Showdown sportsmanship: let your true colors come out

Haleigh McGill

As the iconic event of the fall semester, the Rocky Mountain Showdown, draws closer upon us, the issues of sportsmanship and respect at the game need to be addressed and discussed.

I personally love the showdown. It’s always exciting, heated and fun, and students leave the stadium with great memories and stories when the game is over. Unless, of course, your experience was affected or even ruined by displays of poor sportsmanship that resulted in violent altercations, intensely mean arguments and tasteless comments and criticisms.


Neither side is innocent here – CU and CSU students have been both the antagonists and the victims in this unfortunate part of the rivalry.

Alcohol and adrenaline are a great mix for engaging in spectator violence at the game, which has quite a few consequences such as injury and police involvement. I want to point out that the issue of violence isn’t limited to male involvement – I’ve seen a few fights both started and ended by females and those fights aren’t pretty. I’m also not confining spectator violence to simply fist fights – tearing up an opponent’s sign for their team and other personal property destruction, throwing drinks or food at other game-goers, verbal misconduct and offensive gestures are all included.

I think that there is a fine line between engaging in the rivalry in a positive way and acting like a total jerk, and alcohol consumption at the Showdown makes it more difficult to walk that line. I’m certainly not suggesting that students shouldn’t drink and tailgate and have the best time of their lives, but heavy consumption of alcohol increases the chances of a good-spirited rivalry quickly getting lost in an angry feud where the bottom line becomes “my school is better than your school, so f#ck you.” By all means, drink and be merry if you are of age, but don’t get careless and don’t be that person who takes it too far.

The chants that are carried on by both student sections are a pretty big part of the Showdown experience. I will say that I like them, as it brings your student section together in cheering for your team and it gets you pumped up and feeling pretty stoked. Whether the chants are innocent, such as the tried and true “I’m proud to be a CSU Ram,” or they use a few choice words against the opposing team, the thing about them is that they are over when the students stop chanting. They are fleeting moments of the game and I personally believe, despite the occasional not-so-clean language, they are all in good fun.

However, the apparel that students choose to wear to the game is much less temporary and forgettable than a silly chant, as it’s visible and present throughout the entirety of the event. I have seen shirts, both in the past and for the upcoming game, that say things like “F#CK (CU/CSU)” and “(CU/CSU) SUCKS.” No offense, but are you asking for a throwdown at the Showdown?

My point is that you are making yourself a target for potential violence and uncalled for, offensive language tailored just for you, and you are helping the negative side of the rivalry to grow even bigger. Bashing on the other team doesn’t make ours any better, and consider how you will look while wearing that shirt if your team loses. 

Lastly, don’t go sit in the opponent’s student section, decked out in your school colors, just to talk badly of the opponent and act like a jerk. We are all there for one reason: to support our team and have an awesome time doing so. If you have friends within the opponent’s student section, go join them or invite them to join you, but be respectful. I hope you lose your voice cheering and going crazy for your team instead of talking down the opponent and their supporters.

I get it. We get excited, we get passionate, we get angry, we’re proud and rambunctious and we’re just kids in college having a good time – But those aren’t reasons for the Showdown to get ugly. Show some respect for tradition, for the opponent, for your school, for each other and ultimately for yourself.

Are you going to stay true to your green and gold or gold and black, or are you going to let the rivalry turn you to an ugly shade of brown? (Maybe even a dash of red, as there could be blood.) Either way, this is an event that brings out your true colors, and I hope you can stand tall and proud with the former instead of taking the low road with the latter.

Collegian Opinion Editor Haleigh McGill can be reached at, or on Twitter @HaleighMcGill.