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Clevenger Blog: Friendship through rivalry

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

The Lipscomb track & field teams will remain in Nashville this week as they compete in the Vanderbilt Invitational. This week John Clevenger reflects on last weekend’s efforts and how to develop friendships through rivalries.

This past weekend there were three gangs of the LU Track & Field team. The first team was a group of our sprinters and some jumpers who traveled down to Ole Miss to compete.  The second team was my team of throwers and vaulters competing at Tennessee State University, and the final team was a mostly distance squad that was resting.

The Boston-Moon Invite at TSU is always a strange atmosphere because it is a collegiate meet that doubles as a high school meet. It is so fun to see the high schoolers compete as their family and friends all cheer them on. They don’t always post the most impressive marks, but the energy that they bring to the entire meet is so cool. Usually, Lipscomb University is the loudest team at a meet, but not at this one.

There were so many other cool things going on at Boston-Moon. This meet does not generally have the stiffest competition, so Lipscomb is usually able to post more top-performances with greater ease than at some of the larger meets.

Another awesome aspect is that Belmont is in the same boat. They are generally better than the other competition at this meet so it almost turns many of the events into a duel between the two rivals. Since neither school has a home track meet, it becomes our own make shift “Battle of the Boulevard”.

I have a really good friend on Belmont’s team. He is their javelin thrower and his name is Collier Richards. He got the better of me in our shared event as he took first and I got second. But he and I congratulated each other on our performances.  We wished each other luck as we are going to be throwing against each other at Vanderbilt next week.

The Belmont throwers, at least the guys that I know, are a good group of guys. They are athletic, competitive, and always demonstrate the highest level of sportsmanship.

Whether they win or lose, they are respectful and encouraging. They have several guys who throw the discus, hammer, and shot put and they compete against our very own Houston Ward. He can beat them in the shot and disc, but they outperform him in the hammer. But all of the”Belmont Boys” and Houston get along really well. I can always see them cracking each other up and having fun.

The Lipscomb thrower guys just sat with the Belmont thrower guys for the longest time just chitchatting and conversing. We were enjoying the beauty that comes from an in-city rivalry, and that is seeing each other so frequently that we transcend the limits of competition and school spirit. I consider these guys as friends and I know that they likewise see us in a shared light.

I know that the Bisons are looking forward to some stiff competition at Vanderbilt, and I know that our rivals and our friends the Bruins are looking to push us to higher performances.