One of the best parts of college football is the rivalry trophy games, featuring wacky names and wackier trophies and all the pomp and circumstance that has made college football the most tradition-rich and illogical and ridiculous and fundamentally corrupt sport in the land.
And yay for all of that. Yay for the Egg Bowl, the Little Brown Jug, the Apple Bowl, Paul Bunyon’s Axe, the Old Brass Spittoon and Ye Memorial Frankincense Au Jus Snifter Battle Royale Fracas.
So I was thrilled to learn that there’s actually a rivalry trophy game in D.C., which will be rejoined this Saturday at 1 when Howard faces Georgetown for the third Mayor’s Cup. Only two problems:
1) The Mayor’s Cup? I mean, that doesn’t exactly scream out “D.C.,” does it?
Sure, Washington has a mayor, but a goodly number of cities also give that title to their leader. Who’s to say the Mayor’s Cup isn’t determining the champion of Baltimore, or of Topeka? Who’s to say the trophy wouldn’t be presented in an elaborate post-game ceremony presided over Topeka mayor Bill Bunten , or Des Moines mayor T.M. Franklin Cownie, or even Kalamazoo mayor Bobby J. Hopewell, born and raised in Kalamazoo. Why is a guy from Kalamazoo giving out D.C.’s trophy?
This is a game that needs an appropriately local name to have any chance. The Barry Bowl would be a distinctive name. The Diamond Duel. The Fight for Four Quadrants. The District Dance. The Home Rule Brawl. Nay, the Home Rule Riot!
I mean, I would go cover a game called the Home Rule Riot. But the Mayor’s Cup? I’m choosing the ACC game of the week on Jefferson Pilot over the Mayor’s Cup.
2) The actual trophy itself. I mean, this is a chance to render your city’s character in metal and wood, to shove your city’s tendons and ligaments in front of the bright lights once a year, to later encase these innards in glass in the lobby of your athletics department and show the bleeding entrails to prospective applicants. You need flash. You need drama. You need to be a little bit weird.
What about an entire trophy shaped like the Washington Monument? Or a weighty replica of the District’s distinctive shape, made out of marble? What about a trophy with a skyline co-joining Healy Hall and Founder’s Library, the two flagship buildings at the two universities? What about a bronzed panda sitting in a gold cherry blossom drinking silver mambo sauce? Heck, what about an entire trophy shaped like a half-smoke? Something that says this is Washington, and this is our football rivalry, and this is its trophy.
Instead, what we apparently have is a trophy of...a football player.
I mean, I’m sleeping over here, Mayor’s Cup people. My eyes are glazed over. Wake me up, please. Wake me up with the victorious players are raising their victorious brass half-smoke, having claimed the first Home Rule Riot prize of their collegiate careers, an unforgettable moment after an unforgettable game.