Sportsmanship does not always have to be boring.
One of the best aspects of college sports is the rivalry. It’s fueled by heated competition on the playing surface, and good nature trash-talk off of it. Rivalries are what keep sports fans coming back for more. While sportsmanship should always be encouraged, there’s room for honesty and a little personality.
In a recent interview with Central Michigan Life, junior guard Crystal Bradford did just that.
“I don’t like Eastern (Michigan),” Bradford said Tuesday. “We all don’t like them. They aren’t our rivals. If they were our rivals, then they would be someone we could contend with. We feel like we are going to dominate in all aspects with Eastern.”
She didn’t let out a Richard Sherman-style, explosive rant or personal attack. Unlike the Seattle Seahawks defensive back, Bradford was calm, cool and collected in calling out CMU’s in-state rival EMU.
As a leader of the women’s basketball team, Bradford made it clear that CMU’s 7-0 Mid-American Conference record speaks for itself. And justly so.
The Chippewas beat their last two conference foes by a combined 60 points. They have snapped school records, faced some of the nation’s top-ranked teams and are heating up at the right time.
Bradford herself is the favorite for MAC MVP and the emotional and mental foundation for the team. Heading into CMU’s game against rival Eastern Michigan, Bradford averaged a double-double in points and rebounds.
Why shouldn’t Bradford and the rest of the Chippewas light a fire under their opponents? Maybe she was hoping to finally see some competition.
The Eagles were the top team in the MAC before CMU recruited Bradford and almost immediately began dominating the conference. Bradford, in a sense, symbolizes the beginning of an ugly era for EMU, who holds a 2-5 conference record this year.
“Everybody wants our spot,” Bradford boasted. “Especially Eastern.”
Although we don’t believe in personal attacks, obscenities in responses or physical violence on and off the court, Bradford’s comments were accepted with open arms. Too frequently we hear coaches and players give the same mundane, sports clichés in reference to their opponents before and after games.
No sports fan buys into such generosities and playground etiquette.
Every now and then we’d like to hear a little smack-talk, and it can only help the conference. As CMU fights to fill the seats in McGuirk Arena, the women’s basketball team continues to build on its legacy.
Last year, the team competed in the NCAA tournament and they’re making a strong push again this year. CMU is attempting to pull the national spotlight toward its mid-major conference, and calling out its opponents might finally catch some local, state and national interest.
These are the aspects rivalries are made of. This is the type of talk that brings exposure to basketball programs, along with future recruits to campus.
As long as CMU’s game speaks for itself, we hope to see more competitive personality from the players. Hopefully it’ll trickle down to the fans, too.