Looking Back at the History of “The Game”

Nate Sterling

What is the Record of wins to losses between Randolph Macon and Hampden-Sydney?
ANS: The Hampden-Sydney College Sports Information Director states, “We are up 60-46-11.”
ESPN referred to it as the “Oldest small-school football rivalry in the south” (Preston 1). The it being the rivalry started back in 1893 between Hampden-Sydney’s sister instituition – Randolph Macon, and the beloved Hampden-Sydney (Alumni Record 1955 pg 3). It all began over a baseball game. Our celebrated Dr. John Brinkley wrote on the matter. In his book, On This Hill, there was division amongst the faculty. There was the question of how much the traveling would interfere with collge work. Dr. Brinkley quotes, “such travel not only ‘breaks in on College work and brings [students] into vicious temptations and surroundings, and introduces into the College periodic excitement not promotive of study’” (Brinkley 436). The HSC was not going anywhere, which meant the other Colleges would have to come to HSC. Randolph Macon College was one of these colleges who came. Upon their first meeting, Randolph Macon beat the Hampden-Sydney baseball team 12-6 on November 13, 1893. The oldest had rivalry begun.
The enthusiasm crowds the air of each meeting between the Yellow Jackets and the Tigers. Whenever these two teams meet, the game becomes more than just a game. Randolph Macon provided an article on the October 16th 1910 game in Petersburg, VA that describes on of these meetings as a “feast for Roman eyes if they had been looking down into the arena, for the sight certainly suggested carnage and bloodshed.” The severity of the game can be seen through this excerpt.
Later, in 1913, Randolph Macon refers to Hampden Sydney as the “worst enemy.” Furthermore, a scenic war-like play on words is used to depict this ongoing rivalry – as they write, “With our worst enemy first on the schedule, we marched into the fray, determined to fight, and to fight to the bitter end” (Yellow Jacket Annual 1913). This war was not entirely fictional as the Freshmen acted as guards to ward off any Randolph Macon offenders. Dr. Brinkley reports that Hampden-Sydney Freshmen had the job of guarding the campus before the Randolph-Macon game (Brinkley 735).
In 2008, Henry Preston wrote an article for ESPN on the familiar tension between the two schools. Within this aritcle, Randolph Macon is referred to as “hated” Hampden-Sydney. Preston writes, “Hampden-Sydney College students honored the age-old tradition of tearing down thir own goalposts, in this case celebrating a 24-10 victory over the hated Yellow Jackets from nearby Randolph-Macon College” (Preston 1). The intense build up of emotion has continued on through the the legacy for over 117 years now.
Of course this competitive atmosphere has led to developing some more useful programs. One of these being the Blood Drive the other being the coin drive. So all the hubbub between Randolph Macon and Hampden Sydney isn’t really all for nothing. There actually is benefit from the rivalry besides the thrill the games’ create.


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