Right On Tynes | There’s a brilliance in the chaotic buildup of King’s College vs. Wilkes University. No matter the differences between North and South River Street, Monarchs vs. Colonels, Private vs. Public, King’s vs. Wilkes is the most important rivalry in Northeast Pennsylvania
It really doesn’t matter the time, place, sport, season or any of the non important latter pieces that make the buildup for any one event, athletic or academic, between King’s College and Wilkes University an all-out scrap fest.
It’s never “David vs. Goliath.” It’s more like “Frazier vs. Ali,” a fight of the century every time it’s put on air. It’s the built up scramble between two local powerhouses in the anonymity of Northeastern Pennsylvania and Division III culture.
It’s the private school kids up north vs. the public school guys down the street. It’s a 12-round cage fight until each side is equally battered and bruised and wants more.
It’s no more than King’s vs. Wilkes.
It’s no more than the simply dubbed “Rivalry on River Street.” It’s brutish. It’s callous. It’s the rambunctious sort of fun that gets everyone from Holy Cross Hall to University Towers pouring into the Marts Center or Scandlon Gymnasium or whatever field, patch of dirt, classroom, etc, that can harbor the feud for another square of time.
And at this occasion, like many, the stakes are as high as possible for another chapter in the rivalry’s storybook. It’s a winner take all kind of occasion at Scandlon on Saturday. Winner gets the last spot in the Freedom Conference Playoffs for Men’s basketball. Loser? Well, they fade into obscurity for a long offseason.
But the importance of rivalry week between the colleges is the furthering of the permanence of significance that it gives to the encounter between the two institutions.
Wilkes will bring a bus of students and look to knock off King’s as a start to their fabled “Winter Weekend” bash. King’s looks to get into the playoffs for the first time since 2009-10. Campus Activities even went the extra mile and will give out free T-Shirts, the first time in a minimum of four seasons they’ve done so for a basketball game, to students.
On Thursday night, the house was packed for the two colleges squaring off in a wrestling bout. It doesn’t matter the event, the time, the place. If it’s King’s vs. Wilkes, expect it to be of huge noteworthiness, not only for the singular event, but for the continued build of the magnitude of the rivalry.
Head Men’s ball coach J.P. Andrejko is 16-12 all-time vs. the Colonels, he’s only lost two times in a row to Wilkes in the 2008-09 season and 2011-12 season. And for his sake and the sake of the entire Monarch community, the continuation of those losing records won’t be in 2014-15.
If anything, the young squad that has shifted it’s momentum between wins and losses all year deserves a chance at the Freedom Conference crown. Their late play this season should be enough to warrant an opportunity to knock off Misericordia once more if they beat Wilkes.
The two lone seniors, Rich Douglas and Tim O’Shea, have worked their entire careers for this chance of a lifetime. Both have played brilliant ball in the last five games. It’s almost as if their college professions were building up to this pinnacle, the top of the ride for their respective basketball endeavors.
You know, there’s a level of sheer brilliance each year in the chaotic buildup of King’s vs. Wilkes. No matter the differences between North and South River Street, Monarchs vs. Colonels, Private vs. Public, King’s vs. Wilkes is the most important rivalry in Northeast Pennsylvania.
Saturday will just add another novel in the encyclopedia of excellence that their displays have mustered over the past century.
Tyler R. Tynes is a college senior from Philly studying mass communications. His email address is TylerTynes@Kings.edu. HIS OPINIONS ALSO DO NOT EXPRESS THOSE OF WRKC OR ITS STAFF. “Right On Tynes” appears every Friday. Follow him on Twitter @TylerRickyTynes