Friendly Competition or Cold Hatred?
Nowhere else is interfraternal competition more apparent than on the field or court of any given sporting event. Almost any night of the week, one can go to the Anteater Recreation Center and witness a sporting event between two fraternities. These events range in size from a few members of the fraternity to multiple chapters including those not participating, as well as sororities uniting to show their support for one of the competing teams.
What most people don’t know is that sports are a major part of fraternal life and winning a game means bragging rights over the defeated fraternity—while losing a game is a major hit to the ego of the fraternity. In the end, it is all about the distinguished Sports Trophy. But do rivalries ever find their way off playing fields of the ARC?
It depends on the situation and the fraternities involved. The level of animosity between two fraternities usually determines how rough the game will be. Will a flagrant foul from the soccer game the night before spark a verbal or even physical confrontation the following day?
Some Greek members feel that competition off the field is unnecessary.
‘As an older member I feel that fraternity rivalries [off the field] are childish. There is no reason to fight,’ said Niraj Shah, a fourth-year international studies major and member of Sigma Phi Epsilon. ‘A major factor of being Greek is networking, which should not be restricted to that person’s fraternity.’
‘Rivalries are stupid, [but you] can’t stop rivalries,’ said an anonymous member of Kappa Sigma. ‘Sports are about trying to be better than the other team. Competition is healthy. Why play if there is no competition?’
The saying that ‘competition is healthy’ is true. Therefore, what are some ways to quell the animosity between Greek members? The answer isn’t simple. There are extenuating factors that contribute to the lack of inter-fraternal unity.
‘I think Greek members prefer to stay within their own groups,’ stated the Kappa Sigma member. ‘We need to take them out of their fraternity comfort zone and put them in an environment where they are surrounded with other Greek members they don’t know.’
What is a way to accomplish this nearly impossible task?
‘There should be less [Interfraternity Council] rules because the more rules there are, the more competition there is to get other fraternities in trouble,’ said Ben Harris, a fourth-year criminology, law and society major and member of Phi Kappa Psi.
Another thought was to have ‘fraternity pairings for competitions such as Songfest and even sports,’ the anonymous Kappa Sigma said.
‘You should get to know a person before you label them. As an older member, I [now] see Greeks for who they are,’ Harris said.
When comparing UC Irvine and the fraternity scene to surrounding schools and their fraternities, it’s disheartening to see that we are lacking in interfraternal relations and, even worse, communication. For example, Cal State Fullerton finished Greek Week several weeks ago, and their campus was an all-out social scene for the entire week.
Above all, every Greek member has something to contribute regardless of the fraternity they’re from and anyone who limits themselves to just their own fraternity is sorely missing out on getting to know unique and interesting people.