Thursday, October 31, 2013

In defense of the wrong school

This editorial in the UL Vermilion has been getting some notice lately — enough to where I'm getting e-mailed or messaged about it at least once a day. In a lot of people's minds, it's very much like something I'd write.

Except it isn't. Not entirely.

I wrote the other day about the ongoing UL-ULM flap over UL's use of "Louisiana" to describe its sports teams. In a nutshell, I said that UL is absolutely entitled to use the state name, as they're already legally doing. My reasoning is that ULM has incorporated its city name into both its academic name and athletic logos, whereas UL carries its city designation only as an obligation and de-emphasizes it as much as possible. Also, UL was the first school to (repeatedly) apply for the name and, as the second-largest university in the state, had the most claim to it. At a time when the football team is getting national exposure and ESPN and others are often confused as to what to call us, it's time to codify it for good. It's not ULL, LAL, Lafayette or anything else outsiders call it that the school itself dislikes. Call it Louisiana. Just like the jerseys legally say. That's the case I think should be made. 

I understand that Katie de la Rosa is being satirical. But I'd honestly feel like a hypocrite if I laughed too hard. At times, her article is as condescending to ULM as LSU often is to UL. And anyone who knows me knows how often I've railed against that. Maybe it's that I'm too many years removed from school rivalries, or perhaps it's the little brother in me, but I don't think such gloating is in good taste (or in appropriately bad taste with a trenchant point). Picking on ULM for being a smaller school trying to assert itself can't be that satisfying. That's been us. It still is us.

But picking on them for having a Burger King that runs out of biscuits because they aren't used to serving a crowd of 30 on a Saturday morning? Fair game. (And true story.)

Picking on them for claiming that no school can wear "Louisiana" on its gear when they used to have it on their football helmet? Go for it!

Duck Dynasty references? Knock yourself out!

There shall be no cap on reminders of how much more culture Lafayette has than Monroe.

And, of course, the fact that they're just plain wrong on this issue, and that it's due to their own actions, can't be ignored.

But in our rivalry, let's no get too big for our britches. After all, we aren't the flagship.

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