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Red Cup Debates: Should there be relegation in Cup Racing?

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Should Yellow Cup be allowed to continue to Cup Race despite pour on-field results and a criminal record? Zach Berry and TwoYardsandaCloudofEnricky debate relegation.

Josh McCoy/Ole Miss Athletics
TwoYards

We're a few weeks into the latest Cup Racing season, and we've already seen some remarkable performances. Red Cup is off to another blistering start, and Blue Cup is pushing him in each contest. We've even had a mid-race arrest to keep things lively. For a Cup Racing aficionado like myself, there's just nothing like the smell of freshly cut grass, the warmth of a springtime sun, and the sloshing of three legendary cups churning toward the finish line.

Despite all of that, there's a growing sense of discontentment with some Cup Racing fans. Contests, they say, are not as competitive as they once were or as they could still be. The cause? Perennial underdog Yellow Cup.

Among this subset of Cup Racing fans, a new argument has lately emerged. Cup Racing, they say, should move to a relegation system not unlike the one used by soccer's English Premier League. These fans are eager to see Yellow Cup resigned to the lower ranks of the sport in favor of a new cup.

As a traditionalist at heart, I'm left gobsmacked by such an idea, so I've asked fellow Red Cup Rebellion writer Zach Berry, a proponent of the relegation system, to talk with me about it. So, Zach, what is it that's making you want to destroy the sport I hold dear?

Zach

I'm just sick and tired of a worthless competitor dragging down the sport of Cup Racing. The crowd demands more. I demand more. Yellow is washed up and is tarnishing the sport. Do we really want to set a precedent that future cups can break the law and then just be reinstated within a week to get back and compete? I just think that there needs to be some change, not only to enhance fan support, but to inject some integrity back into the sport.

TwoYards

Honest question, Zach: Why do you hate Cup Racing? Cup Races are as popular as they've ever been. The greatest Cup in the history of the sport is at his prime. Merchandise sales are through the roof. Have you even been to the Grove in the fall? Cup Racing is so popular that nearly everyone who shows up for a football game is holding little mini Red Cups. Why mess with a formula that's clearly working?

Zach

I understand that this is a business and the product you're selling is booming, but do you really want to continue to promote Cup Racing with a hoodlum like Yellow being associated with it? And to answer your question, I don't hate Cup Racing, I hate what it represents now. It's a product of our broken system of college athletics that tells the younger generation that "hey you can screw up but as long as you make us money, you're okay in my book". That's what I hate. And that's the chemical in this formula that needs tweaking.

TwoYards

I think what you're missing here is that this is more than a business. This is tradition. On a warm spring day, the sound of cups sloshing as they run, the laughter of children, the cheers of the crowd. This is magic. My father, gone now all these years, took my hand at my first cup race, and he told me that these cups, these three cups, were the markers of my life. "Son," he said, his warm hand cupping mine, "life is a Cup Race." He guided me through the race, talked to me of our past and future. I looked up at him, his fedora tilted back, the sun glinting in his eyes, and I understood the world because I understood a simple race. Cup Racing is bigger than you, and Yellow Cup is a part of it. Yellow Cup is a part of us all. He's the part that never quite makes it. The part that gets arrested for unknown crimes. The part my father warned me against. He is a reminder of our fallibility, and if you excise him from the sport, you excise our humanity and our traditions.

Zach

Traditions are great. They are also great in museums. If you want to glorify Yellow, put him in a museum or make a plaque for him outside The Sway. But, don't let him tarnish the sport and ruin what has been built. You mention kids laughing and enjoying it, well would you want them to also think it's okay to laugh at someone breaking the law and being arrested? Abusing the rules and using cheating to try and win? You can be nostalgic about your past cup racing experiences without romanticizing the negative symbols it develops. I mean, I get that to many those things are nostalgic and represent something different to them. As a kid you probably had no way of knowing what those symbols were really used for, it was just a cool thing that was unique to the sport. But as an educated adult you have to realize what those things mean and how it affects other people and how you can long for that feeling of familiarity and nostalgia, while also recognizing that those symbols are wrong and misplaced and have no place in society, now or then. That is why I propose that we ban Yellow and move on to another Cup that has been eager for his chance to shine. I nominate Powder Blue Cup to take Yellow's place atop the lofty throne that is Ole Miss baseball Cup Racing. It's a privilege, not a right. And Powder Blue has earned that privilege, Yellow has only abused it.

TwoYards

Abused it? Excuse me? Last time I checked this was America, and we have a little thing called due process. What crime has Yellow Cup been convicted of? Go ahead. I'll wait.

