The North Dakota State Bison continued their run in the NCAA Division I FCS playoffs by defeating the Montana State Bobcats in Bozeman this afternoon. Many of us are excited by the Bison’s success in this year’s football postseason; something that’s been missing in recent years. Not all people in Grand Forks, however, are anxious to wish the Bison the best.
Although the Bison and Sioux have not met on the football field for almost a decade, some Grand Forks people still have a tough time viewing the Bison with anything but hatred. Virg Foss, a longtime “Grand Forks Herald” sports writer, who has “Hall of Fame Journalist” included on his byline, is a perfect example. His story in today’s “Grand Forks Herald” http://www.grandforksherald.com/event/article/id/185668/publisher_ID/40/ is filled with the kind of rhetoric and Fargo bashing that makes me embarrassed to call Grand Forks home! While people in Fargo, and all across our great state, are proud of Fighting Sioux hockey, especially when they make it to the post-season, the people of Grand Forks still can’t seem to find anything good to say about the Bison, no matter how successful they are.
North Dakota State is my Alma Mater, and I have been a fan of Bison football and basketball since I first stepped foot on campus in the fall of 1981. Upon graduation, however, I found employment with the University of North Dakota, and we have called Grand Forks home ever since. This community views its hockey players as gods, and it didn’t take long for me to begin kneeling at the altar of Fighting Sioux Hockey along with everyone else. UND represents our state well and I’ve always been proud of how tiny North Dakota stands up against larger states like Minnesota, Wisconsin and Colorado in Hockey.
The rivalry is over! It’s been over since the Fighting Sioux took the Nickel Trophy to Grand Forks and refused to allow the Bison a chance to win it back. The Bison are now arch rivals with South Dakota State in football: They even have a traveling trophy. The Sioux, or whatever they will be called next year, will develop new rivalries with teams from the Big Sky Conference, which they will join in a few years. The rivalry is over! The sooner the fans of the two universities realize their sporting teams are co-ambassadors of our great state, the better off they all will be.