Central versus Western: How Two Friends Handle the College Rivalry

Story by Krystal Black
Photo by Anne Langan

Going back to school means it’s football season, and Central Michigan University’s football team is on fire this year. After the win on the road against Oklahoma State, CMU’s men are gearing up for quite possibly the biggest games of the season – playing Western Michigan University.

The rivalry between our two schools is evident, and with Western Weekend quickly approaching, students are putting on their best game faces, getting ready to tell Western just how great Central is. For one student in particular, Kelly Yagiela, reminding one of her closest friends of Central’s superiority is becoming a tradition.

Yagiela met her friend in sixth grade when she asked Joyt (Joy-tee) to be her locker partner, and from there they went on to become great friends. Neither of them would have suspected that almost six years later they would be attending schools that weren’t as great as friends as they were.

“It was really hard deciding to go to separate schools when the time for college came,” Yagiela said. “The distance isn’t incredibly far, but it is [far] enough where we don’t see one another as often.”

She went on to say that originally choosing Central when her friend was going to Western wasn’t a problem, yet that didn’t stop them from both from learning to throw shade when discussing the two’s schools.

“I mostly refer to Western as trash,” Yagiela laughs while explaining that Joyt will open her multiple snaps on Snapchat of trashcans labeled “Western.”

“I am definitely the more competitive between the two of us. . . I always find a way to bring up how great Central is”.

But Joyt thinks she is the more competitive friend. She stated that making fun of Central’s mascot is her go-to slam adding “. . . your mascot is a flying ‘C’!” She went on to say that responding with the word “ew” to anything her friend says about Central really makes them both laugh.

Although the Central versus Western football game only happens once a year, it has an impact on students that can last longer.

“The rivalry makes our friendship more fun by bringing us together each year to create this new tradition,” Yagiela said.

Yagiela mentioned tailgating for Western Weekend this year, but said they would go wherever the night would take them. She mentioned that seeing her friend is the best part of the weekend.

“My plans for Western Weekend is to finally see my best friend who it seems like I haven’t seen in months,” Joyt added.

Aside from Central wanting a “W” added to their record, for many students, Western Weekend is all about good football, good times and good friends.

“Our rivalry has made us closer than ever,” Joyt said. “Kelly is the one friend who will be with me no matter the distance or rivalry. Everyone deserves to have someone like her in their life.”