If there is any football game the student body should care about, it's the Monon Bell Game. I suppose it's important to preface my opinion by saying that you have to care (at least a little bit) about football, and, more specifically, DePauw's football team.
If you are apathetic toward one or both of these things, then this opinion doesn't really apply to you. However, if you enjoy football and consider yourself a supporter, then please read on.
Put simply, Wabash College students cared more than we did. They filled their respective stands and made their presence known with chants and cheers. Sure, we did too, but we go to school here. We only have to walk a little distance, and we are there.
Perhaps it was the bright red of the Wabash crowd, but they stood out much more than we did. Throughout the entire game, the Wabash crowd seemed lively and excited to be there. The bell never stopped ringing. Wabash never stopped reminding us who had the Bell.
Wabash didn't even get complacent, really, not even when they have a one loss record and a four-consecutive Monon Bell Game win streak. Wabash's success didn't stop them, and our failures made us indifferent.
I got the sense, after talking to various friends throughout the week about the game, that most people thought the game would be a blowout, or at the very least, we had no real chance of winning. It's hard to explain, but these sorts of rivalry games are quite different from regular season games. DePauw hates Wabash, and they hate DePauw.
The Bell is their Lombardi trophy, and the victory is legendary. Regular season records and statistics become marginalized compared to the passion and intensity. Speculation isn't really that important or relevant-it's all about the game that Saturday, not the tailgate.
I'm not trying to tell people what to care about or what they should go to, but I will say the game is worth our attention. The Monon Bell Game is quintessential DePauw, and to ignore the game completely just isn't fair to your DePauw experience.
It isn't fair to the football team, either. They work hard all season for this one game. Missing some regular season games is one thing, but missing the Bell Game is disrespectful to the players. When we host the game, when Wabash students have to drive to our turf, we should be the loudest, most excited fans-not Wabash.
It's easy to forget about a team if they don't have a good record, but it should also be easy to care about a team when they play in a rivalry game that represents our school. Having a strong support group is critical for the players, especially during crunch time. Football is a game of preparation and practice. The players dedicate so much of their time to this game only to have their fans leave at halftime.
The game is bigger than the tailgate, bigger than the alumni returning and bigger than the nap that follows it. Our football program is only getting better with each year. I'm sure I'm not alone when I say that we can surely win the Bell within the next few years. I just don't look forward to the bandwagoning and sudden excitement from our student body when we do it.
We are bound to win the Bell here soon, and I know DePauw will be excited. I just hope they won't be excited for the wrong reasons.
- Weilhammer is a sophomore English Writing major from Indianapolis, Ind.