Coming from the East Coast Conference, the youngest section of the NCDA, a lot of other school’s don’t know much about Towson or the University of Maryland dodgeball clubs, because a lot of people don’t come from our area. There may be a few players at schools like JMU (Chris Hess and PJ Kinkead for example) who hail from the Old Line State, but the majority of us end up staying in state. What makes our rivalry in dodgeball so special is the proximity we live to one another. Before I get into the dodgeball aspect though, I’ll talk about what makes us different from everyone else.
- We tell people the counties that were from, not the towns. When out of state students come down to a Maryland school for the first time, they seem to always be thrown off when I tell them I’m from Howard County. Usually, this is because they’re expecting me to say the town I am from, Scaggsville. The reason why most of us use county names is because our towns are usually small enough that it almost seems asinine to use their name instead of the counties. The only time we use town names is when two people from the same county are trying to figure out what part of the county the other person is from (at the point most people actually use their high schools though).
- Our state flag is cooler than yours, and we have a ridiculous amount of pride in it. This one is pretty self-explanatory if anyone has looked at the recent jerseys Under Armour has made for Maryland’s sports teams.
- “Crab cakes and football, that’s what Maryland does!” Add lacrosse to that line from Wedding Crashers, and that is basically Maryland in a nutshell. I’d throw in baseball, but every state has those. Also, while I personally cannot eat it due to an allergy, we have some of the best seafood in the entire country.
- Our weather is completely bipolar. Maryland is one of the few states that get snow on a fairly annual basis where the residents know that cargo shorts and a t-shirt might actually be acceptable clothing for a day or two in the middle of December.
- Most high schoolers, especially the ones in athletics, know, or have heard of most other high schools in the state. Again, pretty self-explanatory.
- Saying you went to River Hill is considered a bad thing across most of the state. River Hill is actually a very good high school, but almost nobody likes them. Though they are from Howard County, people from other counties like Montgomery, Washington, and even St. Mary’s county have usually heard of these guys, and don’t like them very much. I personally don’t because they’re an in-state rival, but I can’t speak for everybody else.
Those are only a few examples of how Maryland is a very different state from other states, but I know that really everyone is reading this to know why we’re such big rivals in dodgeball. Here are the reasons.
- We’re the only Maryland schools in the league. While this is pretty obvious, it still adds a lot to the rivalry. The two schools only being an hour from each other also adds to the ferocity of our rivalry.
- Most of us grew up as fans of UMD athletics. With Towson being a smaller school, we really had one option of big schools to root for growing up. There are some kids who are anomalies and root for random schools like Duke; but the vast majority of us grew up yelling “fear the turtle.” Personally, I still go to their basketball games, and watch everyone that I can’t go to.
- Most of us grew up with each other. Here’s an odd situation: not only did the captain for Maryland, Dylan Allred, and the captain for Towson, Jonathan Shaw, go to the same high school as each other, but their houses are about a thirty second walk apart. Neither of them planned on joining their respective dodgeball club entering college; yet they both did, and they both took over the presidency of their club. Here’s another odd example: both myself, and Maryland’s Curtis Reybold (#31) played lacrosse (both playing defense) with each other at Reservoir High School. I left for college a year before he did, and happened to join Towson’s dodgeball club. A year later, I walk into our first match against UMD, and see Curtis staring at me from the other side of the court. I never told him about the club at Towson, or the club at Maryland; hell, I didn’t even know where he was going to college. I’m sure there are examples of things like this all across our league, but we have found these two, and many more between the two teams.
- We have a tight season series with each other. Right now, Towson has the series lead at 4 wins to Maryland’s 3. Other than our first ever match where Maryland blew us out 13-0, a lot of our matches have been very close, and can usually go either way. This year especially, Maryland could have just as easily won the three matches we’ve played that Towson won. Personally, though I hate losing, I hope the rivalry stays this close, and no team really starts taking control against the other.
- We respect each other, even if we don’t like each other at times. Other than one time, every match against each other has ended well, and both sides walk off the court with respect for the other team. We may hate each other on the court, but once the match is over, that dislike dissolves and both teams get along very well.
While there are a lot of rivalries in the NCDA, the one between Maryland and Towson is a special rivalry. It would be naive of me to say we have the best rivalry in the league, but I believe it would be accurate to say we have one of the better ones. A lot of teams will get to meet Maryland for the first time this year at nationals, and while they may have a good game against them, there’s nothing quite like the ‘Terps going against the Tigers.