereas Lexi is a business student at Lafayette.
“We aren’t the same people by any means, so going to each school was just what fit each of us best,” Megan said.
Since the Gibbons sisters are not only school rivals, but also play on opposing lacrosse teams, the competition between them is even more fierce than the average Lehigh-Lafayette sibling pair.
“We just had a scrimmage against each other a couple of weeks ago and it was crazy competitive,” Lexi said. “It felt like we couldn’t even speak to each other. Our coaches are friends but that day they weren’t. It was insane but really fun.”
For Spencer Leuba, ’20, and his twin sister, Chace, who attends Lafayette, The Rivalry only comes into play the week before the big game.
Spencer said he believes he is enjoying the Le-Laf week festivities more than Chace is at Lafayette.
“I don’t think The Rivalry heats up until Le-Laf week and we’re making banners,” Spencer said. “Usually I’m having a lot more fun than she is.”
Chace said her parents handle The Rivalry game by sitting on the home team’s side while wearing both Lehigh and Lafayette apparel.
“They definitely get a lot of funny looks from the crowd on game day, but that’s how they balance it out I guess,” Chace said.
Gena Grundhoffer, ’20, who is originally from Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin, said the fact that she and her brother Joe go to rival schools is not a big deal at home, but it is when they’re in Pennsylvania.
When they are home, only their friends and family tease the siblings about The Rivalry, according to Gena.
“If I tell people around here that my brother goes to Lafayette they look disgusted, and it’s really funny,” Gena said.
Celebrating The Rivalry is not always straightforward for Gena, though, as Joe plays on Lafayette’s football team.
This dilemma can be confusing for Gena during Le-Laf week, as she is torn between supporting her brother or her school.
“I want Joe to do well because when he does good things I get excited, but at the same time I go to Lehigh and I want my school to win so I can rub it in his face,” Gena said.
Joe said his parents cheer for Lafayette during football season and Lehigh during basketball season, since Gena is on the Lehigh women’s basketball team.
She said their younger sister is indifferent on who to root for in The Rivalry.
Isabel Mallavarapu, ’19, and her sister, Ann, who goes to Lafayette, each handle The Rivalry a little differently.
“The Rivalry is fun, but I think (Ann) takes it more seriously than I do because I would joke about it and she’d actually get offended whereas if she says something I wouldn’t take it too seriously,” Isabel said.
Ann takes The Rivalry to a new level.
“I bought my sister one of those shirts that say ‘Lehigh’ on the front and ‘because I couldn’t get into Lafayette’ on the back,” Ann said. “She put it in her closet and wore (it) all day by accident, thinking it was a Lehigh shirt.”
In terms of who is going to win the game, the answer is split.
“Oh Lafayette, roll ‘pards!” Joe said. Megan, on the other hand, thinks Lehigh will be the obvious winner.
Ann agreed with Joe, unquestioningly supporting Lafayette in the big game.
“Lehigh by a million,” Spencer said. “Because we’re Lehigh, and because they’re Lafayette.”