The luckiest sports fans on the planet are those who find themselves so deeply rooted in a rivalry that it consumes every inch of their lives. The games that spark nonstop conversation and jawing year-round, from a drunk (and sometimes racist) uncle at Thanksgiving dinner, to your boys at the bar, and everyone in between. You all know the notorious battles I speak of. Ohio State and Michigan. Alabama and Auburn. Duke and UNC. Games that are remembered for a lifetime. Games that your grandfather speaks of until his dying day. Games where players of a losing squad can lose the respect of an entire campus in a split second. Games that divide families & friends. And so, my brothers and sisters in the Red and Blue, this is it. This is the first of two games we sweat and die for all offseason. Our withdrawal – worse than a chain smoker’s on a flight to Australia – ends tonight. This isn’t a game of Mario Paint; this is real life. Tomorrow, we step into war. Tomorrow, we battle for the Arch Baron Cup.

And if you think the other side isn’t losing sleep over this, think again:

Some events transcend the voice of a single man (or team of mid-major bloggers), which is why we sought your help to reflect on what the Arch Baron Cup means to you. I’ve already voiced my opinion on the ABC and Saint Louis’s feeble offseason attempts to strengthen their chances. The stories and emotions below are vast, but one common theme flies above them all: there is nothing that unites us more.

(P.S. I’ll continue to update as they come in, get at me: @KTuleta)

From @UDFlyers:

I attended the University of Dayton during a simpler time. Some UD games were not televised; others still were on channels so obscure as to be unavailable on the campus cable system. So it came to be that one winter’s evening I made the trek to the Buffalo Wild Wings on Brown St. to view the Flyers game at rival St. Louis.

As I settled in for Arch Baron Cup action, I remarked to a friend, “Huge game tonight.”

“Huge game? Why? It’s only St. Louis,” came the reply.

“Only St. Louis?!? This one’s for the Cup!” I shouted.

The Flyers brought the ABC back to Dayton, but I lost a friend that night. Never minimize the importance of the Cup. Never.”

From 

“Prior to the RecPlex, the Frericks center housed the basketball offices and also served as the university gym. Due to the gym, students had 24/7 access to the building. The Arch Baron Cup was kept in a display case near the foyer and one Friday afternoon we noticed that the case wasn’t locked.

So we did what any kids would do. We came back about 10 that evening and two of us carried it right out of the building. It was a cold night and the cup was heavy but we hauled the thing all around the ghetto drinking out of it and having a good time. As an adult I now realize that it was pretty disrespectful to the cup and the important rivalry it represents. We were young and dumb. We cleaned it up and returned it to the case about 3am. I don’t think anyone noticed. True story.

So to me, the Arch Baron Cup is a way to connect my own personal UD experience to today’s teams. I can’t bear to think of a SLU kid drinking out of MY cup. It’s like picturing your girl getting kissed by another guy. You get fiery mad. It’s deeply personal. When I see that trophy presentation, it’s important to me that it comes back home.”