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Will Rice approval unnecessary for cohesion

By Graham West     4/12/12 7:00pm

For a moment, reading Eddie Reyes's editorial "Will Rice Stays Strong During Beer Bike" reminded me of an episode from NBC's "The Office" entitled "Conflict Resolution." In the show, office prankster Jim Halpert reads through an HR file of complaints made against him by the perpetual butt of his jokes, co-worker and pseudo-nemesis Dwight Schrute. As the list of hilarious shenanigans trails on, the audience notices a tinge of discomfort in Jim's voice as he mutters to the camera, "You know, these actually don't sound that funny one after another." I very honestly caught myself asking myself: "Is it all too much?" Are we too excessive in our mock loathing of the good men and women of Will Rice College during Willy Week?

But thank goodness for the rest of the editorial, because by the time I finished reading, I remembered why Will Rice is the college that the rest of campus loves to hate during Willy Week. The easy answer - the folks who win the most always take the most heat - certainly applies in this situation. However, there are problems with the condescension expressed towards every other college on campus in Eddie's editorial beyond simply being what could be described as "sore winners."

One could write an entire editorial regarding how unprofessional it is for a former college president to hint at "candid confessions" from his colleagues (no doubt made in confidence) in order to make a sweeping negative generalization about the culture of other colleges on campus. The remarkable thing here is that Will Rice is presented as beyond reproach, apparently the only college with no social strife or internal troubles at a university otherwise apparently plagued by a lack of cohesion.

You too could have "debate," "art" and "culture," we are assured, if only you cared a bit more about this bike race of ours. I'm afraid one must have something other than a bicycle seat wedged uncomfortably between his or her asscheeks to deny the existence of problems in one's own college and hold oneself up as the paragon of unity and community in such unapologetically pompous terms.

It is egotism in the highest order: the very epitome of that arrogance that leads the rest of us peasants to roll our eyes at the "Myth, Power and Value" of Will Rice - to suggest that rivalry with your college is what holds mine together. I've got some shocking news for anyone on this campus who holds that same opinion: I bleed black, white, red and gold for Sid Richardson College, and it doesn't have a damn thing to do with any building on this campus shorter than 13 stories. And that's what it all leads up to, the big reveal: No college, not even the great Will Rice, gets to define what spirit, tradition and value mean for another.

Your traditions may very well be steeped in the "bonds of sportsmanship" forged in the fiery suffering of your annual Willy Week persecution. That's just fine but "different" isn't the same thing as "worse," and it certainly isn't the same as "nonexistent." If "continu[ing] to try" is how you get your kicks, then by all means, carry on. But I'll keep my Orc Raids, '80s, mashed potato fights, disqualifications, Boone's Farm, School Girls, Balcony Ball, and Beer Debates with the best masters and resident associates on campus, thanks. My four years at Sid Richardson have been the best time of my life and that has everything to do with the people, institutions and memories crafted within this college.

And last (and in accordance with the Rice-wide running joke, least), if this is Will Rice's collective reaction to being the university's antagonists-for-a-week, I shudder to think how the poor dears would fare had they been sorted into Martel College. Maybe the self-righteously offended at Will Rice would do well to adopt the stoic attitude of the dorm full of good sports up north and remember that, at the end of the day, the rivalries and saber-rattling of the college system really aren't meant to be taken all that seriously.

Graham West is a Sid Richardson College senior

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