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This is an unofficial account of the inaugural celebration of MLB’s Opening Day at Washington and Lee’s Ruscio Center for Global Learning (RCGL).
The Center for International Education (which is housed in the RCGL) hosted the celebration. It was originally conceived as a means of introducing our international students to an important aspect of American culture that frequently is overlooked in higher education: sports. Amidst the divisiveness of contemporary politics across the globe and across our campuses, the center organized the celebration to highlight the transcendence and global importance of sports.
The campus community was peppered with colors as folks wore hats and shirts of their favorite sports teams. Banners of sports teams from around the world adorned the RCGL atrium’s railings. Along with national flags of our current students, banners of the New Zealand All Blacks, Manchester United, Real Madrid, FC Barcelona, and Chelsea added color inside and out on a beautiful spring day. Passers-by also noted the presence of Dallas Cowboys and Boston Red Sox colors…
As part of the celebration, the Center for International Education conducted an online poll of the W&L community to determine which teams are the most loved and reviled. Mark Rush, Center Director, announced the results at 12:30 PM. “Sports transcends political and national divisions,” Rush said. Noting that “the ancient Greeks would stop wars so that soldiers could participate in the Olympic Games,” Rush said that the poll and the celebration added another element to the celebration of internationalization on campus.
Some 200 members of the W&L community participated in the poll. Along with announcing the winners and losers, Rush also gave honorable mention to the most creative responses. A couple of respondents listed several different teams that they hated. One’s favorite team was “Any team but the Cowboys.” Another loathed “the NFC East and Indianapolis.”
The New York Yankees were the most disliked team on campus. They doubled the number of votes against the New England Patriots. Meanwhile the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Boston Red Sox tied for the most loved teams. The polling was diverse and covered sports teams from Europe, Africa, Asia and South America as well as North America.
The Center will conduct the poll again–and scores will be settled–in Spring, 2019.