For years, the Langley-McLean rivalry has been steadily brewing, keeping up the competitive spirit between the two schools. Recently, however, the tension has been more evident. Friday night’s annual Langley-McLean football game brought to light the problems that exist in the Langley-McLean relationship, and disrespectful actions marred a night intended to celebrate both schools in the local community. While healthy competition is fun, trying to see who can be a bigger jerk to the students and teams of the opposing school is not what the rivalry should be about.
Signs at basketball and football games have expressed the growing distasteful nature of students at McLean and Langley. One sign from Friday night read, “Go back to your townhouses,” and others targeted a case of teen pregnancy at McLean, poking fun at the family’s situation and their overall economic status. These signs are unacceptable and detrimental to Langley’s reputation, and yet somehow students still don’t understand their impact. A student, just like them, is going through a tremendous change in their life; it would be in their best interest to show compassion and empathy.
Langley students are certainly not the only culprits in the existing problems, with McLean students equally aiming jabs at the personal lives of Langley students and making gross generalizations on social media and on signs at the games. Just last year, the rivalry football game ended in catastrophe: a monstrous fight overtook the McLean McDonald’s, eventually reaching local news stations for its damage. Later in the year, McLean students spray painted vulgar images and language onto the front wall of Langley, only increasing the hostility between the two schools.
Not only is the vandalism highly inappropriate, it is also disrespectful towards the taxpayers and members of the county who contributed money towards a brand new building and the FCPS staff members who have to use their own valuable time to clean up this juvenile stunt. Vandalism is not fun or cute, but it is a headache for hardworking staff members at Langley and McLean.
The feud has escalated far beyond sports— it has simply become a competition of who can tear down the other school the most through mean-spirited posts and actions at rivalry games. Langley and McLean students need to respect each other’s property and each other’s personal lives. By wearing away at the social ties that bind local constituents together, McLean may not be able to fully recover from the damages that students are currently causing. The well-being of the community environment is bigger than petty fights and attacks on social media. As of now, Langley and McLean must be proactive in repairing their relationship, or else face the chaos of a friendly competition gone awry.