Buzz of the Crowd: Bring back the carriage

The Causeway Cup sits on the Hornet's sidelines in Hornet Stadium during the Causeway Classic on Nov. 19, 2011.

Joseph de Ocampo

The Causeway Cup sits on the Hornet's sidelines in Hornet Stadium during the Causeway Classic on Nov. 19, 2011.

State Hornet Staff

Trophies have a single purpose: to be shown off.

In college football, trophies have not only been symbolic to championships, but rivalries between schools as well. Currently, there are a combined 114 different rivalry games that play for an actual trophy – items ranging from bells to cannons to axes and even a jeweled shillelagh.

Sacramento State and UC Davis also play for a trophy, but it is not as attractive. Each year the winner of the infamous Causeway Classic gladly hoists up a solid cylindrical eyesore of a trophy made out of actual cement from the Yolo Causeway. Classy, no?

This cement monstrosity was not always the prize, though. The two schools played for a life-sized, 19th century carriage for more than 40 years. Bring back the carriage; it would bring tradition and glory back to a rivalry that does not get much publicity.

Why do people mess with tradition? Would you stop eating hot dogs and apple pie on Independence Day? What if the seventh inning stretch did not include singing? Too many people make changes in the name of advancement, but instead they end up making it worse.

Although few people outside of Northern California may even realize that there is a rivalry between the Sac State and Davis football teams, it has been a tradition since 1954 and became competitive in 1961 when the schools decided to use a carriage as a trophy.

According to an article in Sac State Magazine this fall, Jeri Striezik donated the carriage in 1960, but it was retired in the mid-90s when several sources reported that Davis representatives said the carriage cost too much to transport between the two schools.

It is no surprise that Sac State struggles to obtain school spirit from its students — it does not try hard enough. Part of going to college is sharing a rivalry with another school and the traditions that go along with that. The Causeway Carriage was a key element in the rivalry tradition and it is because the schools did not want to pay a few bucks to keep up the carriage that students will miss out on what a real rivalry brings to the college experience.

Since the carriage was put out to pasture, the teams now play for a giant piece of cement. It is bad enough that FCS football does not get any publicity for its players, at least let them play for something worthwhile. Anyone can obtain a piece of I-80 — just pull over onto the shoulder and chisel away.

College football traditions should not be messed with. The rivalry, the trophy and the passion that comes with it are why college sports are so much fun to watch. Commuter schools say they try hard to give students a true college game day experience, but a lack of funds gets in the way of that.

Organizations that promote school spirit, like the Green Army, can do so much. Both universities’ administrations need to throw that concrete paperweight trophy off of the Causeway and bring back the carriage. It does not belong in storage; it belongs on the field.

Ryan Kuhn can be reached at @rskuhn