By Ryan Clark
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — It’s true that the Queen City has come to the Music City.
Up and down Broadway, this legendary southern town has been invaded by college basketball fans, but it seems that most of them are wearing blue and red.
Brothers Dave and Mike Rolfes decided long ago that they would be good alumni and follow their Musketeers in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
But when it became obvious that Xavier and Cincinnati would both be coming here to Nashville to play, they decided they had to talk their other brother, Tim, into coming on the trip, too.
Tim is a Bearcat, a UC grad. But for something like this, they knew they had to all go. Together.
So, along with Mike’s son, Chad Rolfes, the four came down to watch their two respective teams play. Once a house divided, they put on a united front — for a weekend, at least.
“It’s just a great time to be together,” Tim Rolfes said. “This is a once in a lifetime deal.”
“And it’s good for the city,” Chad Rolfes said.
“We’re far removed from the Shootout,” Dave Rolfes said. “And they’re both in different brackets. If they were going to play each other, I’d feel differently, but that’s not happening.”
Bill Sloat agreed. A Xavier fan, he came from Cincinnati with his friend Greg Reece, a Bearcat fan. Sloat’s son went to Xavier, Reece’s to Cincinnati. Didn’t matter this weekend. He even brought another UC graduate, Larry Schwab, with him.
“We are all old friends who love hoops,” Sloat said via text from the Xavier game. “Our kids grew up together. Some went to X, some are Bearcats, and some went to both schools. They are in each others’ weddings, stuff like that. We root against each other once a year, the Crosstown. I guess it is a friendly rivalry, and I don't know of anything else in sports like it. We are so lucky to have two great programs in town.”
It seemed like the two fanbases were being a bit more civil to one another in the days leading up to their respective games. Some fans could be overheard wishing the others good luck.
Then again, some feelings run too deep.
Kim Ramhap, a Xavier graduate, and her brother, Chris Ramhap, a Cincinnati grad, did not come to Nashville together. Instead, they chose to come with groups of fans with their own schools. However, they will travel back together. And on this day, when the Muskies and the Bearcats play different teams, located in different sections of the NCAA bracket, they will not speak.
“I have seen this bringing a lot of the people from Cincinnati together down here,” she said. “Just not everyone.”
TOP CAPTION: (left to right) Dave Rolfes, Chad Rolfes, Tim Rolfes and Mike Rolfes