If you attended either Catholic South side school I don’t have to say anything else, you know the rivalry, the sayings, the history. It’s the epitome of neighboring high schools.
And before I go any further, I’m a Brother Rice man (class of ’94), so this is told from a Crusader point of view without apology.
This year the football rivalry, goes to the next level, it’s this coming Sunday evening at Soldier Field, yes the same place the Chicago Bears play and the home of the iconic “Prep Bowl”.
I remember my first Rice vs Marist game 26 years ago, my freshman year. It was also my first high school football game, went with my mother, my buddy and his parents. The game was at Marist.
It was Friday night lights for real (and they were bright), the marching bands, cheering fans and hard hitting Catholic high school football. I had never experienced anything like that before or since to be honest.
I’ve been to plenty of Rice home football games since including a playoff game the next year vs Homewood Flossmoor but there is something special about Rice vs Marist, has a certain intensity to it.
Yes Rice lost that game 26 years ago, we weren’t very good that year but it didn’t matter, as we say “We are BR”.
For years the game rotated between schools, always the first game of the year on a Friday night (because a lot of Catholic league games are Saturday afternoon), and Marist plays in a different conference but its still a much hyped game.
See Brother Rice is at 99th & Pulaski (technically 10001 S. Pulaski), and Marist is at 115th & Pulaski (4200 W. 115th Street), so they are close in proximity. Initially both schools were all boys but Marist went co-ed about 15 years ago.
Rice has the best of both worlds that we are all boys but have the largest all-girls school in the state just east of us on 99th Street, yes Mother McAuley.
And to add to this my home parish when I was young (Seven Holy Founders in Calumet Park), had Marist religious brothers living in the old convent. They were nice, they helped with masses, sang in the choir and were as respectful and devout as any religious brother.
But Seven Holy Founders was a Rice school, my buddy who went to that first game with me was from Founders. Our class (’90), alone had three guys at Rice, the class before us (’89), had two guys go to Rice and it was a tradition for our little school to send guys to be Crusaders.
Nothing against those religious men back at the home parish as I said before “We are BR”.
At my last job I worked with not one but two Marist grads, man the Crusader in me couldn’t help but tease those guys all the time. They are good guys and friends who I see at occasional parties and get togethers but I can’t help razzing them.
Back when I was deciding which high school to go to and my mother and I visited Marist at one of the traditional Sunday open houses in the fall for junior high students. I remember being told by some Marist students that “Brother Rice guys were rowdy”.
Don’t get me wrong Marist is a good school and has some of the most competitive sports in the area, having been there for baseball when I managed the Rice freshman baseball equipment I know they bring their A game. They have top notch facilities and keep the rivalry on even keel because they don’t mail it in.
But like I said “We are BR”, see ya Sunday Marist.
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Filed under: Chicago