By Sharine Xuan, 14, South Pasadena High School
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Photo courtesy of South Pasadena HS journalism program

A rival—every school has one. It gives the athletes an extra shot of team spirit and brings the school together. It gives the student body something to think about on boring Saturday afternoons and is an excellent source of amusement. Yep, it’s fun to have an archenemy and ours is San Marino High School.

Both the Tigers (that’s us) and the Titans (that’s them) are rich, snobbish, with excellent academics, and great sports teams. We are actually a perfect match for each other. I’ve always regarded school rivalry as silly, immature, and for people who have nothing better to think about. But I have to admit, I had the time of my life interviewing people for this article.

"Hey, Schodolsky!" I yelled at my friend Alex Schodolsky who has dark sunglasses permanently attached to his face. "What do you think about San Marino?"

"I hate them."


"I dunno, cuz, they are our rival."

It made SO much sense to me that I asked junior Alex Cordoba why he hated San Marino. His response was, "Because they like strange lobster cheese."

"Get serious!"

"OK, their cheerleaders are ugly, and their dresses are too short. And I think a lot of people there take for granted the fact that they are a lot richer than us."

But others were indifferent. Senior Nick Mendoza said, "They are not my rivals, so I don’t care."

It’s mainly the athletes that get into the rivalry, playing pranks on the other school and talking smack on Web sites such as

Ben Johnson, shooting guard on the varsity South Pas. basketball team said, "I don’t really hate them, but there is a conflict. That game [against San Marino] is always exciting."

Before the big Homecoming game, the football captains got up at the assembly and tried to pump up school spirit. "We’re gonna get on the field and crush them! We’re gonna make them go home crying!"

I was skeptical because we had gotten creamed 60-0 by Blair High School, a lesser team than San Marino. Imagine my surprise when we squished them 41-7 at Homecoming.

LeAnna Sharp, our Homecoming queen, said, "Our triumph at Homecoming made my night even more special. I have no personal grudge against San Marino, but it’s fun to have a rival. It brings the school together, gives support to the teams, and gets everyone excited."

I went onto enemy territory to see what these San Marino students had to say about us. While the San Marino girl’s soccer players were taking a water break from drills, I tried to ask them a few questions. They had the whole hands-on-the-hips attitude.

One girl who refused to give her name asked, "Aren’t you scared to be here?" Then she asked, "Didn’t you guys tag our school logo over there?" Her teammates snickered. She and her teammates informed me, "You guys are going down this year! We know it!"

Other athletes at the school were a little less aggressive. Tae Kang, football and baseball player at San Marino said, "The rivalry makes it more fun. It makes you want to play."

Emi Kondo, one of the San Marino color guards said, "I don’t really hate South Pas. I don’t have school pride. Some of my South Pas. friends are cool."

Leo Kosuge, a varsity swimmer at San Marino said, "I think the rivalry is dumb. There’s no reason to be rivals, it’s pointless."

Jello in the pool?

But Leo said he thought it might be fun to play a prank on South Pas., like maybe dying the pool. He closed his eyes, thought for a moment and said, "I’d want to put red jello in the pool. Red tastes good. Or maybe turquoise so they can’t tell the difference when they jump in."

I found out from Tommy Edmonds, a San Marino senior, that South Pas. did indeed spray paint "South Pasadena" across the San Marino logo on the football field—and they spelled "Pasadena" wrong with two "s". San Marino had once visited the South Pas. swimming pool after a football game and dyed the pool red. South Pas. returned the favor by setting the San Marino football field on fire with the letters S.P. San Marino had hung a tiger from the goal post during a football game and set it aflame.

Just this year South Pasadena had put salt on the San Marino football field in the shape of the letters S.P., killing all the grass and smoke bombs had also been thrown onto the tennis courts during practice.

Michael McNamee, the athletic director at San Marino said, "Unfortunately, most of the pranks have not been creative, they’ve been destructive and I don’t think there’s any place for that. You don’t need that to have a rivalry. "

Rigo Medina, a varsity football player at San Marino, told me, "I see the little pranks. It just gives you motive. Makes you want to play harder." Remembering San Marino’s loss at Homecoming, he frowned. "When you have eight of your best players out because of injuries, and you have to play with JVs who had no experience playing the positions … no wonder we lost."

Just for fun, I decided to ask the students at San Marino what they would do if South Pasadena and San Marino were combined into one high school. Emi Kondo said, "Really? How cool! We’ll be like Arcadia —they are huge!"

Her friend Priscilla Eamranond laughed. "Are you kidding? There’s gonna be a lot of fights."
Someone on the girl’s soccer team said, "I’d go to private school!"