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What is the Greatest Rivalry in Sports?


It is commonly known that rivalries play a huge role in the popularity and atmosphere of sporting events, both at SSSAS, in the U.S., and abroad. In our community, the Seminary Hill Cup rivalry between SSSAS and Episcopal High School is prominent. 

For 15 years, Seminary Hill Cup has been an exciting time of the year as the Female athletes from both schools face off against each other in a match-for-match scoring system to decide who will bring home the trophy. I interviewed multiple athletes and coaches to get their opinions on different parts of Seminary Hill Cup.


How would you describe the rivalry between SSSAS and Episcopal?

Maddie Foster ‘26, a JV soccer player, says that the rivalry between SSSAS and Episcopal is “Natural,” as they are our neighbors and it is simply intuition for SSSAS teams to strive to be better than them. She also added that SHC being a tradition for so long adds to the pressure and excitement of the rivalry. Allison O’Connor ’25, a varsity tennis player, said that both sides are “extremely competitive and are eager to grab the cup!” 


What is your favorite thing that SSSAS does to form a community during SHC and Why? 

Both Allison and Maddie agree that their favorite thing that the community does is the dinner and dance competition with all the girls. Allison mentioned, “Each team works so hard to make the best dance ever. The friendly competition between sports is intense and it brings each team together. I know every team looks forward to the infamous SHC dance battle, it brings everyone together and gets everyone hype!”


How much does winning SHC matter to you in comparison to building a stronger community?

Maddie says that winning was extremely important to her and her teammates because she did not want to let the other teams down. Ironically, JV girls’ soccer was the only team that won their match this year. Allison said that while winning the cup was important, getting to know her team better and forming closer friendships and bonds with the female athletes she surrounds herself with every day is more important.​​

Looking abroad, some major rivalries stood out to me. Whether it’s the fans, stadium, location, or star-stacked rosters, there are two matchups that protrude. In 1919, Red Sox owner Harry Frazee sold star player Babe Ruth to the Yankees for $125,000. Ever since that moment, the tussle for the best team in the American League, and likely Major League Baseball, started. Although this rivalry was great, it didn’t mean that both teams were always competitive with each other. Since the Babe Ruth trade in 1919, the Red Sox reached the World Series Championships only 4 times and finally ended their almost 100-year drought with a win over the St. Louis Cardinals in 2004. On the other hand, the Yankees had one of the most dominant periods in baseball history, winning the World Series a stunning 26 times before the turn of the 21st century. Of course, the secret for the seemingly winning culture that the Yankees had was produced by Hall of Fame players, such as Joe DiMaggio, and Ricky Gerhig. After the year 2000, pressures between the teams rose, and the ALCS in 2003 went to 7 games and was ended by a walk-off home run by (the player). Although the New York Yankees vs. Boston Red Sox rivalry was thrilling and always a pleasure to watch, the lack of competitiveness in the 20th century leads me to the conclusion that it is not the greatest rivalry in sports history. 

On May 13, 1902, the first ever El Clasico match was played. The Spanish term “El Clasico” means “the classic”, in English, and it is used to describe arguably the best rivalry in soccer history. The rivalry is played between F.C. Barcelona of Barcelona, Spain, and Real Madrid C.F., of Madrid, Spain. As Eduardo González explains it, this matchup “is the reflection of rivalry in other spheres: the industrial city par excellence, as is Barcelona, and the financial and administrative city and seat of power, as is Madrid.” After La Liga was founded in 1929, the matchup occurred more regularly, and after Alfred De Stefano signed for Real Madrid, the tension between the teams only rose. Looking back to the start of the 21st century, the “real” or “known” start of the rivalry began. In 2003, Barcelona signed the greatest footballer of all time, Lionel Messi. Flash forward to 2008, when Portsmouth matched up against a vibrant Manchester United side, led by 23-year-old wonderkid Cristiano Ronaldo. Ronaldo and Messi ended up creating the greatest 1v1 player rivalry ever, and this also led to both Barcelona and Real Madrid being completely dominant in both Spain and Europe. After Ronaldo and Messi left La Liga to go to their respective leagues, the rivalry and competitiveness of the fixture continued. In 2023, El Clasico has been played 253 times, with Barcelona winning 100 times, Real Madrid winning 101 times, and the matchup ending up in a draw 52 times. 

The fact that I chose these two rivalries specifically does not mean I completely neglected other significant rivalries, such as Celtics vs. Lakers in the NBA, UNC vs. Duke in College Basketball, and Der Klassiker in German Soccer. I believe that these two rivalries: 1. Stood the Test of Time 2. Always (or mostly) in Competition with each other 3. Had Hall of Famers (or all-time greats in soccer terms) play for their teams. In conclusion, the Red Sox vs. Yankees matchup was a great rivalry, but it wasn’t necessarily always competitive, as the Yankees (as of now), have almost 300 more wins than the Red Sox, out of around 2,000 games played. But in El Clasico’s case, they (as of now) have only one win separating them, and out of over 200 trophies one collectively, only 8 separate them. After reading this article, I hope you agree with me in saying that El Clasico is (and will be) the greatest rivalry of all time.

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About the Contributor
Ben Booma, Staff Writer and Layout Editor
Ben is a freshman who is starting his first year on The Voice. He loves to write and play sports. He has been playing soccer since he was two, and has a fierce competitive spirit on the pitch. He has been attending SSSAS since first grade and hopes to continue writing throughout high school. 

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