Editorial: Where the Lehigh spirit matters


The most Lehigh-spirited week for the most-played college football rivalry is back again – the Lehigh-Lafayette Rivalry.

‘Tis the season of beds storming down the hill, white spray-painted sheets insulting Lafayette hung from the windows of houses and 10 days of a seemingly endless frenzy. 

The Rivalry is the paramount experience for both Lehigh and Lafayette students alike—a 157-year battle over which school is the “best.” 

Fun fact: As Lehigh students coined the term “Le-Laf,” Lafayette students allegedly call it “Laf-Lehigh.” There’s even a fight to determine which school merits the first mention in a nickname.

Last year was unprecedented, as we all know and have heard thousands of times. The Rivalry came to a halt last November due to the pandemic. With that, all of the typical traditions were put on pause alongside the school-spirited celebration that the students all cherished.

The Lehigh-Lafayette game was later played in April, when COVID-19 restrictions were loosened. The Rivalry never once stopped otherwise, not even for any war. 

Lehigh has won 71 games, whereas Lafayette has won 80 – plus five ties, back when overtime didn’t exist.

This season, Lehigh football had a slow start. Yet, the team is beginning to pick up, winning their last two games.

Much like us coming back for our first in-person semester in over a year, we had a shaky start – forgetting the insandouts of physically attending school. Eventually, we found our footing as the semester progressed. 

With the pandemic (and ourselves) in recovery, we’re finally here, hand-in-hand, to take on this rivalry with high spirits.

As we draw near the end of our 10-day celebration, we inch closer to the game itself this Saturday. For the 157th time, it’s time to (try to) beat Lafayette. 

The Rivalry is the one distinguished and noteworthy tradition that we can claim as ours in the college sports world. 

Although Lehigh’s sports are Division I, we don’t generally have the reputation of being considered a “sports school.” Our school-spirit culture differs vastly compared to colleges such as Penn State or the University of Pittsburgh.

With the exception of The Rivalry, there’s minimal sports-related school spirit. No game-day celebrations, no huge tailgates and no sold-out games. 

There’s nothing wrong with not having the year-round, school-spirited culture that some other schools have. It’s not a culture we can own. It’s simply not what Lehigh is or will ever be.

Nonetheless, for just one week in the entire year, we can call ourselves a sports school. This time of year is as spirited as it gets for Lehigh.

No one aside from ourselves and Lafayette can say that their school plays in arguably the biggest college football rivalry in the nation. 

Is The Rivalry not the prime opportunity to experience the sports-school energy?

The week of The Rivalry is a treasured Lehigh tradition. Thousands of alumni and families return every year to celebrate. 

Although, year after year, the game itself is left in the dark, with the student section close to bare from the lack of attendees. 

Is the game not what the celebration is all about? Should that not be the place where we exert our spirit?

For the one esteemed college-sports related event that we can call our own, we don’t give it the appreciation it deserves. 

This opportunity only comes once every year. The Rivalry is more than celebrating on the outskirts – it’s about celebrating the actual rivalry itself. 

The pandemic stopping our celebration last November proves anything can happen –you never know when this opportunity will come again. Now’s the time to engage with a quintessential Lehigh experience.

If you don’t, you could miss out on something you’d remember for years into the future.

Show your Lehigh spirit and attend the game while you still can. This week could be your only chance to take advantage of an experience that’s characteristic of our school and our school only (and to Lafayette, we guess). 

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