If you’re a Lipscomb student, you probably know about the rivalry Lipscomb has with Belmont. If you don’t, you did not attend Quest Week. It’s all over campus, from snide comments in conversations to even a Bible project featuring “The Good Belmont Student,” a parody of the beloved parable. And frankly, it’s embarrassing.
Did you ever hear the fable of the flea and the horse? I’ve googled it and can’t find it anywhere, but I swear I heard it as a kid. A flea was resting on a horse’s nose. It started apologizing profusely to the horse, asking it if it could please rest there and how it didn’t want to be a burden but it was just so incredibly tired and it needed to rest tremendously. Similar to that run-on sentence, the flea continued on and on. He continued to act like his presence was having a dramatic impact on the horse. After a particularly loud wail, the horse finally heard him. That whole time until the end, the horse didn’t even know the flea was there and was quite surprised to find out that the flea thought it was affecting him.
Great, but I suppose you’re wondering about the relevance of that story to Lipscomb today. We are the flea. We justify the rivalry because we think it’s two-sided. We think Belmont has the same rivalry with us. We classify it as “friendly rivalry between friendly colleges.”
But guess what. It’s not two-sided.
Belmont doesn’t even really notice Lipscomb. I am blessed enough to be on a colorguard with six Belmont students, all of whom are some of the kindest people I’ve met in Nashville. I mentioned this little "rivalry” to them, and they had no idea what I was talking about. We think we are having some fun little banter with Belmont and that they are aware of and affected by it. But they aren’t! We are just some flea.
This is not to criticize Belmont. I am not saying they are callous for not caring about us, nor am I saying that this is true of every single Belmont student. Just as a whole, their student body does not care about what Lipscomb thinks of them as much as we think it does. This rivalry is entirely a figment of our imaginations. We are an insignificant flea trying to pretend that we pose some sort of threat that should be acknowledged, but we fail to acknowledge that the threat is practically nonexistent.
We need to stop. We’re embarrassing ourselves.