Saturday, January 26, 2008

Calvin, Calvin

Before the snow fell, my parents and I, who are all Calvin College alumni, went to a sports bar in Bellingham to watch the Calvin-Hope basketball game by satellite. Calvin lost by three points, throwing away the eight-point lead they had at half time. Many Calvin alum were there, and a few Hope grads, including the guy who did my surgery in December. I showed him my scar, and he said he was glad I was doing well.

Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan, affiliated with the Christian Reformed Church in North America, and Hope College in Holland, Michigan, affiliated with the Reformed Church in America, are arch-rivals.

When I was at Calvin, I went to the Calvin-Hope games that were played at Calvin, where I would get caught up in a mob mentality and exhibit extremely poor sportsmanship. I remember that if Calvin was ahead, we would yell, "There's no hope! There's no hope!" And if the game was ending with a Calvin victory, we would sing, "Na, na, na, na. Na, na, na, na. Hey, hey, hey, good-bye." They sang the same to us if they won, but they couldn't come up with a yell as good as, "There's no hope," because the name "Calvin" just doesn't lend itself to good yells.

Actually, even though I love the church I've belonged to all my life, and to which my family has belonged for a couple centuries, and the college my family has attended for three generations, I must admit that both "Christian Reformed Church" and "Calvin College," are somewhat needlessly nerdy names. But, oh, well, I'm all the more loyal. Speaking of which, when we sang the Calvin song, I rather fell down in the second verse. I need to brush up on those words.

Speaking of my family's generations, even the name Kok requires explaining outside of Dutch circles and calls forth extra levels of loyalty to compensate. Or I could disclaim, like Gideon.

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