Scrolling Headlines:

UMass tuition set to rise 3-4 percent for 2017-2018 school year -

July 18, 2017

PVTA potential cuts affect UMass and five college students -

July 10, 2017

New director of student broadcast media at UMass this fall -

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Whose American Dream? -

June 24, 2017

Man who threatened to bomb Coolidge Hall taken into ICE custody -

June 24, 2017

Cale Makar drafted by Colorado Avalanche in first round of 2017 NHL Entry Draft -

June 24, 2017

Conservatives: The Trump experiment is over -

June 17, 2017

UMass basketball lands transfer Kieran Hayward from LSU -

May 18, 2017

UMass basketball’s Donte Clark transferring to Coastal Carolina -

May 17, 2017

Report: Keon Clergeot transfers to UMass basketball program -

May 15, 2017

Despite title-game loss, Meg Colleran’s brilliance in circle was an incredible feat -

May 14, 2017

UMass softball loses in heartbreaker in A-10 title game -

May 14, 2017

Navy sinks UMass women’s lacrosse 23-11 in NCAA tournament second round, ending Minutewomen’s season -

May 14, 2017

UMass softball advances to A-10 Championship game -

May 13, 2017

UMass basketball adds Rutgers transfer Jonathan Laurent -

May 13, 2017

UMass women’s lacrosse gets revenge on Colorado, beat Buffs 13-7 in NCAA Tournament First Round -

May 13, 2017

Meg Colleran dominates as UMass softball tops Saint Joseph’s, advances in A-10 tournament -

May 12, 2017

Rain keeps UMass softball from opening tournament play; Minutewomen earn A-10 honors -

May 11, 2017

Former UMass football wide receiver Tajae Sharpe accused of assault in lawsuit -

May 10, 2017

Justice Gorsuch can save the UMass GEO -

May 10, 2017

Being a Yankee in Red Sox Nation

Being a New York Yankees fan at the University of Massachusetts Amherst is a lot like a soldier being behind enemy lines. Everywhere you go people are always out to get you.

One of my first campus experiences in this respect happened as a freshman while walking to my first class. People were giving me filthy looks and looking at me as if I were lower than dirt. I couldn’t figure it out. Did I smell? Did I have a stain on my shirt? Nope, even worse – I was wearing a Yankees hat. This sort of scene would replay itself approximately 5,000 times that year.

I’ve had some interesting experiences because of that Yankees hat on top of my head. A typical day for me involves hearing “Yankees suck!” from at least one person. In fact, if I don’t hear it at all I feel like my day isn’t normal – like it’s missing something.

I’ve been called every name under the sun just for wearing something with a simple logo on it. My usual interaction with one person I know involves me hearing “take that hat off!” as soon as I’m in sight. Another friend likes to greet with, “what’s up Kaya, Yankees suck.” After two years, I find those funny, but the really amusing ones are from the people who don’t even know my name.

Strangers are always quick to get their digs in. On a Friday night walking up Fearing Street, I’ll pass a group of guys, and it’s always the one lagging behind who’ll yell the usual, “Yankees suck!”

I once made a derogatory comment about a girl’s shirt one night and she came back with “at least I’m not wearing a Yankees hat.” Maybe I deserved that one, but everyone else just feels obligated to dish out some hate. Even the old crossing guard on Massachusetts Avenue during the week gives me his two cents whenever he can. I could tell he was from the older generation of no-nonsense Red Sox supporters because of the scowl I receive as I walk by everyday, and the fact that he’s never seen without a Boston hat on his head no matter what the weathers like.

The bus rides on weekend nights are always full of anti-New York sentimentality. They wouldn’t be complete without someone in the back starting a ‘Yankees suck!’ chant that ends up with the whole bus joining in every Friday or Saturday night. What these types of interactions have really taught me though is a lesson in respect. I knew what I was getting myself into going to school at the heart of Red Sox country, but what I didn’t expect was to meet such a united front of opposition.

I may not get respect for supporting my team, but what I can respect about the people and fans up here is their commitment. Sox fans are a passionate group of supporters who’ve stood behind their team through the best and the worst. I mentioned a united front earlier, and to me that was a completely new concept.

As a native New Yorker – if you haven’t guessed by now – all I saw before coming to UMass is a medley of teams to support. In New York we have at least two teams to cheer on in every sport, so there’s always a sense of division. And that’s not even counting New Jersey teams, as many people support them as if they were there home state teams as well.

Here, it is a completely different story. Almost everyone from Massachusetts supports a Boston-based team. In a way, the unity of the native fans helps push out-of-state students who support the same team together or you risk cheering alone. Then you realize that it’s not just standing against Massachusetts, but all of New England. No wonder I feel like I’m surrounded by a sea of enemies.

I’ve come to realize that I’m not about to get respect from most die-hard Sox fans. The old crossing guard tried to make me wait unnecessarily at the divider this past fall. I’ve seen arguments over who is a better team, Boston or New York, turn violent. You will see some Red Sox fans sport numbers and statistics to back up their arguments, but all I see is a championship drought of 86 years with 27 championships for us.  But if you disrespect the Red Sox up here, you can be sure someone is going to jump headfirst into that argument, and if crazy enough, maybe even a fight.

Part of the charm of UMass for me is this constant back and forth between opposing fans. In fact, it actually helps to keep me on my toes. There’s nothing like hearing a comment about my teams and coming back with an even better one. Up here it’s all about the teams you love and the teams you love to hate, because it just wouldn’t be UMass without hearing “Yankees suck!” wherever you go.

Kaya Swainson is Collegian columnist. He can be reached at

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