Zach

Yellow has continuously tried to skirt the rules and regulations that have been set for Cup Racing and to no avail. Even though he is 0-fer, does that give him a pass? Hell no! Just because you're not successful on the field of play doesn't mean you don't have to adhere to the rules like everyone else. Other than some feel good story about when you were a kid and the reason "it's how it's always been", what is the reason we should keep Yellow around? Go ahead. I'll wait.

TwoYards

That's the problem with you people. You don't have any respect for history. No respect for tradition. Do you think this country was founded by quitters? No. It was founded by people who persevere. Yellow Cup may not win, but by gum, he's always been out there. Every weekend. Without fail. He runs, and he fails, and that was good enough for my dad, and it's good enough for me. I'm sorry that Cup Racing isn't trendy enough for you. I'm sorry that your PC culture has to try to get rid of everything that's tried and true. Is that what you want? An apology? Here it is: I'm sorry that you hate the traditions you don't even understand.

Zach

Technically the country was founded by intruders and assholes, but I digress. And I'm all for due process and preserving tradition, but the ones that represent something positive. Yellow Cup is nothing more than a black eye and a bad example for the kids who attend the game and the alumni like me that are proud of their degree and the academic institution they received it from. And if you want to support something that perseveres, support Powder Blue. He arrives early, works his ass off and supports the others, even Yellow Cup. So you can take your "PC culture" joke and put it in your dad's fedora and burn it for all I care. This is the #newnormal and Yellow Cup's "tradition" isn't going to hold back the upward trajectory of Cup Racing.

TwoYards

MY DADDY WAS A SAINT AND HIS FEDORA RESTS ON MY MANTLE ALONGSIDE A PICTURE OF THE TWO OF US WITH YELLOW CUP, JUST AS THE FOUNDERS OF CUP RACING INTENDED. You progressives just can't seem to tamp down your bile, can you? You had to go and make this personal. Well, if that's the game you want to play, then here we go: you can't stand the idea that a Cup, even one that hasn't won a race, is more successful than you. You're jealous that Yellow Cup is competing at the highest levels. You're jealous that kids idolize him. He's a hero to millions. These trumped up charges that you people keep throwing at him are what's dragging this sport into the mud. You can't leave well enough alone. Always looking for the next big thing, no matter what damage it does to the sport. Powder Blue Cup? Please. Don't you know you're a pawn of Big Cup, trying to shoehorn Blue Cup out? Sure, it starts with Yellow, but as soon as he's gone, and Powder Blue is in, do you think the powers that be will settle for two blue cups? No sir, they will not. And then you're looking at a future where the last bastion of all that is good about the sport will be Red Cup, and how long before they start throwing races for their boy, Powder Blue? Not long, I say. It's a slippery slope, sir. And you're sliding down it right this very second.

Zach

My bile? I'm not the only one who wants change! See, this is why so many of the "traditionalist" Cup Racing fans have internalized this perpetual victimization of themselves and their "traditions". You're making this more about you and your memories. Admit it, this isn't for the promotion of Cup Racing or to further the career of Yellow, this is for your ego. ADMIT IT! It's sad because the true Cup Racing fans, the ones who love their school and love their cups no matter what the color is, get grouped in with the crazies LIKE YOU who want to romanticize these things and play the victim card. It's because of you that I get labeled as being "PC" and in doing so get a bad rap when all I want is for the future to be able to enjoy the new Cup Racing that doesn't need a label, color or a symbol.

TwoYards

My ego? MY EGO?! Buddy, my ego is just fine, and it has nothing to do with this debate. The fact that you can't recognize how my position is superior in every way, is grounded in the rich and vibrant history of the sport, is more logical and reasoned than yours, and is simply better has zero to do with my ego. Look, let me boil this down to basics for you: this isn't personal for me. It's got nothing to do with my history. It's got nothing to do with my memories of the sport from when I was a child. It's got everything to do with the memories that are being formed right now by thousands of little Cup Racing fanatics. These poor children will not be able to have the exact same experience that I had without Yellow Cup being (usually face down) on that field. And what are sports anyway, if not a vehicle for ensuring that thousands of strangers get to duplicate your experience to ensure that when you're breathing your last breath you know that a little piece of you will live on through that common experience, which will be utterly ruined if one minor, inconsequential detail is changed. Friend, that's not illogical. That's just fandom.

Zach

Cup Racing can't be great because fanatics like you refuse to let go of the past. They refuse to learn from it and instead make excuses like "well it really is about Yellow getting a chance..." and cling to a distorted view of pride and "heritage". Yellow Cups's checkered past is not something to be proud of. But, you know, I learned something today. Our discussion has shed light on the fact that Cup Racing has a little bit of something for everybody (even though you're wrong). You enjoy it for the memories, I enjoy it for the progressive, niche sport that it is. Maybe one day we can both share a race together. A beer in each hand and our children in the other. Sharing the experience with our very own. Gazing upon the pageantry of what we both love: Cup Racing.