Students Divided: Cheering For Two Teams

"I just don't know which way to cheer this weekend! Maybe I'll wear a half-and-half jersey," says Cara Belch. "I know I go to Purdue, but I was raised Catholic, too. Isn't it wrong to root against the only Catholic school with a football team in America?"

Research shows that Boston College and other Catholic schools do indeed field football programs, yet Catholicism is rarely the reason people cheer for BC.

Freshman Tristian Shamble agrees rooting for Notre Dame is fine: "I totally grew up in West Lafayette but, you know, Notre Dame is also in Indiana so I don't see anything wrong with rooting for them. Plus, when I was a kid, the guy who mowed our lawn had a tattered old Notre Dame shirt on. One time he invited me into the landscaping truck so he could show me how to check the oil. I was 9 at the time and don't remember anything between then and when I was 16, but well....I remember the Notre Dame shirt. And the smell of musk and gasoline."

And so it goes for Purdue students who have such firm and understandable loyalties to our rivals to the north. It's hard to blame them, too. Notre Dame's field features Jesus himself signaling a field goal, something that's hard to root against.

"I've been told that Jesus cheers for Notre Dame," continues Belch, "and also for North Carolina basketball, that's why the sky is Carolina blue. Point is, winning teams make people happy. It's the same reason I post pictures of my shoes on Twitter -- to make others happy, because people love to weigh in on what I'm wearing when I chase football players. It's also why I cheer for Ohio State -- they win a lot, it's easy, plus I once knew a kid who went to my church who wore an OSU sweatshirt every week and masturbated in the public library. I like guys who express themselves without touching me because I'm a weird tease. I don't know what this has to do with anything, but I know I can like multiple teams and feel fine about it."

It's that sort of dizzying logic that makes loyal Purdue fans crazy.

"It's bullsh-t," says junior Jessica Doore. "In fact, if I find the other people quoted in this story, I'm going to punch them in the face."

Shamble disagrees.

"Look, I love being a Purdue fan," he says. "It's just that after the Purdue game is over, I need to keep cheering because I love the way the players kick the ball and the way the male cheerleaders look when they flex. Wait, can you edit that out? No? Okay, whatever. So around 3 PM every Saturday, I like to turn on NBC and cheer for Notre Dame. NBC tells me they're great and when has NBC ever lied to me? It's the network that brought us 'Whitney,' for pete's sake! That's comic gold. Plus, when I was in high school, my sister nailed a guy who went to Notre Dame. From then on, we were all hooked."

Freshman Jack Fender agrees with the two-timers that Doore wants to punch.

"When you go to Notre Dame, you just don't go to the stadium," Fender said. "It's the grotto. The lake. The Joyce Center. It's a total package of things you go see, all filled with history. At least, that's what my dad tells me. And I don't like to question him because he can be kind of mean when he drinks."

So there you have it. Love 'em or hate 'em, fans of both squads lurk on Purdue's campus. And they have completely legitimate reasons, so leave them alone. Because alone is what they will always be.

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