Growing up in Norwood can be tough on a young Bearcats fan. All throughout grade school, I was surrounded by Xavier fans. My family had two UC flags stolen by (drunken) Xavier fans. I became well-accustomed to the many Bob Huggins/UC thugs jokes, but I never went down without a fight. I remember being very happy when I first saw Kenny Frease playing for Musketeers, because it allowed me the opportunity to make hunchback jokes. I always looked up stats to try to help myself in arguments-you would be surprised at how many former Xavier players are or were in jail. The most important stat, however, was all-time record in head-to-head matchups (UC leads, 49-32) and, of course, number of national championships (UC has 2, and Xavier (sort of) has 1, just like the sort of used to have a football team). It is all good-natured, but I love trading jabs with our Crosstown foes.
When I was in grade school, my mom made me go to Xavier basketball camp since it was much cheaper than UC’s basketball camp and because we lived so close to Xavier. I was very mad at her, so I decided to wear the first jersey I ever received, a Jason Maxiell jersey, to camp at the end of the week. One of my friends , who was a diehard Xavier fan, decided to point me out to Stanley Burrell. As I was walking off the court, I heard my friend call me over to talk with Stanley. Naturally, I thought he wanted to tell Stanley what a baller I was (8th grade “B” team pride!). Instead, I was met with smack talk. Nothing out of the ordinary, but still a lot of fun nonetheless. I thought that was the end of it, until I was called over to talk to Sean Miller. He told me that they would get me a nice XU shirt and I asked him a few questions. I remember asking him if he liked Mick Cronin, and he said that he was friends with Mick off the court and that he enjoyed golfing with him. Needless to say, I won the best-dressed award (at least in my own mind).
This year, I attended my second Crosstown Shootout/Beatdown/”Classic.” Unfortunately, I am now 1-1, and I endured many in-game texts from Xavier fans wanting to rub it in. Everything went wrong for us, but I still have pride in my Bearcats. We took a beating (in multiple ways) two years ago with the infamous brawl, but we came back stronger and we made it to a Sweet 16. I’m not saying that our young team this year will go that far, but the season is still young and there is much reason for optimism. I have learned over the years that, while important, the Crosstown “Classic” is just one game. One game doesn’t define a season, win or lose. If you win the “Classic,” it can be tough to realize that your team still has plenty of faults. If you lose, you must learn to take a deep breath and realize that it isn’t the end of the world.
It can be tough to remember this, especially since I have to drive by Xavier every day on my way to school. It is my constant reminder that there is always another opportunity to take down our dastardly foes, albeit it is another year away. Just remember, my Xavier friends, I stop for all crosswalks, except for yours! What kind of idiotic institution puts a crosswalk on the middle of a hill? Let the jabs continue, and always remember, go ‘Cats!