Berkley vs. Royal Oak Rivalry Persists in Every Sport


Oakland Press

Berkley vs. Royal Oak Football

Rivalries are one of the most exciting aspects of sports. In college sports, for example, the battle between Michigan and Michigan State is something that sports fans look forward to every year. A Harvard Business Review article describes studies that were conducted to examine the statistical difference between typical sporting events and sporting events between rivalries in the NFL. According to their findings, the article states, “Teams were 37% more likely to attempt two-point conversions, and 7% more likely to attempt fourth-down conversions.” This reveals that teams are more likely to take risks when competing against opponents of high importance.

Whichever side you’re on, watching these teams compete is undeniably entertaining. But what about the high school level? I am here to tell you that collegiate rivalries are no more exciting than the heated faceoff that is Berkley vs. Royal Oak. The two teams have a heated rivalry in nearly every sport, and year after year, family and friends enjoy watching the intense showdowns take place. Berkley played Royal Oak in basketball on Tuesday, March 9. I decided to interview someone on the team to get an inside look at what the rivalry looks like and how it affects the team’s mindset going into each game.

When responding to how the rivalry between Berkley and Royal Oak affects the in-game mentality, senior Varsity Basketball player Jacob Thomas stated, “Playing against Royal Oak is a wild experience. Every time we play them there is just a different atmosphere and feel to the game. The intensity that both teams bring is nothing I’ve ever experienced before. We are 5-0 against Royal Oak basketball on the Varsity level and am hoping to make it 7-0 this year.”

Berkley took the victory, defeating Royal Oak 51-46. Leading scorers included seniors Jacob Thomas and, the Spectator’s very own, Graham Colvin, each scoring 14 points. Not only did the Varsity team win, sweeping their rival, but so did the JV and Freshman teams. This victory is just a minor example of the intense matchup between the two schools. To take a deeper look, I decided to interview athletes from different sports to acquire a better understanding of what the competition is like in comparison to other, less notable opponents.

Monica McNally, a player on Berkley’s Varsity tennis and golf teams, gave her commentary on how she feels about facing Royal Oak. She explained, “Whenever we play them, I feel like Berkley is the more dominant team. There is a competitive aspect, but we get so fired up for the event that we play as well as we can. This usually results in a dominant outcome in Berkley’s favor.”

Whenever we play them, I feel like Berkley is the more dominant team. There is a competitive aspect, but we get so fired up for the event that we play as well as we can. This usually results in a dominant outcome in Berkley’s favor.

— Monica McNally

Senior Rachel Nakisher, a member of the Varsity swim and dive team mentioned, “We swam against Royal Oak all 4 years of high school. We won freshman, sophomore, and junior years. Unfortunately, there wasn’t much time to prepare this year, and lack of morale caused us to take the loss against them this season. Overall, there is a much more competitive attitude when we are swimming against them.”

To get a bit of a different perspective, I decided to interview Alex LaFave, one of my high school soccer coaches. He said, “The Berkley vs. Royal Oak rivalry is a lot like Michigan vs. Michigan State. Simply put, both don’t like each other. It doesn’t matter what sport it is, it’s always a tight game. All the stakes are high when the two play, and in all the sporting events I’ve experienced throughout my life, this rivalry is one of the most real and intense ones I’ve seen.”

Finally, I interviewed Morgan Fox, a Varsity soccer player who is committed to The University of Detroit Mercy to play in college next fall. She stated, “I’d say playing Royal Oak is different because the competition is raised to a whole new level. Berkley is already a competitive team, but this is heightened even more against Royal Oak. When we play them, we become more motivated and intense because we want to have the upper hand to win.”

So, the consensus seems to be that the competitive atmosphere of Berkley sports reaches its peak when we play against Royal Oak. Not only is it different for the athletes, but the fans can feel the change in energy as well. High school is a great time to enjoy sports with your friends, and being a part of a rivalry as intense as this is unlike anything else.