Bird cage rivalry now more than a girls soccer match

J. Patrick Eaken

The Bird Cage rivalry has gotten bigger than the two girls soccer programs that started it.
The Cardinal Stritch and Toledo Christian girls soccer programs began playing the Bird Cage Game for a trophy 19 years ago. But, if you look on the web at references to other sports contests between the two schools, you’ll find references to it as the bird cage game.
        “We started it,” says 20th-year Cardinal Stritch coach Dan Roggelin, and he’s proud to say it.
        The Bird Cage Game was started in 2000 during a conversation between the coaches, Roggelin and the Toledo Christian coach Dave Lanky, during the inaugural seasons of both girls soccer programs. The two birds involved are a Cardinal and Eagle, the school mascots.
        “During that conversation we thought it would be fun to build an interschool rivalry between the two teams. Dan Roggelin offered to put together a trophy during the offseason as well as put some rules together and then we could sit down and finalize the details. The trophy was hand built by Daniel Roggelin,” says a statement released when the trophy was started.
        There are Bird Cage Rules that go with the trophy—
        • The winner of the trophy is responsible for updating the dates and winner of the trophy and keeping it protected.
        • The team in possession shall bring the Bird Cage Trophy to their home field for the playing of the annual Bird Cage Game.
        • The team’s mascot shall reside on the trophy as follows: Losing mascot will be in the cage while the victorious mascot shall sit on top of the cage, holding the losing mascot caged.
        • To win back the trophy the team must win the game at the home field of the team holding possession of the trophy. There can be only one Bird Cage Game per season.
        • If the game ends in a tie, then the team in possession of the Bird Cage keeps the Trophy another year.
        This year, both games between Stritch and Toledo Christian ended in ties — 2-2 on the Eagles’ field and 1-1 on the Cardinals’ field, so Stritch still has possession of the trophy.
        That means the Cardinal is still caging the Eagle.
        “We have now held it for the past seven years and every game was like last night — tough and hard fought to the end of the game,” Roggelin said after this year’s tie. “They are always hard fought games. This is a great school rivalry and we look forwarding to continuing to compete.”
        Following each game with Toledo Christian, the two teams gather and “say a prayer together thanking God for the opportunity to play,” says Roggelin.
        This year, Stritch is not looking at winning a Toledo Area Athletic Conference championship, however. Ottawa Hills is unbeaten in the league, while Stritch has tied twice with TC and split games with Northwood. The Rangers beat the Cardinals 2-0 while the Cardinals returned the favor, beating the Rangers on their field, 4-2.
        “I thought being my 20th season we were going to make a run this season with the team I had,” Roggelin said, adding that his original roster of 17 players is now down to 12 due to injuries and other issues.
        The Cardinals are 2-9-2, including a 4-0 victory over Bowsher. Other losses have been to Cory-Rawson (7-0), Delta (1-0), Bowling Green (6-0), Archbold (9-0), Central Catholic (3-0), Ottawa Hills (7-1 and 7-3), and Whitmer (2-0j.


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