Both sides of the highway

Sydney Bearden

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On Friday night, two teams stand on opposite sides of the field, facing each other. The football team looks down the field to the Belton pirates, who are just as ready for the oncoming fight as they are. On Homecoming night, theses athletes are ready to win for their team and for their tradition, to beat their rivals another time. The rivalry between Belton and the community is fairly well-known. Students, parents, and staff alike know the competition that separates the two teams. However, students that live on the east side of the Raymore-Belton dividing line do not really know what happens at their opposing school. They may never know what their team does to get ready for the big game.

This student body gets ready for the big game with some major school spirit. On the day of the Belton game, the school has its Homecoming parade and pep-rally, where everyone gets on their feet and cheers for their team. However, Belton sees the game through a different lens.

“We do it for fun, and they are serious about it,” says junior Morgan Monteer, a former Belton student.

While the students here may get ready with the signs in the hallways and the shirts prepared for the game, Belton prepares to play their contenders with a constant and updating reminder: a giant timer in the weight room.

“They have a big sign that says ‘Beat Ray-Pec. [The timer] counts down the days until the football team will play them. It’s going all year round,” said Monteer.

The fans definitely compete for the rivalry, but the football players are those in the front lines of the modern-day rivalry. The true opposition clearly stems from the football players, and which team will fight harder to win the game.

“It’s a big marquee game on their calendar still to try to come over, across the bridge, and beat us,” said South Middle School yearbook teacher Jeff Rives, who taught for ten years at Belton middle school.

The community still wants to beat Belton each year, but because of the class difference, the game is more important to Belton.

“I know it was probably more of a rivalry for them than it is for us in football,” said Rives.

Because the football team and Belton no longer need to play each other, the competition is starting to lose its footing. With this lesser need to play the opponent, it is possible that the Belton conflict will die off.

“It seems like the rivalry kind of died down, but, for the most part, it’s still a beat-Belton week,” said Rives.

However, some still believe that, even if the two teams stop playing each other, they would continue to have rivalrous feelings toward one another.

“I think there would still be some tension between Ray-Pec and Belton,” said Monteer.

For the time being, the community and Belton still have a strong contest that is strengthened by its student body. The history behind the face-off allows it to still exist today. Though the football players and students alike see the pirates as their competitors, they should still be able to see that, like them, Belton is full of football players and fans, seeing the rivalry from a completely different lens.